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Reconnaissance investigation of the placer gold deposits in the Zarkashan Area of Interest, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan

Open-File Report 2013-1179

Prepared in cooperation with the Afghan Geological Survey under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations; USGS Afghanistan Project Product No. 185
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Abstract

This study is a reconnaissance investigation of the placer gold deposits in the Zarkashan Area of Interest (AOI) in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. Detailed investigations of the Zarkashan gold deposits were conducted by Soviet and Afghan geologists in the 1960s and 1970s, prior to the development of satellite-based remote-sensing platforms and new methods of geomorphic mapping. The purpose of this study was to integrate new mapping techniques with previously collected concentration and borehole sampling data and geomorphologic interpretations to reassess the placer gold deposits in the Zarkashan AOI. A methodology combining the collection and analysis of historical sampling data, digital database development, hydrologic analysis, and geomorphic modeling was used. The analysis led to the reinterpretation of four gold-bearing seams along the Zarkashan River, and the calculation of an estimated gold reserve of approximately 3,000 kilograms (kg). This estimate is approximately 1,500 kg greater than the Soviet estimate. The result differs in large part due to the reinterpretation of the seams based on a much lower cutoff grade of 100 mg/m3. Because cutoff grade is dependent in part on the price of gold, the sevenfold increase in the price of gold since the undertaking of the Soviet investigation warranted our re-evaluation of their 500 mg/m3 cutoff grade.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Reconnaissance investigation of the placer gold deposits in the Zarkashan Area of Interest, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
2013-1179
Year Published:
2013
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center
Description:
iv, 12 p.; 4 Figures: 40 x 26 inches
Country:
Afghanistan
Other Geospatial:
Ghazni Province
Online Only (Y/N):
Y
Additional Online Files(Y/N):
Y