The gold resources of Mauritania presently include two important deposits and a series of poorly studied prospects. The Tasiast belt of deposits, which came into production in 2007, is located in the southwestern corner of the Rgueïbat Shield and defines a world-class Paleoproterozoic(?) orogenic gold ore system. The producing Guelb Moghrein deposit occurs along a shear zone in Middle Archean rocks at the bend in the Northern Mauritanides and is most commonly stated to be an iron oxide-copper-gold (IOCG) type of deposit, although it also has some important characteristics of orogenic gold and skarn deposits. Both major deposits are surrounded by numerous prospects that show similar mineralization styles. The Guelb Moghrein deposit, and IOCG deposit types in general are discussed in greater detail in a companion report by Fernette (2015). In addition, many small gold prospects, which are probably orogenic gold occurrences and are suggested to be early Paleozoic in age, occur along the length of Southern Mauritanides. Existing data indicate the gold deposits and prospects in Mauritania have a sulfide assemblage most commonly dominated by pyrrhotite and chalcopyrite, and have ore-related fluids with apparently high salinities.
A preliminary evaluation of these gold data can be used to develop broad, firstorder tracts defining favorable and permissive areas for gold resources; detailed metamorphic and structural maps are required for more detailed future tract definition. Such a first-order assessment can, nonetheless, broadly identify four tracts of gold resource potential. Three of these are favorable for discovery of new orogenic gold deposits. One tract, although not favorable, is nevertheless permissive for discovery of epithermal gold deposits. Tract 1 is defined by favorable medium metamorphic grade greenstone belts within vast areas of unfavorable high metamorphic grade, Mesoarchean and Paleoproterozoic granite-gneiss basement of the Rgueïbat Shield. Faults >200 km in length following the general strike of the greenstone belts; lineament intersections with both exposed and buried parts of greenstone belts within 500 m of the surface, as defined by aeromagnetic data (Finn and Anderson, 2015); and areas of banded iron formation (BIF) in the belts are particularly favorable areas for hosting gold resources in orogenic gold deposits within and along the margins of the greenstone belts. Tracts 2 and 3, also for orogenic gold, reflect the favorable Proterozoic-Cambrian metamorphic rocks of the Northern and Southern Mauritanides, with >200-km-long faults following the general strike of the range, and areas underlain by ultramafic and BIF rocks being particularly favorable. Outcrops of Triassic-Jurassic igneous rocks along the margins of the Taoudeni Basin define tract 4, which is permissive for epithermal gold deposits. Although extensive data are lacking for the area, carbonate units along the northern side of the Taoudeni Basin could be considered permissive host rocks for Carlin-type mineralization, but the deep-water carbonate lithologies are typically not favorable for such.
- Digital Object Identifier: 10.3133/ofr20131280H
- Source: USGS Publications Warehouse (indexId: ofr20131280H)