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Mineral Systems of Victoria

Uncovering Victoria's mineral prospectivity

The Geological Survey of Victoria has implemented a 'systems' approach to classifying Neoproterozoic – Paleozoic-age metallogeny in Victoria, characterising several major overlapping mineral exploration fairways within the State's geology. This helps define prospectivity and greatly improves ground-selection and exploration efficiencies.

All Neoproterozoic-Paleozoic mineral exploration fairways are deeply buried and inaccessible beneath Cretaceous-Cenozoic cover of the Otway and Gippsland Basins in southern Victoria, and so their configurations are not depicted there. The fairways that lie beneath thin Murray Basin cover in northern and north-western Victoria are all potentially explorable.

The fairways have been defined as follows:

Stavely Arc base-metals/gold fairway

 Map of the Stavely Arc base metals/gold fairway. This fairway has Cambrian age mineralisation with porphyry and volcanogenic massive sulphide plays (copper, molybdenum, gold). It is located in western Victoria. The far north-west section partly borders South Australia and New South Wales.
Map of Stavely Arc base-metals/gold fairway (click on map to enlarge)

A newly-recognised continental margin volcanic arc setting for a Cambrian magmatic succession. The arc has Cambrian age mineralisation with porphyry and VMS plays (copper, molybdenum, gold).

VMS plays such as the McRaes/Eclipse prospect are contained within Cambrian calc-alkaline mafic-intermediate volcanic arc successions (e.g. the Mount Stavely Volcanic Complex). Magmatic-hydrothermal base metals (+/- gold) are associated with Cambrian intermediate-felsic porphyry intrusions (e.g. ’ Thursdays Gossan’ Cu, Mo) that variously intrude the deformed volcanic successions, the overlying deformed metasedimentary rocks (Glenthompson Sandstone), and other intermediate-felsic intrusions (e.g. within the Buckeran Diorite).

Delamerian mafic-ultramafic nickel fairway

Map of the Delamerian mafic-ultramafic nickel fairway. The fairway contains nickel, Platinum Group Elements and nickel-enriched Precambrian-Cambrian ultramafic and mafic igneous rocks, uplifted to near-surface along faults developed within the eastern Delamerian Fold Belt. It is located in western Victoria. The far north-west section borders New South Wales and runs south to half way along the Victoria and South Australia border.
Map of Delamerian mafic-ultramafic nickel fairway (click on map to enlarge)

This fairway has Neo-Proterozoic –Early Cambrian age mineralisation. It contains nickel, Platinum Group Elements (PGE’s) and nickel-enriched Precambrian-Cambrian ultramafic (e.g. Hummocks Serpentinite, Williamson Road Serpentinite) and mafic (e.g. Dimboola Igneous Complex) igneous rocks, uplifted to near-surface along faults developed within the eastern Delamerian Fold Belt. The Delamerian fairway contains the possibility of remobilised hydrothermal nickel adjacent to younger granites (e.g. Avebury, western Tasmania) or supergene nickel in overlying laterite ( such as within the Dundas Tableland).

Stawell-style orogenic gold fairway (greenstone (+/- VMS) – gold association).

Map of the Stawell-style orogenic gold fairway. The fairway contains Ordovician to Devonian age mineralisation hosted by Cambrian metaigneous rocks plus/minus volcanic-hosted massive sulphides. There are multi-million ounce gold plays.
Map of Stawell-style orogenic gold fairway (click on map to enlarge)

Ordovician to  Devonian age mineralisation hosted by Cambrian metaigneous rocks +/- VHMS; multi-million ounce plays. Includes Cambrian VMS as fault-slices within shear zones (e.g. Mount Ararat Copper prospect) and potential strata- form Cambrian VMS within coherent mafic metavolcanic rock packages exposed adjacent to faults elsewhere in Victoria. Includes Ordovician (Magdala mine, Stawell; Moyston; Pitfield Plains) and Devonian (Wonga mine, Stawell) orogenic gold hosted by shear zones developed within, and especially adjacent to, Cambrian mafic metavolcanic (greenstone) rock packages.

