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The giant (>20 Moz) Telfer Au-Cu deposit is located in the Paterson Province of Western Australia and is hosted by complexly deformed marine Neoproterozoic metasedimentary siltstones and quartz arenites. The Telfer district also contains magnetite- and ilmenite-series granitoids dated between ca. 645 and 600 Ma and a world-class W skarn deposit associated with the reduced, ~604 Ma O’Callaghans granite. Based on monazite and xenotime U-Pb geochronology, Telfer is estimated to be older than O’Callaghans, forming between 645 and 620 Ma.

Au-Cu mineralization at Telfer is hosted in multistage, bedding-parallel quartz-dolomite-pyrite-chalcopyrite reefs and related discordant veins and stockworks of similar composition that were emplaced into two NW-striking doubly plunging anticlines or domes. Mineralization is late orogenic in timing, with hot (≤460°C), saline (<50 wt % NaCl equiv) ore fluids channeled into preexisting domes along a series of shallow, ENE-verging thrust faults and associated fault-propagated fold corridors. A combination of fault-propagated fold corridors acting as fluid conduits below the apex of the Telfer domes and the rheology and chemical contrast between interbedded siltstone and quartz arenite units within the dome are considered key parameters in the formation of the Telfer deposit.

Based on the presence of the reduced Au-Cu-W-Bi-Te-Sn-Co-As assemblage, saline and carbonic, high-temperature hydrothermal fluids in Telfer ore, and widespread ilmenite-series granites locally associated with W skarn mineralization, Telfer is considered to be a distal, intrusion-related gold deposit, the high copper content of which may be explained by the predominance of highly saline, magmatic fluids in gangue assemblages cogenetic with ore.

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