The Schaft Creek Porphyry Cu-Mo-(Au) Deposit, Northwestern British Columbia

Exploration and Mining Geology, Vol. 17, No. 3-4, 2008

J.E. Scott, J.P. Richards, L.M. Heaman, R.A. Creaser, and G.S. Salazar

Abstract Schaft Creek is a calc-alkaline porphyry Cu-Mo-(Au) deposit located in northwestern British Columbia. The deposit formed in a volcanic arc setting, likely on a back-arc rifted continental fragment. It is hosted by Late Triassic basaltic to andesitic volcanic rocks of the Stuhini Group (Stikine Terrane), and is associated with porphyritic granodiorite dikes emanating from the nearby Hickman batholith. The age of the Hickman batholith is approximately constrained here by a composite U–Pb zircon date of 222.1 ± 9.6 Ma, which is in broad agreement with a well-constrained age for mineralization at Schaft Creek of 222.0 ± 0.8 Ma (Re–Os molybdenite). The deposit is in most respects typical of calc-alkaline porphyry systems, but displays silica-poor sericite-chlorite alteration in mafic country rocks in place of classic phyllic alteration. The deposit comprises three distinct, but related, zones: the northern Paramount zone, the Main zone, and the West Breccia zone. Two phases of mineralization are observed. The first phase occurs as hydrothermal veins and breccias, and minor disseminations. It consists of bornite, chalcopyrite, molybdenite, and pyrite with potassic and sericite-chlorite alteration. The second phase is minor and consists of veins of molybdenite ± specularite, as well as Cu–Pb-Zn sulfide veins without any significant corresponding alteration. Extensive structural modification has affected the deposit both during and after its formation.
The mineral deposit includes several lenses of massive to semimassive pyrrhotite, 1 to 20 m thick, with a large halo of disseminated sulfide veinlets and sulfide nodules within a zone of intense chlorite alteration in the footwall. The ore mineralogy consists of massive to semimassive pyrrhotite with lesser amounts of sphalerite, chalcopyrite, arsenopyrite, galena, pyrite, and stannite.

Schaft Creek is a calc-alkaline porphyry Cu-Mo-(Au) deposit located in northwestern British Columbia. The deposit formed in a volcanic arc setting, likely on a back-arc rifted continental fragment. It is hosted by Late Triassic basaltic to andesitic volcanic rocks of the Stuhini Group (Stikine Terrane), and is associated with porphyritic granodiorite dikes emanating from the nearby Hickman batholith. The age of the Hickman batholith is approximately constrained here by a composite U–Pb zircon date of 222.1 ± 9.6 Ma, which is in broad agreement with a well-constrained age for mineralization at Schaft Creek of 222.0 ± 0.8 Ma (Re–Os molybdenite). The deposit is in most respects typical of calc-alkaline porphyry systems, but displays silica-poor sericite-chlorite alteration in mafic country rocks in place of classic phyllic alteration. The deposit comprises three distinct, but related, zones: the northern Paramount zone, the Main zone, and the West Breccia zone. Two phases of mineralization are observed. The first phase occurs as hydrothermal veins and breccias, and minor disseminations. It consists of bornite, chalcopyrite, molybdenite, and pyrite with potassic and sericite-chlorite alteration. The second phase is minor and consists of veins of molybdenite ± specularite, as well as Cu–Pb-Zn sulfide veins without any significant corresponding alteration. Extensive structural modification has affected the deposit both during and after its formation.
Keywords: Porphyry Cu-Mo-(Au), British Columbias, Stikine Terrane, Late Triassic
Résumé Schaft Creek est un gîte porphyrique de Cu-Mo-(Au) calco-alkalin situé dans le nord-ouest de la Colombie Britannique. Ce gîte s’est formé dans environnement d’arc volcanique, probablement situé sur un fragment continental bordé par un bassin d’arrière-arc. Le gîte est encaissé par les roches volcaniques basaltiques à andésitiques du Groupe de Stuhini (Terrane de Stikine) d’âge Triasique tardif, et est associé à des dykes de granodiorite porphyrique provenant du batholithe de Hickman avoisinant. L’âge du batholithe de Hickman est estimé par un âge U–Pb composite sur zircon de 222.1 ± 9.6 Ma, lequel est grossièrement en accord avec l’âge de la minéralisation de Schaft Creek, estimé a 222.0 ± 0.8 Ma (Re–Os sur molybdénite).Ce gisement, bien qu’à plusieurs égards typique des systèmes porphyriques calco-alcalins, présente une altération en séricite-chlorite pauvre en silice dans l’encaissant mafique a la place de l’altération phyllique classique. Ce gîte comprend trois zones distinctes bien que connexes : la zone Paramount au Nord, la zone Principale et la zone West Breccia. Deux phases de minéralisation sont observées. La première phase se présente sous forme de veines et de brèches hydrothermales ainsi qu’en disséminations mineures et consiste en bornite, en chalcopyrite, en molybdénite et en pyrite avec une altération potassique et en séricite-chlorite. La seconde phase est mineure et consiste en veines de molybdénite ± spécularite ainsi qu’en veines de sulfures de Cu–Pb-Zn sans association à une altération particulière. Le gisement a été profondément modifié par la déformation a la fois durant et après sa formation.