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Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 35 {1990) 105-140 105

Elsevier Science Publishers B.V., Amsterdam - - Printed in The Netherlands

Geological setting, characteristics and regional


exploration for gold in the volcanic arcs of North
Sulawesi, Indonesia

J.C. CARLILE 1, S. DIGDOWIROGO2 and K. DARIUS 2


~MusweUbrook Energy and Minerals Ltd., Gold Division, 135 Collin.~ Street, Melbourne, Vic.
3000, Australia
2BHP-Utah Exploration Group, Metals Division, Jl. Dadali III/2, Bogor 16161, Indonesia
(Received February 2, 1989; revised and accepted July 6, 1989)

ABSTRACT

Carlile, J.C., Digdowirogo, S. and Darius, K., 1990. Geological setting, characteristics and regional
exploration for gold in the volcanic arcs of North Sulawesi, Indonesia. In: J.W. Hedenquist,
N.C. White and G. Siddeley (Editors), Epithermal Gold Mineralization of the Circum-Pacific:
Geology, Geochemistry, Origin and Exploration, I. J. Geochem. Explor., 35: 105-140.

Recent exploration has highlighted North Sulawesi as a significant gold province located within
a series of spatially overlapping Tertiary volcanic arcs. In the western ensialic portion, rhyodacitic
volcanics overlie quartzo-feldspathic metamorphic basement. In contrast, the central and eastern
ensimatic areas comprise marine basaltic basement overlain by andesitic volcanic, the centres of
which have migrated progressively eastwards from the Early Miocene until the present day.
Four major categories of gold mineralisation are recognised; gold-copper porphyries within which
gold is distinctly partitioned, gold and base-metal bearing breccias, and gold in both high- and
low-sulphidation epithermal systems.
A regional exploration technique, comprising fractional analyses of gold in stream sediments
and pan concentrates, is able to detect all mineralisation types. Gold in the finer-size fractions of
these media gives better discriminated anomalies and more repeatable results.
Copper and silver in stream sediments may be used to further discriminate anomalies in terms
of their character of source mineralisation. This has proved particularly useful in situations where
different styles of mineralisation occur in close proximity. In a number of the cases described soil
geochemistry has enabled differentiation between mineralisation styles and thus guided ongoing
exploration in areas of sparse outcrop.

INTRODUCTION

Porphyry copper exploration in the 1970s, and gold exploration in the 1980s
are largely responsible for the present state of knowledge of the geology and
mineralisation of North Sulawesi. New gold discoveries are continually being

0375-6742/90/$03.50 1990 Elsevier Science Publishers B.V.


106 J.C. CARLILE ET AL.

made by exploration companies, and also the ever increasing numbers of small-
scale miners.
While a large amount of field information exists in company reports, no
overall compilation or evaluation has been published to date, and due to the
practical pressures of exploration, no individual deposit or occurrence has yet
been studied in detail. The present work attempts to bring much of the avail-
able field information together in a form that may be useful for geologists ex-
ploring elsewhere in similar environments.

GEOLOGY

Regional setting

Sulawesi (Fig. 1 ) is formed of three major tectonic units (Hamilton, 1979).


The western section, comprising the North and South Arms, is made up of a
series of overlapping volcano-plutonic arcs of Cretaceous to Recent age. These
are of progressively younger age, and also change in character from ensialic to
ensimatic, going eastward along the North Arm. The Minahasa-Sangihe arc
is still active and connects North Sulawesi to southeastern Mindanao.
The eastern section of Sulawesi (East and Southeast Arms) is composed of
a Paleogene-Neogene subduction melange, glaucophane schists and ophiol-
ites; the easternmost islands of Banggai-Sula and Buton are continental frag-
ments translated westwards from New Guinea along major strike-slip faults.
The North Arm and Sangihe Islands are the youngest section of the western
volcano-plutonic belt and host both porphyry copper-gold and epithermal gold
mineralisation.

