Abstract

The Andacollo mining district is in the Coastal Cordillera of central Chile, 400 km north-northeast of Santiago. The Andacollo deposits are the products of a complex hydrothermal system and consist of a porphyry copper-gold deposit and peripheral strata-bound manto gold deposits and veins with minor associated base metals. The hydrothermal system was part of the Pacific porphyry copper belt which was generated during development of an Early Cretaceous magmatic arc displaying shoshonitic petrochemical affiliations. Rocks that crop out in the area include a volcanic sequence, the Arqueros and Quebrada Marquesa Formations, consisting of andesitc and dacite flows, volcanic breccias, and pyroclastic rocks of Early Cretaceous age. Intrusive rocks range from diorite to granodiorite in composition and date between 87 and 130 Ma. The porphyry copper-gold deposit is zoned vertically downward from a leached capping through a supergene enrichment blanket to a hypogene sulfide zone. Alteration is characterized by central potassic (K feldspar-biotite), phyllic, and peripheral propylitic zones. Abundant northwest-trending tensional fractures were superimposed on the porphyry copper-gold deposit and surrounding areas during the later stages of the evolving mineralized system. The fractures channeled mineralizing fluids from the central parts of the porphyry copper deposit outward for up to 5 km. Replacement by adularia and sericite took place together with deposition of gold-bearing pyrite and minor amounts of zinc and copper where these fluids encountered permeable dacite flows and andesite flow breccias. The alteration process caused remobilization of aluminum and alkalies and addition of K 2 O, which attains values of 12 to 13 wt percent. The Andacollo system is interpreted to be a porphyry copper-gold deposit that is transitional outward to distal epithermal, adularia-sericite-type contact metasomatic gold orebodies.

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