Abstract

The ~8-Moz Sadiola Hill gold deposit is located in the Kédougou-Kénieba inlier, a window of deformed ca. 2200 to 2050 Ma rocks that crop out in eastern Senegal and western Mali. The geology of the inlier differs from other Paleoproterozoic granite-greenstone belts and sedimentary basins by the abundance of carbonate rocks. The Sadiola Hill gold deposit occurs within 3 km of the Senegal-Mali shear zone, and country rocks in the region have undergone polycyclic deformation. The lithostratigraphy of the open pit consists of impure limestones overlain by younger sequences of detrital sedimentary rocks, which include arenite, wacke, and siltstone. The sedimentary rocks have been subjected to regional greenschist-facies metamorphism and have been intruded by multiple generations of synkinematic, calc-alkaline stocks and dikes. The bulk of the ore is hosted within a N-S- to NNW-trending, 10- to 50-m-wide, brittle-ductile dilational shear zone defined as the Sadiola shear zone. Gold lodes also occur along an array of steep NNE-trending shear zones. Geometric and kinematic analyses indicate that the ore-hosting structures were undergoing sinistral displacement at the time of mineralization, locally defined as the D3s NNW-SSE-shortening event. Hydrothermal alteration is polyphase and includes an early high-temperature calc-silicate phase (i.e., porphyroblastic growth of actinolite-tremolite) followed by a potassic phase (i.e., biotite-calcite-quartz ± K-feldspar-tourmaline-actinolite) that was synchronous with ore mineral deposition. Paragenetic studies reveal a multistage ore development that includes an As-rich sulfide stage, followed by an Au-Sb stage. The ore is associated with a metal enrichment suite of Au-As-Sb ± Cu-Fe-W-Mo-Ag-Bi-Zn-Pb-Te. The Sadiola Hill deposit shares a similar relative timing and structural setting to that of other world-class orogenic gold systems in the West African craton (e.g., Ashanti, Loulo), with gold deposition occurring during a period of transcurrent tectonics, after the cessation of region-wide compressional deformation. The high-temperature paragenesis at Sadiola Hill is atypical of gold mineralization in the craton and indicates that the late Eburnean tectono-magmatic activity between ca. 2080 and 2060 Ma played an important role in the dynamics of hydrothermal fluid circulation along the Senegal-Mali shear zone.

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