Geology of the North Arm and Sangihe Arc

The geological map (Fig. 2) has been compiled with reference to published
mapping by the Geological Survey of Indonesia (Ratman, 1976; Effendi, 1976;
Apandi, 1977) and numerous unpublished company reports. Units are defined
by their dominant lithologies. Relative relationships between units are reason-
ably well established; however, as radiometric and paleontological data are
scarce, ages should be regarded as tentative at this stage. Figure 3 shows a
schematic geological section through the North Arm of Sulawesi and the San-
gihe Arc.
The oldest rocks occur in the Marisa region (Fig. 2) and comprise horn-
blende granodiorite, coarse-grained biotite-hornblende granodiorites, amphi-
bolites, metabasalt, and metagabbro (Kavalieris, 1984). Poorly foliated gran-
odioritic rocks dominate to the south, and well foliated metabasic rocks to the
north, where are overlain by marine basalts and sediments. The basic meta-
EXPLORATION FOR GOLD IN THE VOLCANIC ARCS OF NORTH SULAWESI 107

NS,AL,C VOLCAN,C 'Re

~ METAMORPHICS
I
~ OPHIOLITES o~ ,' . . . . .
~+_ ~ " CONTINENTAL FRAGMENT
~---~ ACTIVE VOLCANOES
SANGIHE (~

*<:~ E A S T ARM

^ ^ ^ ^ ^
^
v ^^ ^ ^^ ~ ^ ^ ^
,
^
^
^~^ ^ ^ ~
^
^
^ BANGGAI-SULA
^ ~ ^^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ,

SOUTH-EAST
ARM
SOUTH
ARM

Fig. 1. Major t e c t o n i c d i v i s i o n s of Sulawesi, Indonesia.

morphics may represent the mid-section of an ophiolite which has been thrust
over the quartzo-feldspathic basement.
To the east of the Marisa region, lithologies change from ensialic to ensi-
matic in character. Granodiorites from Palu, 250 km south-southwest of To-
litoli, are similar to those of the Marisa area and have been dated at 31 Ma
(Sukamto, 1973). The foliated metamorphics are therefore probably of pre-
Tertiary age.
OO

RECENT Sub-aerial andesitic- dacitic volcanics


%
PLEISTOCENE Coralline limestone

PLIO-PLEISTOCENE Sub-aerial andesites and sediment SANGIHE


REGION
PLIOCENE Sub-aerial rhyodacites

UPPER MIOCENE -PLIOCENE Sub-aerial andesitic pyroclastics

MIDDLE MIOCENE Dioritic to granodioritic intrusives

L O W E R - MIDDLE MIOCENE Marine to sub-aerial andesites and sediments

PRE-MIOCENE Marine basuits and sediments \


P R E - TERTIARY Basement metamorphics and intrusives
MINAHASA
RE GION (~~
GORONTALO MANADO~i~.~
,' ."*.)#
REGION ~ \
AMOBAGU
~
iR
~
'E
!~G
'~O
Iil N
~:~'I' --~ONTALO
F i
o 20 40 K M

Fig. 2. Geology of"the North Arm of Sulawesi and Sangihe Arc.


EXPLORATIONFOR GOLDIN THE VOLCANICARCSOF NORTH SULAWESI 109

W E

NORTH ARM SULAWESI I SANGIHE ARC

L- II t t ~ , I
f i t i

MARISA GORONTALO MINAHASA SANGIHE

Fig. 3. Schematic section of the N o r t h Arm of Sulawesi and Sangihe Arc (Symbols as in Fig. 2 ).

East of the Marisa region, marine basalts and interlayered sediments un-
conformably overlie the metamorphic basement and outcrop in an arcuate
eastward-thinning wedge with its apex just west of Gorontalo. Basalt flows,
characterised by pillow and autobrecciation textures, are intruded by swarms
of basic dykes that do not penetrate the younger units (Fig. 3 ). Large vesicles
and amygdales are common within the flows, and interbedded sediments com-
prise red mudstones with minor interbedded chert and limestone. As noted by
Trail et al. (1974) the origin of the marine basaltic sequence is problematical.
The association of pillow basalts, cherts and limestones intruded by basic dykes
is characteristic of formation on an ocean floor, but the presence of large amyg-
dales and vesicles up to 2 cm in diameter implies a shallow-water origin. The
marine basalt sequence may be the upper portion of an ophiolite or, alterna-
tively, the sequence may indicate the start of arc volcanism in a shallow-ma-
rine basin. In any event it probably forms the basement for the ensimatic arcs
of both the North Arm and Sangihe Islands and is thought to be pre-Miocene
in age.
A sequence of marine to sub-aerial andesitic rocks of probable Lower-Mid-
dle Miocene unconformably overlie the basalts, and display volcanic, volcani-
clastic and sedimentary facies variations. The volcanics dominantly comprise
andesitic lavas and pyroclastics with minor basalts, dacites, and occasional
interbedded limestones. This facies is best developed in the eastern Gorontalo
and western Minahasa regions, and possibly indicates that the major centre of
Miocene volcanism was located there. This facies is the major host to epi-
thermal gold mineralisation.
The volcaniclastic units comprise greywackes, conglomerates, sandstones
and mudstones, with minor interbedded andesitic flows. This facies dominates
the western Gorontalo region and occurs only in isolated patches to the east.
Clastic sediments are minor and are confined to isolated basins within the
marine basalts.
Intermediate igneous rocks intrude the marine basalt and andesitic sequence
either as batholiths or clusters of stocks and dykes. The batholiths described
by Trail et al. (1974) are medium- to coarse-grained quartz diorites and grano-
110 J,C. CARLILE ET AL.