Kanmantoo-Strathalbyn SEDEX base-metals fairway

Map of the Kanmantoo-Strathalbyn sedimentary exhalative base metals fairway. The fairway is a newly recognised opportunity extending into Victoria from southeast South Australia. It has Cambrian age mineralisation (zinc, copper, lead, silver). Stratiform base metals of probable sea-floor (back-arc) volcanic exhalative origin are now hosted by Cambrian siliciclastic deep marine sediments that are direct correlates of stratigraphy hosting proven economic base-metal concentrations in southeast South Australia, for example, the Angas zinc mine.
Map of Kanmantoo-Strathalbyn SEDEX base-metals fairway (click on map to enlarge)

This fairway is a newly recognised opportunity extending from southeast South Australia. It has Cambrian age mineralisation (zinc, copper, lead, silver). Stratiform base metals of probable sea-floor (back-arc) volcanic exhalative origin are now hosted by Cambrian siliciclastic deep marine sediments (e.g. Steep Bank Greywacke Member) that are direct correlates of stratigraphy hosting proven economic base-metal concentrations in southeast South Australia (e.g. the Angas Zn mine).

Macquarie Arc Derivatives base metals (gold) fairway

Map of the Macquarie Arc derivatives base metals (gold) fairway. The fairway is located in eastern and far central-north Victoria. The Macquarie Arc Derivatives fairway includes Silurian continental back-arc/rift volcanogenic massive sulphides (for example, Benambra zinc/copper (silver), Devonian porphyry (for example, Mount Unicorn molybdenum and copper), Devonian intrusion-related gold (for example, Grant and Dargo), Siluro-Devonian shear-hosted gold (for example, Omeo, Cassilis) and skarn magnetite/hematite (for example, Nowa Nowa).
Map of Macquarie Arc Derivatives base metals (gold) fairway (click on map to enlarge)

This fairway is a newly recognised context for several play types in rocks which are inferred to overlay deeply buried metalliferous Macquarie Arc material, with metals reworked towards surface during subsequent magmatic events (lead, zinc, copper, molybdenum, gold and iron). 

The Macquarie Arc Derivatives fairway includes  Silurian continental back-arc/rift VMS (e.g. Benambra Zn/Cu (Ag), Devonian porphyry (e.g. Mount Unicorn Mo/Cu), Devonian intrusion-related gold (e.g. Grant/Dargo), Siluro-Devonian shear-hosted gold (e.g. Omeo, Cassilis) and skarn magnetite/hematite (Nowa Nowa).

Macquarie Arc Base Metals (gold) fairway

Map of the Macquarie Arc base metals fairway. The Macquarie Arc is a relatively small in area, newly recognised copper- gold opportunity extending south from New South Wales into the Deddick Zone (Ordovician age mineralisation). There is potential for porphyry and volcanogenic massive sulphide plays, and (beneath younger cover) for equivalents to New South Wales Ordovician copper-gold porphyry mineralisation (for example,, Cadia and Parkes in New South Wales) and Ordovician volcanogenic massive sulphides.
Map of Macquarie Arc Base Metals (gold) fairway (click on map to enlarge)

The Macquarie Arc is a newly recognised copper- gold  opportunity extending south from New South Wales into the Deddick Zone (Ordovician age mineralisation). There is potential for porphyry and VMS plays, and (beneath younger cover) for equivalents to NSW Ordovician Cu-Au porphyry mineralisation (e.g. Cadia, Parkes) and Ordovician VMS.

Selwyn Block base-metals (gold) fairway

Map of the Selwyn Block. The Selwyn Block is a recently recognised opportunity extending from western Tasmania into Central Victoria (Mt Read Volcanics and Avebury-nickel play types; Cambrian age mineralisation). Although mostly deeply buried beneath younger rocks (Melbourne Zone), the Selwyn Block crops out in several places, where volcanogenic massive sulphide and porphyry-style mineralisation within Cambrian calc-alkaline rocks (for example, Hill 800, Jamieson), and nickel, chromite and platinum group element-enriched Precambrian-Cambrian ultramafic rocks (for example, Theile Igneous Complex, Dolodrook , along with unnamed ultramafic rocks at Cape Liptrap extending inland beneath shallow cover) occur. Adjacent opportunities to explore under shallow cover remain untested.
Map of Selwyn Block base-metals (gold) fairway (click on map to enlarge)

The Selwyn Block is a recently recognised opportunity extending from western Tasmania into Central Victoria (Mt Read Volcanics and Avebury-Ni play types; Cambrian age mineralisation). Although mostly deeply buried beneath younger rocks (Melbourne Zone), t he Selwyn Block crops out in several places, where VMS and porphyry-style mineralisation within Cambrian calc-alkaline rocks (e.g. Hill 800, Jamieson), and nickel, chromite and PGE-enriched Precambrian-Cambrian ultramafic rocks (e.g. Theile Igneous Complex, Dolodrook, along with unnamed ultramafic rocks at Cape Liptrap extending inland beneath shallow cover) occur. Adjacent opportunities to explore under shallow cover remain untested.

