Abstract

The Canadian Malartic stockwork-disseminated gold deposit is an Archean world-class deposit located in the southern Abitibi greenstone belt. It contains over 332.8 tonnes (t; 10.7 Moz) of Au at a grade of 0.97 ppm, in addition to 160 t (5.14 Moz) of past production (1935–1981). Although the deposit is partly situated within the Larder Lake-Cadillac fault zone, most of the ore occurs up to ~1.5 km to the south of the fault zone. The main hosts of the mineralized zones are greenschist facies turbiditic graywacke and mudstone of the Pontiac Group (~2685–2682 Ma) and predominantly subalkaline ~2678 Ma porphyritic quartz monzodiorite and granodiorite. These intrusions were emplaced during an episode of clastic sedimentation and alkaline to subalkaline magmatism known as the Timiskaming assemblage (<2680–2670 Ma in the southern Abitibi). The orebodies define two main mineralized trends, which are oriented subparallel to the NW-striking S2 cleavage and the E-striking, S-dipping Sladen fault zone. This syn- to post-D2 ductile-brittle to brittle Sladen fault zone is mineralized for more than 3 km along strike.

The ore mainly consists of disseminated pyrite in stockworks and replacement zones, with subordinate auriferous quartz veins and breccia. Gold is associated with pyrite and traces of tellurides defining an Au-Te-W ± Ag-Bi-Mo-Pb signature. The orebodies are zoned outward, and most of the higher-grade (>1 ppm Au) ore was deposited as a result of iron sulfidation from silicates and oxides and Na-K metasomatism in carbonatized rocks. The alteration footprint comprises a proximal alteration envelope (K- or Na-feldspar-dolomite-calcite-pyrite ± phlogopite). This proximal alteration zone transitions to an outer shell of altered rocks (biotite-calcite-phengitic white mica), which hosts sub-ppm gold grades and reflects decreasing carbonatization, sulfidation, and aNa+/aH+ or aK+/aH+ of the ore fluid.

Gold mineralization, with an inferred age of ~2664 Ma (Re-Os molybdenite), was contemporaneous with syn- to late-D2 peak metamorphism in the Pontiac Group; it postdates sedimentation of the Timiskaming assemblage along the Larder Lake-Cadillac fault zone (~2680–2669 Ma) and crystallization of the quartz monzodiorite. These chronological relationships agree with a model of CO2-rich auriferous fluid generation in amphibolite facies rocks of the Pontiac Group and gold deposition in syn- to late-D2 structures in the upper greenschist to amphibolite facies. The variable geometry, rheology, and composition of the various intrusive and sedimentary rocks have provided strain heterogeneities and chemical gradients for the formation of structural and chemical traps that host the gold. The Canadian Malartic deposit corresponds to a mesozonal stockwork-disseminated replacement-type deposit formed within an orogenic setting. The predominance of disseminated replacement ore over fault-fill and extensional quartz-carbonate vein systems suggests that the mineralized fracture networks remained relatively permeable and that fluids circulated at a near-constant hydraulic gradient during the main phase of auriferous hydrothermal alteration.

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