diorites composed of andesine, hornblende and quartz, whereas the smaller


pipes and dykes are strongly porphyritic with calcic plagioclase, hornblende
and lesser quartz phenocrysts set in a fine-grained, equigranular matrix of pla-
gioclase and quartz. The diorites are of probable Middle Miocene age, and the
subvolcanic porphyritic varieties host porphyry copper-gold mineralisation in
the Gorontalo and Sangihe regions.
Sub-aerial andesitic pyroclastics unconformably overlie the andesitic se-
quence on the northwest coast of the Gorontalo region. They form a narrow
east-west-trending zone of poorly sorted breccia containing angular to sub-
rounded fragments ranging from a few centimetres to several metres in diam-
eter. Clasts comprise diorite, andesite, sandstone, and mudstone contained in
a fine- to coarse-grained matrix of similar composition. The unit is thought to
be of Upper Miocene to Pliocene age.
Sub-aerial rhyodacitic volcanics are confined to the south coast of the Mar-
isa region. Lithologies comprise porphyritic intrusives, lapilli tuffs and vol-
canic breccias, all of rhyodacitic composition. This volcanic suite intrudes and
unconformably overlies the metamorphic basement and marine basalts, but its
relationship to other units is uncertain. Trail et al. (1974) infer a Pliocene age.
This unit hosts epithermal gold mineralisation at Gunung Pani.
Sub-aerial volcanics of probable Plio-Pleistocene age occur mainly in the
Minahasa and eastern Gorontalo regions. Minor and probably contempora-
neous molasse sediments outcrop on the north coast west of Bulagidun. The
volcanics are dominantly pyroclastics of explosive origin including volcanic
breccias, lapilli tufts and air fall tuffs, together with minor andesite flows. The
unit is characteristically poorly lithified and its distribution is controlled by
paleotopographic lows. Where preserved it unconformably overlies all older
units.
Quaternary to Recent volcanics and active volcanoes dominate the Sangihe
Islands and the eastern part of the Minahasa region. Volcanic structures are
clearly preserved, and their products form extensive andesitic to dacitic pyro-
clastic cover on all older rocks. Other Quaternary to Recent deposits include
coralline limestones that occur at various locations along the coast, and in the
graben valleys of the Gorontalo region.

Structure

Sulawesi has evolved in the complex convergence zone of the Eurasian, Pa-
cific and Australian crustal plates. A major event in this plate interaction was
the collision of the Banggai-Sula continental fragment with the Sulawesi Arc,
which resulted in a ninety degree clockwise rotation of the North Arm to its
present east-west orientation.
Several prominent northwest- to north-northwest-trending, right-lateral,
strike-slip faults are inferred to cut the North Arm, based on displacement of
EXPLORATION FOR GOLD IN THE VOLCANIC ARCS OF NORTH SULAWESI 111

