Mapping and 3D modelling of structural controls in the Chirano gold deposits, Ghana: keys to better resource delineation and near-mine exploration targeting

S Kenworthy, K Noormohamed, H Stuart and P Hodkiewicz
Thursday, May 30, 2013
First presented: 
International Mining Geology Conference, Melbourne, 2009
Gold deposits in the Chirano district in SW Ghana are hosted in a variety of structural settings along the Chirano shear zone (CSZ), in Paleoproterozoic rocks of the Sefwi-Bibiani belt. Most gold mineralisation occurs in strongly sheared and hydrothermally altered Birimian mafic igneous rocks and tonalite intrusions within the CSZ. A recent program of open-pit structural mapping, core logging, and 3D modelling helped to define deposit-scale structural controls on gold mineralisation. These include strain domains, shear zone flexures, shear zone intersections, and vein arrays associated with host-rock competency contrasts. Interestingly, the plunge of higher-grade shoots in some deposits appears to be associated with the intersection of the CSZ and broadly folded Tarkwaian sedimentary rocks, which are not significant gold hosts in the Chirano district. This paper presents the results of 3D modelling that were used to define structural controls on mineralisation in several open-pits and one underground mine along a nine-kilometre length of the CSZ. Leapfrog™ software was particularly useful because it highlighted the orientations of structural features that focused hydrothermal fluid flow during alteration and mineralisation. The improved understanding of structural controls provided two main benefits: near-mine exploration drill targets and better definition of structural domains for resource estimation.
SRK North America