The Kişladağ Mine, Turkey, is a large porphyry gold deposit which is mined by open pit methods. In operation for over ten years, Kişladağ provides an excellent example of how attention to a geologic feature, namely hydrothermal alteration, became a very effective predictive geological tool for planning and operation. The alteration domains were initially used as a geological tool to assist with establishment of resource model domains and to guide delineation drilling, but they were soon recognised to be correlative to geotechnical characteristics (affecting pit slope angles) and metallurgical performance (heap leach recoveries). Recent developments in spectral processing allow the systematic quantification of complex overlapping alteration phases and have greatly improved the ability to rapidly define internally consistent alteration domains for geotechnical and geometallurgical purposes.
Alteration at Kişladağ comprises a central core potassic (K-feldspar-biotite) zone, a tourmaline-white mica enveloping zone, an advanced argillic lithocap on the deposit’s eastern side and an overprinting pervasive argillic zone. These alteration zones and their distribution were based initially on strictly qualitative, visual mineralogical logging of diamond drill core. With the need for more accurate and consistent identification of the alteration mineral suites, particularly the phyllosilicate phases, logging was augmented by systematic measurement of spectral data using a Terraspec instrument.
Recently the Kişladağ spectral database (over 85 000 readings) was reprocessed by the newly developed methodology (aiSIRIS™) that allows relative quantification of the spectrally-responsive minerals. Visualising this transformed spectral mineralogy at various mineral concentration thresholds using implicit modelling software (Leapfrog®) led to the creation of consistent mineralogical and alteration domains that are used for the definition of geotechnical and geometallurgical parameters. An implicit modelling workflow enables these domains to be easily updated as new data is collected while maintaining geological integrity of the model.
McKinley, S, Baker, T and Öztaş, Y, 2017. Alteration at Kişladağ gold mine, Turkey – a progressive study in geology, geotechnics and geometallurgy, in Proceedings Tenth International Mining Geology Conference 2017, pp 51–62 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).