Wagga-Omeo Zone tin – tantalum fairway

Map of the Wagga-Omeo Zone tin-tantalum fairway. This fairway has plays in Koetong Supersuite igneous rocks (Silurian age mineralisation). The Wagga-Omeo Zone contains pegmatite and greisen dyke -hosted tin-tantalum-niobium mineralisation (for example, Walwa, Mitta Mitta) and lode-tin (Burrowye, Mount Alfred, Walwa).
Map of Wagga-Omeo Zone tin – tantalum fairway (click on map to enlarge)

The Wagga-Omeo Zone has plays in Koetong Supersuite igneous rocks (Silurian age mineralisation). The Wagga-Omeo Zone contains pegmatite and greisen dyke -hosted tin-tantalum-niobium mineralisation (e.g. Walwa, Mitta Mitta) and lode-tin (Burrowye, Mount Alfred, Walwa).

Bendigo-style orogenic gold (+/- antimony) fairway (slate belt gold association)

Map of the Bendigo-style orogenic gold fairway. The fairway is located from central-east across to central-west Victoria and includes areas around Bendigo, Ballarat, St Arnaud, Walhalla, Fosterville, Costerfield and Chiltern. Ordovician-Devonian age mineralisation is present and multiple multi-million ounce nuggetty gold and disseminated gold-antimony plays are proven.
Map of Bendigo-style orogenic gold (+/- antimony) fairway (click on map to enlarge)

The Bendigo-style fairway is of Ordovician-Devonian age mineralisation. Multiple multi-million ounce nuggetty gold and disseminated gold-antimony plays are proven.

The fairway includes Ordovician high-grade ‘nuggetty’ gold- in -quartz -vein plays and Siluro-Devonian disseminated gold +/-antimony plays. The ‘nuggetty’ plays are developed within deformed Cambro-Ordovician siliciclastic marine sediments  associated with folds and faults (e.g. Bendigo, Ballarat, St Arnaud), within Siluro-Devonian siliciclastic marine sediments (e.g. Walhalla), and in quartz vein arrays developed within Devonian igneous rocks (e.g. Woods Point Dyke Swarm).  Disseminated gold-antimony plays are developed within Ordovician-Devonian siliciclastic marine sediments and are associated with fault and fracture networks (e.g. Fosterville, Costerfield, Chiltern).

Devonian magmatic-hydrothermal metals

Map of the Devonian magmatic-hydrothermal metals fairway. The fairway is a mostly state-wide magmatic province. It excludes far western Victoria where no Devonian age magmatism is known. Mineralisation is closely associated with highly fractionated Devonian igneous rocks and includes molybdenum, copper, gold, tungsten and Rare Earth Elements. It overlaps in concept with the Macquarie Arc Derivatives fairway.
Map of Devonian magmatic-hydrothermal metals (click on map to enlarge)

A mostly state-wide magmatic province (excludes far western Victoria where no Devonian age magmatism is known). Mineralisation is closely associated with highly fractionated Devonian igneous rocks and includes molybdenum, copper, gold, tungsten and Rare Earth Elements (REE’s). It overlaps in concept with the Macquarie Arc Derivatives fairway.

There are a range of known and possible play-types (porphyry, stockwork, sheeted vein and greisen) depending on chemistry, degree-of-fractionation and depth of erosion. Many shallowly buried intrusions remain untested.  

The province includes:

  • porphyry-style base metals (Mafeking - Au, Mo; Mt Moliagul - Mo, Au; Monkey Gully - W, Mo; Everton – Mo ; Thologolong/Womobi Mine - W, Mo; Benambra/Mt Murphy - W; Wangarabell – Mo)
  • stockworks (Woods Point Dyke Swarm - see also the Bendigo-style fairway)
  • sheeted veins (e.g. Mount Unicorn Mo - see also Macquarie Arc Derivatives base metals )