Abstract

Local gold concentrations are found in laterally extensive pyrite-bearing, framework-supported, cobble and boulder conglomerates in the basal 30 m of the Mississagi Formation in the south eastern part of the Huronian outcrop belt. These were deposited as part of a valley-fill succession, in shallow gravel-bed braided rivers with local hyperconcentrated flows. The basal contact with underlying Archean psammites is typically highly irregular and shows no obvious sign of weathering suggesting that deposition took place soon after retreat of the glaciers responsible for deposition of the Ramsey Lake Formation. Highest gold concentrations are associated with moderately well-sorted medium to large pebble conglomerate that show some signs of reworking during low flow events. Depositional elements are typically lenticular and of limited lateral extent. Unlike the older pyritic quartz-pebble conglomerates at the base of the Matinenda Formation in the Elliot Lake and Blind River areas, these conglomerates contain no uraninite and are polymict with material derived from a highly restricted catchment area with marked local and regional topographic relief. Porous detrital allogenic pyrite and euhedral post-depositional pyrite have overlapping, generally positive δ34S values, indicating a closed system during diagenesis and metamorphism. The presence of biotite-enriched rims on many of the metavolcanic and metasedimentary clasts in the conglomerates suggests that gold was partly leached from the allogenic pyrite grains at the peak of the Penokean Orogeny at 1.85–1.5 Ga. The potential source of the Au-bearing detrital allogenic pyrite appears to be an as yet undiscovered Archean volcanic-hosted massive sulfide (VHMS) deposit located 1 to 8 km north of the deposit.

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