West Africa: The world's premier Paleoproterozoic gold province

Goldfarb, R, André-Mayer, A, Jowitt, S and Mudd, G 2017, 'West Africa: The world's premier Paleoproterozoic gold province', Economic Geology, vol. 112, no. 1, pp. 123-143.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title West Africa: The world's premier Paleoproterozoic gold province
Author(s) Goldfarb, R
André-Mayer, A
Jowitt, S
Mudd, G
Year 2017
Journal name Economic Geology
Volume number 112
Issue number 1
Start page 123
End page 143
Total pages 21
Publisher Society of Economic Geologists
Abstract West Africa, with presently an approximate 10,000-metric ton (t) gold endowment, is one of the world's great gold provinces and the largest Paleoproterozoic gold-producing region. The gold resources are concentrated within the 2250 to 2000 Ma greenstone belts of the Man-Leo shield, forming the southern part of the West Africa craton. Most of the major orebodies are best classified as orogenic gold deposit types, although there are paleoplacer and porphyry-skarn deposits within some of the greenstone belts, and perhaps local intrusionrelated gold systems. The gold-hosting, mainly greenschist metamorphic facies greenstone belts are dominated by tholeiitic volcanic rocks, with clastic and chemical sediments filling adjacent subbasins. The Paleoproterozoic sequences formed in what was likely a rift or series of rifts in a Precambrian cratonic block; it is not clear whether significant Late Archean lithospheric roots occur below these Paleoproterozoic arcs that formed in the resulting ocean subbasins. Although diachronous across West Africa, the Eburnean orogeny is typically indicated to have been initiated at ca. 2130 Ma, with closure of the subbasins, amalgamation of the Paleoproterozoic arcs, and their accretion back to the continental margin of Archean rocks. Compressional tectonics took place for about 25 to 30 m.y., with widespread crustal thickening along orogen-parallel, commonly NE-trending, firstorder thrust fault systems. This was followed by more than 100 m.y. of transcurrent tectonism and associated exhumation; gold ores mainly formed late during the Eburnean deformation.
Subject Geology not elsewhere classified
Environmental Engineering not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) Stable-Isotope Geochemistry
Proterozoic Ore-Deposits
Loulo Mining District
Pb Age Constraints
Orogenic Gold
Ashanti Belt
Crustal Evolution
DOI - identifier 10.2113/econgeo.112.1.123
Copyright notice © 2017 Society of Economic Geologists, Inc.
ISSN 0361-0128
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