Hamdah ancient gold mines, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Open-File Report 90-326

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The Hamdah prospect is a 1.5-km2 area that includes ancient mine workings 15 km southeast of Hamdah in the southern Arabian Shield. The workings cluster at a gently dipping thrust contact between serpentinite (above) and hornblende schist (below) exposed in a window within the serpentinite. Aplite sills intrude the contact, and gold concentrations occur just above or below it.

The ancient mine dumps cover >100,000 m2 of the prospect and are estimated to be 1.5 to 1.8 m thick. They contain nearly 181,000 metric tons of material at an average grade of 4.5 g/t gold, thus having an estimated total gold content of 831 kg, or 26,726 Troy oz. Almost 100 percent of the contained gold is recoverable by cyanide acid leaching.

Eleven new diamond-drill holes were completed to supplement information from 12 drill holes completed during an earlier drilling program, in order to enable more detailed evaluation of the prospect. The drill holes are grouped in the northeast, southeast, southwest, and west quadrants of the prospect. In the northeast quadrant, where 9 drill holes intersect gold at shallow (<27 m) depths, the quadrant is calculated to contain nearly 242,300 metric tons of gold-bearing material. The calculations show: (1) 19,144 metric tons high-grade material grading 21.4 g/t Au at 5 g/t cutoff; (2) 39,884 metric tons of material grading 8.5 g/t Au at 5 g/t cutoff; (3) 71,617 metric tons of material grading 3.9 g/t Au at 1 g/t cutoff; and (4) 111,641 metric tons low-grade material grading 2.0 g/t Au at 1 g/t cutoff. Total gold content of this selected block is 1,251 kg gold, or 40,234 Troy oz. The mineralized zone in 1 the northeast quadrant is open to the northeast, east, and southeast. Drill data are insufficient in detail to allow grade or tonnage estimates for the southeast, southwest, and west quadrants of the prospect. Gold is concentrated in surface alluvium in the southeast and southwest of the prospect, in amounts that are of possible economic significance.

Ground geophysical surveys (CEM and VJJ7) revealed the presence of electrical conductors at shallow depths, some of which correlate with possible disseminated sulfide minerals, and others with the thrust contact.

It is recommended that the thickness of the dumps be more accurately determined, and that the gold leachability of bulk dump material be tested. Shallow reverse-circulation drilling is recommended on 25-m centers in the northeast quadrant, and diamond drilling is recommended elsewhere at the prospect. Geophysical surveys are required to help establish depths to the serpentinite/schist contact on the northeastern, southern, and western margins of the prospect. Detailed mapping should be undertaken at the prospect, and a mineral-belt type of mapping program should be completed over the larger Hamdah region.

Study Area

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USGS Numbered Series
Hamdah ancient gold mines, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Series title:
Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
iv, 112 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.
Saudi Arabia
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