the coastlines, the east-west-trending valleys, and mountain ranges. The


strongest of these trends is from Kwandang on the north coast to Gorontalo
on the south coast, with air photo interpretation indicating that a zone of com-
plex northwest- and west-northwest-faulting several kilometres wide occurs.
Faults of this trend appear to show a scissors-type tilting, as they mark changes
from emerging to submerging coast, as demonstrated by raised coralline lime-
stone or the development of fringing reefs and mangroves.
The North Arm shows a marked change in orientation from east-west to
northeast-southwest about a northwest hinge through Kotamobagu. The ap-
parent bending of the North Arm at this point appears to have induced con-
siderable crustal extension in the adjacent south coast area, with small grabens
developed in response. This line also marks a change in the directions of smaller
faults and fractures. The North Arm may, therefore, be divided into two struc-
tural regions separated by this hinge region.
Structural studies at the various mineral prospects in the Gorontalo region
show several sets of faults, and in each area the pattern of faults appears to be
similar. The best developed structures strike east-west, and much of the most
recent faulting appears to have comprised normal vertical movement on these
faults. Several can be traced for many kilometres where they clearly define
uplifted east-west mountain ranges, and graben valleys such as that of the
lower Bone River drainage in the Gorontalo region. The next most prominent
structures trend north-northeast, and the two sets appear to form an orthog-
onal subvertical tensional fracture system. Both fault sets appear to exert con-
trol on the location of mineralisation.
Less prominent fault sets are developed on northeast and northwest orien-
tations. The northeast set tends to be the more dominant. These probably
comprise a conjugate subvertical shear fracture set, and do not appear to be
significantly related to mineralisation.
In the Minahasa region there are two strongly developed fault sets, one
trending generally northeast and the other northwest. The northeasterly set
clearly shows vertical movement, and the two probably comprise an orthogonal
tensional fracture system comparable to that in the Gorontalo region. They
also appear to act as mineralisation controls.

Geological regions

Based on variations in geology and structure four major regions are recog-
nised. The Marisa region is dominated by quartzo-feldspathic basement un-
conformably overlain by marine basalts and rhyodacitic volcanics. Intrusive
rocks are mainly granitic. In this area epithermal mineralisation occurs at
Gunung Pani and a porphyry molybdenum deposit has been explored at Malala
(Figs. 3, 4 and 5). The Marisa region possibly represents the eastern limit of
,=o

(~ BINEBASE
TAWARE RIDGE

~ _ . . ' . . : - - ~ O e O . N GO...~-
J~ . ~~. :~ . K. . : i : : - ~z..___ j:::.-:.--i~
ANUV

~ll . ,

0 25 50 T5 I0~)KM

>
Fig. 4. The North Arm of Sulawesi and Sangihe Arc showing the locations of mineral deposits and exploration blocks described in the text.
F
EXPLORATION FOR GOLDIN THE VOLCANICARCSOF NORTH SULAWESI 113

continental type basement, and therefore could be described as an ensialic or


continental edge arc.
The Gorontalo region is the largest of the four regions and is characterised
by Miocene andesitic volcanics and dioritic intrusives that unconformably ov-
erlie marine basaltic basement. Plio-Pleistocene volcaniclastics cap the se-
quence and the structural regime is dominated by east-west-, northwest- and
north-northeast-trending faults.
The Minahasa region is also characterised by Miocene andesitic volcanics
but with fewer dioritic intrusives than the Gorontalo region. Marine basalts
basement is poorly exposed and Plio-Pleistocene volcanics are more extensive.
Active volcanoes and their product dominate the northeast of the region. Dom-
inant structural trends are northeast and northwest.
The Sangihe region comprises mainly Recent volcanics and active volcan-
oes. Older Miocene andesites and intrusives are confined to the southern part
of Sangihe Island and dominant structural trends are northeast and northwest.
The location of the mineralisation occurrences described in the text are shown

GORONTALO MINAHASA
REGION REGION
ACTIVE VOLCANISM

VvVvV

v v v v
v

v
v

v
v ~-T-
v
:?,++
v

v v . v v v , +* v
v v v v v -v++-,
. v v v v-++ -
v v -v-v-. +-~
MARISA
REGION
v

~ v ~v
.
;':'T
VVv.v~ 1:[,; ::,:i: : ~ : v : , : ~
! i SANG,HE
v V
v--V v v 4 ~ + +Iv
: :~ REGION
V . V V~ . ~ " I .
, v v ~ v v +++Iv
v v v v ~ iv . v + + v
v v . ~ . v
|a ^ A ^ A I
v v v ,+v
A .', ~----.V.~V V
v v +
+ V V V++~V v
v ':::]+ : i : i : i : ) ! ; ACTIVE VOLCANISM
F ^ ^ A A ~) A A V - ~ + , , V V ++IV
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ,-v-v-v-l+. v+*v "vvvl /VvVvV . g
^ ~ -.v-v~ v ! v vv++,
.... vVv Vv'vV ++
^ ~'~
I . v v + v v v + +v
; :,;_v,, ~. r ~ v v , .
. .*. :=vv vV:, v:v
,~vV

