The auriferous-quartz ore body of the Highland Mine is an open textured siliceous sponge-breccia. It occurs as a replacement of Cambrian dolomite along a subordinate bedding fault that follows the hanging wall of a major fault. The sponge structure is secondary, having arisen from the almost complete abstraction of sulphides, principally pyrite. Volumetric accommodation to the leaching was marked by the collapse of many primary ore structures and by prodigious slumping. Secondary silica now weakly cements the fragments. The leaching improved the grade of the ore by residual concentration.

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