Hope Bay - Canada's Premier Undeveloped Greenstone Gold Belt

CIM Montreal 2003
Abstract The Hope Bay project is one of the most prospective undeveloped greenstone belts in Canada and contains a number of significant gold deposits hosted in a typical Archean greenstone belt. The deposits occur in several geologic settings, including shear hosted, lode and breccia associated, and these types are illustrative of the diverse potential of the belt. Intensive exploration conducted by Miramar, including more than 100,000m of drilling in the period 2000-2002 has more fully defined the nature of these deposits, while regional exploration has identified a number of additional targets.

Hope Bay greenstone belt extends over 80km in a north-south direction and is between 7 and 20km wide. The belt comprises mafic meta-volcanic and meta-sedimentary rocks that are bound by Archean granite intrusives and gneisses. The greenstone package has been deformed during multiple events and is transected by major north-south trending shear zones that appear to exert a significant control on the occurrence of mineralisation. Three major mineralized districts have been identified to date, each of which is host to several gold deposits.

• Doris is typical of the “Archean lode” deposit style and consists of a steeply dipping, 4km long quartz vein system in folded and metamorphosed pillow basalts. At Doris North, the veins are folded to create a high-grade anticlinal hinge zone which hosts significant, high grade, near surface resources. Miramar has commenced permitting and targets completion of a feasibility study by the end of 2002 to bring this area into production. This would be the first mine developed on wholly Inuit owned surface and sub-surface lands.

• Boston is located near the southern end of the belt and is characteristic of “Shear hosted” gold deposit type. It is associated with a flexure in the Hope Bay structural break. Gold is associated with sulphide mineralization, which forms in clots within the veins and as a halo in the wall rock around the veins.

• At Madrid drilling in 2001-02 defined a major structure, the Deformation Zone (DEFZ), which is comprised of highly deformed quartz-dolomite and porphyry and exploration identified several new deposits and gold occurrences along this trend in 2001 and 2002. The styles of mineralization are variable and include disseminated, stockwork and breccia style gold mineralization in altered mafic volcanics and in brecciated, silicified and sulphidized mafic to ultramafic volcanics with intercalated argillite. The presence of multiple gold deposits and gold occurrences in a variety of host rocks and geologic settings in several parallel structures suggests that the Deformation Zone and the other structures have served as important pathways for gold mineralization covering an area at least 11km long by 1km wide. A major exploration program is planned for the first half of 2003 to evaluate the potential of this highly prospective area.

Numerous other exploration targets remain to be tested in the Hope Bay belt.

The presentation will highlight the geology and mineralization of the Hope Bay belt; provide an insight into the latest exploration results and the development progress for the project.
Keywords: Exploration, Development, Arctic, Mine, Gold, Discovery, Nunavut, Greenstone, Hope Bay, Archean
Full Access to Technical Paper
PDF version for $20.00
Other papers from CIM Montreal 2003