Controls to hydrothermal gold mineralization in the Witwatersberg Goldfield; situated in the floor to the south of the Bushveld Complex, South Africa
An exploration programme over the Blaauwbank group of gold deposits in the Witwatersberg Goldfield, which lies to the south and in the footwall of the Bushveld Complex, South Africa, has shown that these deposits possess many similarities and some differences to turbidite-hosted gold deposits. The dominant control to this hydrothermal mineralization is structural, with the associated quartz veins being localized along bedding planes, fold axes and a variety of semi-ductile to brittle faults. The deposits of the Witwatersberg Goldfield are also preferentially located in the Klapperkop Quartzite Member and overlying shales of the Timeball Hill Formation, Transvaal Supergroup. The rocks do not appear to form a particularly favourable protore but rather represent a favourable depositional site. The competency contrast of the shales, siltstones and sandstones in this stratigraphic interval is regarded as being important in facilitating vein formation, and the zone is also characterized by a high Fe2+/Fe3+ ratio and high C content, which may have reduced the mineralizing fluids and caused gold to precipitate. Fluid inclusion data show the quartz veins formed at 250-330 °C and pressures of 1.3-1.75 kb, from CaCl2-rich brines. Comparison with structural studies to the north and with the Sabie-Pilgrim's Rest Goldfield to the east suggest that the mineralization probably predates the peak of metamorphism related to the intrusion of the Bushveld Complex. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.