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Fruta del Norte is a completely concealed and extremely well-preserved, Late Jurassic epithermal gold-silver deposit of both low- and intermediate-sulfidation type, which is located in the remote Subandean mountain ranges of southeastern Ecuador. Currently defined indicated resources are 23.8 million metric tons (Mt) averaging 9.61 g/t Au and the total endowment is 9.48 Moz Au. The deposit, notable for the widespread occurrence of visible gold and bonanza grades, will be bulk mined underground. Fruta del Norte was discovered in 2006 during greenfield exploration and systematic drill testing of a conceptual geologic model, which predicted that auriferous veins would occur in andesitic volcanic rocks inferred to underlie a zone of arsenic- and antimony-anomalous silicification in fluvial conglomerate.

The host andesitic volcanic rocks, crosscutting feldspar porphyry, and associated phreatic breccia are part of a roof pendant in the Zamora batholith. Together, they are products of a continental-margin volcanoplutonic arc of Middle to Late Jurassic age. The deposit lies beneath the northern extremity of the ~16-km-long, Suárez pull-apart basin where it is localized by steep, second-order faults within the regionally extensive Las Peñas strike-slip fault zone. The pull-apart basin was progressively filled by fluvial conglomerate, dacitic ignimbrite, finer grained siliciclastic sedimentary rocks, and, finally, andesite flows.

The Fruta del Norte deposit comprises a 1.3-km-long and up to >300-m-wide vein stockwork associated with quartz-illite-pyrite alteration. The deposit comprises two principal vein types, one in the south dominated by quartz, manganoan carbonates, and abundant base metal sulfides and the other in the north dominated by manganese- and base metal-poor quartz, chalcedony, and calcite. Adularia is a minor gangue mineral in both. Both vein types are abruptly transitional upward and westward to a third important ore type characterized by intense silicification and chalcedony veining, with disseminated and veinlet marcasite (± pyrite). An extensive silica sinter horizon directly overlies the andesitic rocks and/or occurs as interbeds in the lowermost 20 m of the conglomerate and, consequently, is in unusual proximity to the underlying gold-silver orebody. Much of the conglomerate lacks silicification except for a narrow, steeply inclined zone exposed above the deposit, which led to its discovery.

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