Globally, significant examples of hydrothermal Cu-Co mineralization are rare within Archean greenstone belts, especially relative to the endowment of these terranes with other world-class hydrothermal ore deposits, particularly Au deposits. Using U-Pb geochronology of hydrothermal apatite, this study provides the first absolute age constraints on the timing of mineralization for the Carlow Castle Cu-Co-Au deposit. Carlow Castle is a complex, shear zone-hosted, veined Cu-Co-Au mineral system situated within the Paleo-Mesoarchean Roebourne greenstone belt of the Pilbara craton of northwestern Western Australia. Although U-Pb geochronology of this deposit is challenging due to low levels of radiogenic Pb in synmineralization apatite, mineralization is best estimated at 2957 ± 67 Ma (n = 61). Additionally, analysis of alteration phases associated with Carlow Castle mineralization suggests that it is dominated by a propylitic assemblage that is characteristic of alkaline fluid chemistry and peak temperatures >300°C. Within proximal portions of the northwest Pilbara craton, the period of Carlow Castle’s formation constrained here is associated with significant base-metal volcanogenic massive sulfide mineralization and magmatic activity related to back-arc rifting. This rifting and associated magmatic activity are the most likely source of Carlow Castle’s unique Cu-Co-Au mineralization. Carlow Castle’s Mesoarchean mineralization age makes it among the oldest discovered Cu-Co-Au deposits globally, and unique in the broader context of hydrothermal Cu-Co-Au deposits. Globally, hydrothermal Cu-Co mineralization occurs almost exclusively as Proterozoic and Phanerozoic stratiform sediment-hosted Cu-Co deposits due to the necessity of meteorically derived oxidized ore fluids in their formation. This research therefore has implications for exploration for atypical Cu-Co deposits and Cu-Co metallogenesis through recognition of comparably uncommon magmatic-hydrothermal Cu-Co-Au ore-forming processes and, consequently, the potential for analogous Cu-Co-Au mineralization in other Archean greenstone belts.

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