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In recent years, a significant proportion of the mining industry's interest has been centered on discovery of gold deposits; this includes discovery of additional deposits where gold occurs in skarn, such as at Fortitude, Nevada, and at Red Dome, Australia. Under the classification of Au-bearing skarns, we have modeled these and similar gold-rich deposits that have a gold grade of at least 1 g/t and exhibit distinctive skarn mineralogy. Two subtypes, Au-skarns and byproduct Au-skarns, can be recognized on the basis of gold, silver, and base-metal grades, although many other geological factors apparently are still undistinguishable largely because of a lack of detailed studies of the Au-skarns. Median grades and tonnage for 40 Au-skarn deposits are 8.6 g/t Au, 5.0 g/t Ag, and 213,000 t. Median grades and tonnage for 50 byproduct and Au-skarn deposits are 3.7 g/t Au, 37 g/t Ag, and 330,000 t. Gold-bearing skarns are generally calcic exoskarns associated with intense retrograde hydrosilicate alteration. These skarns may contain economic amounts of numerous other commodities (Cu, Fe, Pb, Zn, As, Bi, W, Sb, Co, Cd, and S) as well as gold and silver. Most Au-bearing skarns are found in Paleozoic and Cenozoic orogenic-belt and island-arc settings and are associated with felsic to intermediate intrusive rocks of Paleozoic to Tertiary age. Native gold, electru, pyrite, pyrrhotite, chalcopyrite, arsenopyrite, sphalerite, galena, bismuth minerals, and magnetite or hematite are the most common opaque minerals. Gangue minerals typically include garnet (andradite-grossular), pyroxene (diopside-hedenbergite), wollastonite, chlorite, epidote, quartz, actinolite-tremolite, and (or) calcite.
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