Mahd adh Dhahab is the largest of numerous ancient gold mines scattered through the Precambrian shield of Saudi Arabia and the only one with recent production. During the period 1939-54, 765,768 fine ounces of gold and 1,002,029 ounces of silver were produced from the mines by the Saudi Arabian Mining Syndicate.
Ore minerals at Mahd adh Dhahab include free gold and silver, tellurides, sphalerite, and chalcopyrite in and associated with a system of north-trending quartz veins and quartz veinlet stockworks. Pyrite is a common sulfide gangue mineral. Country rocks are a north dipping sequence of pyroclastic and transported pyroclastic rocks of the Hulayfah Group that are locally highly silicified and potassium-feldspathized. The prime target for this exploration program was a north-trending zone of quartz veins and breccias, faults, alteration, and metalization approximately 400 m wide and 1000 m long. The ancient and recent mine workings are located in the northern part of this zone. Although the quartz veins and alteration cut all lithologies, the major metalization is confined to the intersection of veins and agglomerate. Ten holes were diamond drilled to explore geochemical, geological, and geophysical targets in the area.
A significant new zone of metalization was discovered 700 m south of the ancient and recent mine workings and within the same major zone of quartz veins, alteration, and faults. Metalization in this southern mineralized zone is at the intersection of the quartz veins and a distinctive and highly altered agglomerate. The total zone of vein and agglomerate intercept is potentially metalized and comprises a block of ground 40 m thick and 400 m wide along the strike of the agglomerate and projected downdip 250 m. Tonnage of this block is 17.2 million tons. The explored zone, approximately 25 percent of the potentially metalized rock, has a potential resource of 1.1 million tons containing 27 g/t gold and 73 g/t silver.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Mineral exploration, Mahd adh Dhahab District, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
U.S. Geological Survey,
iii, 85 p. :ill., maps (some fold. in pocket) ;27 cm.; (89 p., 3 sheets - PGS)