I. GUNUNG PANI MOTOMBOTO


?..,.'~!
:.:.:.i. :
. + ,

t!i I
L RATATOTOK I. TAWAR| RIOGE
2. TOMBULILATO 2. MINTU 2. BINEBASE
3. BOLANGITANG 3. TOBONGON
4. BULAGIDUN 4. LANUT
Fig. 5. Schematic stratigraphic setting of described mineral deposits.
114 J.C. CARLILE ET AL.

in Figure 4 and a simplified stratigraphic column for the North Arm and San-
gihe Arc is given in Figure 5. This also shows the approximate stratigraphic
setting the mineralisation described, and summary details are listed in Table
1.

GOLD MINERALISATION

The Marisa region

Gunung Pani
Gunung Pani is located 15 km inland from the south coast in the Marisa
region and was discovered at the turn of the century by the Dutch. Although
several adits and pits were completed, very minor production of 1 kg of gold
and 0.5 kg of silver was recorded by van Bemmelen (1949) who terms the area
the Paguat Concession. Since the early 1980s gold has been exploited by a small
number of local miners. Intermittant exploration including trenching, dia-
mond drilling and aditting has been carried out since 1971 by P T Tropic En-
deavour Indonesia. The prospect is currently being explored under a joint ven-
ture between P T Aneka Tambang and B H P - U t a h Pacific Inc.
Lithologies in the prospect area (Fig. 6) are all rhyodacitic in composition,
and include intrusive porphyries, lapilli tufts, volcanics breccias, and fine air-
fall tuffs that Kavalieris (1984) interpreted as a dome complex. Alteration
comprises weakly pervasive albite-chlorite, minor disseminated pyrite, and
quartz-adularia linings on fractures.
The main gold mineralisation is focused in three types of structures which
in order of increasing gold content comprise closed siliceous limonitic frac-
tures, open discontinuous quartz-adularia lined fractures, and breccia zones
characterised by hairline, discontinuous fractures generally lined with limon-
ite and in part with quartz vughs (these are termed mosaic breccias). Grades
are highest where the three types overlap in the oxidised zone,and there is
apparently a sharp mineralisation cut-off at the water table. Silver and base
metals are very low throughout and gold occurs as electrum with 20% silver
(Kavalieris, 1984).
The overall control of the mineralised fracture zones is unclear. Kavalieris
(1984) suggests that the low grade of mineralisation and the observed fracture
types are consistent with formation by degassing of a rhyodacite dome. How-
ever, the mineralised ridge trends north-northeast, with steep slopes on both
sides possibly reflecting faults, and is intersected by a northeast-striking fault
that crosses the strongest zone of mineralisation. The dominant direction for
mineralised fractures is north-northeast, and therefore post-domal faulting is
more likely to be the major control. The present resource at Gunung Pani is of
the order of 30 million tonnes grading at between 1 and 1.5 g/tonne gold.
-[ e Z~I~nb-o~.T.aT.SOS-a,!ql~-O1T.aoIqa qaT.q~ uo a~BlqmassB a ~ N a ~ m - a l N o ! q IaVa
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uooq OA~q BOt.II~tUOU~:~aoa pu~ l!OS pouuo p iluonbosqn S " ~ s ! m o q a o o ~ ua~osls
snoIvvaouv jo dn-moIIO$ jo ~Insoa v s~ L86I-p!m u! pasoAoas!p s~,~ pu~ 'o~uv~
qoIoI~d oq~ u! ~s~oa q~aou oq~ uaoa] puviu !tm i 9I Po~vaoI s! voav ~aodsoad oq&
unp~.~Vln~t

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v~VvVvVvVvVvVvVvVv VvVvVvVvVvVvVvVv v v o o o~
v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v o y~"~ ' ~,-Fi1~vj v v
vvv v v v v v v v v v ,,, v v v v o o _~i- ~'_,_ -C v v

v""...~.., v v v v v v v v v v v v v o ~s-, i 2','-, 2/` v v vlv


v v~-..., v ,, ~ ,, ~ ,, ,, v v v o o ; ~-, ,'-:~. ilk/v vZo
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QI I ISXAWq~IS HJMON~IOS0}IV01NVO~IOAXH&NI (YIO9HOAN01&V}I0~IdXS]


