A detailed Re-Os molybdenite, pyrite, and chalcopyrite geochronology at five shear-hosted Au occurrences (Kenge, Mbenge, Porcupine, Konokono, and Dubwana) in the Lupa goldfield, southwestern Tanzania, is reported in this paper. Au occurrences within the Lupa goldfield share many geologic similarities with the orogenic Au deposit type and are situated within a Paleoproterozoic magmatic arc that intruded the Archean Tanzanian cratonic margin. Pyrite ± chalcopyrite ± molybdenite-bearing fault-fill veins and mylonitic shear zones crosscut granitic host rocks and are associated with the highest Au grades. Re-Os sulfide ages are deemed a suitable proxy to constrain the timing of Au based on the occurrence of Au-bearing minerals as inclusions within pyrite and chalcopyrite, whereas Au-bearing minerals filling pyrite fractures may represent a younger and undated metallogenic event.
Molybdenite at Kenge occurs as ultrafine disseminations within fault-fill veins (1953 ± 6 Ma; n = 3) that possess nominally older weighted average Re-Os ages than molybdenite hosted by stylolite-like veins (1937 ± 8 Ma; n = 7). Both sample sets are ca. 70 m.y. older than a weighted average Re-Os pyrite age from the mylonitic shear zones at Kenge and Mbenge (1876 ± 10 Ma; n = 13), which contain fault-fill veins and record the timing of mylonitization. Molybdenite at Porcupine occurs as ultrafine disseminations within quartz veins and mylonitized granite samples (1886 ± 6 Ma; n = 4) that are broadly equivalent in age to weighted average Re-Os ages of molybdenite occurring as stylolite-like veins (1873 ± 5 Ma; n = 6) and pyrite within oblique-extension veins (1894 ± 45 Ma; n = 2). Weighted average Re-Os pyrite model ages at Konokono (1880 ± 14 Ma; n = 9) and Dubwana (1905 ± 25 Ma; n = 2) are also consistent with the ca. 1.88 Ga event observed at Kenge, Mbenge, and Porcupine.
Gold occurrences in the Lupa goldfield therefore record a protracted hydrothermal history (1.95–1.87 Ga) comprising at least three temporally distinct hydrothermal events (ca. 1.95, 1.94, and 1.88 Ga), which are each represented in detail by a complex vein history that occurred at a time scale less than the resolution of the Re-Os method. The sampling of broadly contemporaneous sulfides from five shear zones suggest that mylonitic shear zones represented an interconnected network of midcrustal permeable fluid conduits at ca. 1.88 Ga that permitted the transportation and deposition of gold. Comparison between Re-Os sulfide and high-precision U-Pb zircon ages for the granitic host rocks provides unequivocal evidence for sulfidation concomitant with magmatism. However, the range of Re-Os ages argues against an intrusion-related deposit model whereby metallogenic fluids are solely derived from an individual intrusion. The regional ca. 1.88 Ga metallogenic event identified as part of this study occurred concurrently with eclogite facies metamorphism during the Ubendian orogenic cycle and provides one of Earth’s earliest temporal links between subduction zone processes and orogenic Au deposit formation during the Paleoproterozoic.