The Casino Cu-Au-Mo deposit is one of the largest and highest-grade porphyries of its kind in Canada, residing in an unglaciated region of west central Yukon. A batch of 22 stream water samples and eight groundwater samples were collected proximal to the deposit for the purpose of identifying the most diagnostic trace element and isotopic pathfinders associated with the hydrothermal mineralization, as well as establishing natural hydrogeochemical baselines for the area. Water chemistry around this deposit was investigated because: (i) the deposit has not yet been disturbed by mining; (ii) the deposit was known to have metal-rich waters in local streams; and (iii) the deposit has atypically preserved ore zones. Surface and ground waters around the Casino deposit are anomalous with respect to Cd (up to 5.4 µg/L), Co (up to 64 µg/L), Cu (up to 1657 µg/L), Mo (up to 25 µg/L), As (up to 17 µg/L), Re (up to 0.7 µg/L), and Zn (up to 354 µg/L) concentrations. Sulfur and Sr isotopes are consistent with proximal waters interacting with the Casino rocks and mineralization; a sulfide-rich bedrock sample from the deposit has δ34S = -1.2 ‰ and proximal groundwaters are only slightly heavier (-0.3 to 3.1 ‰). These geochemical and isotopic results indicate interaction and dispersion of porphyry related solutes in ground and surface waters and point to suitability of hydrogeochemistry as a medium for mineral exploration for porphyry-style mineralization in the Yukon, and elsewhere in Canada.

Supplementary material: The physicochemical, major, trace, and isotopic data of stream and groundwaters used in this manuscript is publicly available as an Open File Report (OF 8823) from the Geological Survey of Canada.

Thematic collection: This article is part of the Hydrochemistry related to exploration and environmental issues collection available at:

Scientific editing by Scott Wood

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (