Geology and mineralization at the Ishmas Kabir gold prospect, Ishmas gold district, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Open-File Report 90-294

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Ishmas Kabir ancient gold mine is located approximately 60 km southeast of the city of Ranyah and 9 km northwest of Jabal Ishmas in the southwestern part of the Ishmas gold district. The mine workings are located near the eastern edge of a flat plain covered by eolian sand and drained by Wadi Bishah. Two elongate dumps, 75 m wide and 530 m long (combined length), comprise the workings. Rising 4 m above the plain, they are prominent features in this area of low relief.

Core drilling (1,023 m total depth drilled) was conducted to define the extent of potential gold occurrences at the prospect. The two northeasternmost of the four holes drilled unequivocally intersected the gold-bearing main vein zone. Drill hole 1, the northeasternmost hole drilled, passed through significant lengths of altered wall rocks + quartz veins containing > 100 ppb Au (threshold value). The average gold concentration of all intercepts in drill holes 1 through 4 is 278 ppb; the total length of drill core that assayed above the gold threshold value is 13.46 m. The highest gold concentration (1,620 ppb) reported in geochemical assay results was obtained from a 0.33 m length of core in drill hole 1. Gold-intercept occurrences are not economic in the rocks drilled; no further deep drilling is recommended at this time.

Gold concentrations in samples obtained from mine dumps are much higher than in drill-core samples. Samples collected by earlier workers assayed 3-7 g/t, and tonnage estimates of mine spoil have been estimated to be as high as 120,000 tons. A possible sampling bias in earlier studies may favor larger gold-enriched, samples relative to samples from quartz tailings. Further work at Ishmas Kabir should be limited to defining gold resource potential in the dumps and in the oxidized, near-surface quartz-vein system.

Primary gold at the Ishmas Kabir gold prospect occurs with quartz veins and associated sericite + pyrite alteration hosted by quartz diorite and mafic dikes. The highest gold concentrations both in dumps (earlier studies) and drill core (this investigation) are found with limonite + hematite in breccia zones, in stringer veins, and in sericitic alteration envelopes surrounding quartz veins. Secondary gold is significant in this system and attests to the importance of oxidizing, acidic solutions.

Quartz veins intersected by drill holes are surrounded by mylonite schist. Quartz and carbonate veins less than 5 mm thick are boudined, whereas thick quartz veins (£ 1.2 m) have disrupted and brecciated margins; mylonitized country rock envelops quartz-vein fragments. Sulfide mineralization associated with vein formation predates this rock-deformation event. Contemporaneous brittle and ductile deformation of quartz veins and country rocks occurred during the Nabitah orogeny. Supergene gold enrichment took place much later.

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USGS Numbered Series
Geology and mineralization at the Ishmas Kabir gold prospect, Ishmas gold district, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Series title:
Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
iii, 91 p. :ill. ;28 cm.
Saudi Arabia
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