Abstract

Porphyry Cu-Au type mineralization forms as a result of magmato-hydrothermal activity and involves the migration of hydrothermal fluids through rock fractures, a process that causes the precipitation of fracture-filling minerals with a volume that is much larger than the orebodies themselves. This means that the mineralization-related geochemical anomalies within the minerals that fill these fractures (i.e. fracture fills) can be used to identify areas prospective for deep-seated or otherwise concealed porphyry-type mineralization. This study focuses on the Shaxi deposit, a concealed porphyry Cu-Au deposit located in the Anhui Province, China, and uses singularity techniques to identify and extract geochemical anomalies associated with porphyry Cu-Au-related fracture fills. These data were used to examine the relationships between geochemical anomalies and known deep and concealed mineralization distinguished from unaltered and unmineralized wall-rock material using a concentration–volume (C–V) model in the study area. This analysis indicates that the geochemical anomalies identified in this study are associated with known areas of mineralization in the Shaxi deposit. Areas defined by fracture fills containing anomalous concentrations of Cu only effectively delineate known areas of shallower Cu mineralization, whereas areas with fracture fills containing anomalous concentrations of Au effectively delineate areas containing either Au mineralization and/or deep-seated Cu mineralization. Our study also identified several other targets that have not been explored in the peripheral areas of the Shaxi deposit, some of which should be considered high priority targets for future exploration for concealed orebodies. This indicates that combining singularity mapping with fracture fill geochemical analysis can effectively delineate geochemical anomalies associated with deep-seated or concealed porphyry-type mineralization, an approach that also may well be applicable to exploration for other types of magmato-hydrothermal or hydrothermal mineral deposits.

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