Gold-bearing arsenian pyrite determined by microprobe analysis, Cortez and Carlin Gold Mines, Nevada

Economic Geology
By:  and 



Studies of polished sections and chemical analyses made by electron microprobe show that gold and arsenic in the unoxidized ores from the Cortez and Carlin mines are most abundant in pyrite. Gold, as particles too small to be seen under the microscope, along with arsenic is concentrated in tiny pyrite grains (<0.005 mm) and in thin rims of larger pyrite grains. It is concentrated also in arsenopyrite which is sparsely distributed in the Cortez ore. Traces of gold are contained in sphalerite and chalcopyrite sparsely disseminated in Carlin ore. Mercury and antimony occur also in the pyrite, and antimony is in illite as well. Little if any gold or arsenic is contained in quartz, carbonate, clay, and carbonaceous material. In oxidized ore, the sulfur and carbonaceous material have been removed and gold and arsenic occur in iron oxide pseudomorphs after pyrite. Gold can be seen in the oxidized ore, indicating that it has been mobilized and concentrated. No association was found between gold and the carbonaceous material. During mineralization, calcite was removed from the fractured silty carbonate of the Roberts Mountains Formation, creating micropore space in which pyrite, quartz, and illite were deposited. The average tenor of the pyrite, if all the gold were in the pyrite, would be 0.10 percent at Cortez and 0.14 percent at Carlin. These calculated values are similar to the analytical values. The calculated tenor of the carbonaceous material, however-if such material were considered to be the mineral host of the gold-would be 0.28 percent at Cortez and 1 percent at Carlin. These figures are unreasonable when compared with the analytical data, which show that the carbonaceous material contains no detectable amounts of gold. © 1973 Society of Economic Geologists, Inc.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Gold-bearing arsenian pyrite determined by microprobe analysis, Cortez and Carlin Gold Mines, Nevada
Series title Economic Geology
DOI 10.2113/gsecongeo.68.2.187
Volume 68
Issue 2
Year Published 1973
Language English
Description 15 p.
First page 187
Last page 201
Country United States
State Nevada
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