116 J.C. CARLILE ET AL.

teration is superimposed. Chlorite replaces the earlier hydrothermal biotite,


and rutile and leucoxene are also present. Sulphides appear to have been in-
troduced with the fluids that produced this alteration, as replacement of mag-
netite by pyrite and chalcopyrite is common. Volcanics adjacent to the brec-
ciated zone show a chlorite-sericite-calcite-quartz assemblage, and in places
tourmaline constitutes up to 10% of the altered rock, and is sometimes inter-
grown with chalcopyrite.
The strongest mineralisation, grading around 2-4 g/tonne gold and between
1% and 2% copper, occurs in a zone of hydrothermal brecciation and fractur-
ing, most of which is hosted by andesitic volcanics adjacent to a diorite intru-
sion. Chalcopyrite and pyrite occur in veinlets, in quartz which cements the
zones of strongest brecciation, and as disseminations in the wall rock. Other
minerals associated with quartz veining include chlorite, magnetite, ankerite,
barite and allanite. Highest grades occur where chlorite-albite-quartz and sul-
phides have overprinted the earlier biotite-magnetite assemblage, and partic-
ularly where intense supergene oxidation has taken place.
The mineralised breccias are located near an intrusive contact and an east-
west-trending fault cuts the prospect. A combination of these structures have
probably influenced the distribution of mineralisation.

Paleleh
This prospect, which is located on the north coast, was discovered late last
century and subsequently worked by the Dutch. Significant amounts of gold,
silver and lead were mined sporadically between 1896 and 1929 and van Bem-
melen (1949) records total production figures equivalent to 6200 kg of gold,
5000 kg of silver, and 550,000 kg of lead recovered from one million tonnes of
ore. Since 1984 the area has been explored under a joint venture between P T
Aneka Tambang, B H P - U t a h Sulawesi Inc. and Placer Dome Indonesia Ltd.
The old mine occurs where Miocene andesitic volcanics, dominated by lapilli
tufts, are intruded by diorite and pervasive sericitic alteration is developed
along the contact zones.
Gold mineralisation is localised within planar zones of hydraulic fracture
breccias that grade outwards to veinlet and fracture zones in both volcanics
and intrusives. Individual veins are up to 30 cm wide, subvertical, and strike
north-northwest. They comprise quartz-pyrite-chalcopyrite-galena-sphaler-
ite. The main control on mineralisation appears to be the zone of fracturing
developed at the intrusive contact.

Motomboto
The Motomboto prospect occurs 30 km east-southeast of the town of Goron-
talo and is immediately west of Sungai Mak, one of the Tombulilato porphyry
copper-gold deposits (Carlile and Kirkegaard, 1985). It was first identified in
1975 during follow up of a weak, copper, stream sediment anomaly, when out-
EXPLORATION FOR GOLD IN THE VOLCANIC ARCS OF NORTH SULAWESI 117

crop samples exhibiting silica-pyrite alteration from Sungai Motomboto were


found to be anomalous in copper and gold. When these outcrops were re-ex-
amined in 1980, narrow veins of enargite were discovered. Soil and rock geo-
chemistry, and diamond drilling has been carried out by P T Tropic Endeavour
Indonesia, and since 1987 the area has been explored under a joint venture
between P T Aneka Tambang and B H P - U t a h Pacific Inc.
The prospect (Fig. 7) is hosted within Miocene andesitic lapilli tuffs, vol-
canic breccias and lavas, that in low-lying areas are unconformably overlain
by an unlithified sequence of flat-lying lake sediments and intercalated boulder
beds.
Hydrothermal alteration extends over 5 km in an east-west direction, and
in places is up to 300 m wide. Within the overall zone discontinuous patches
of massive grey silica and small isolated bodies of vughy silicification occur.
The latter comprise intensely silicified porphyry where phenocrysts have been
partly or completely leached out and in some cases the resultant euhedral spaces
are filled by late intergrowths of alunite and enargite. Pervasive crystalline and

N S
(M) (M)
6001 ~ ~ - ~ v ' v vv 1 6 0 0

__ __ , ..... 550
o o o o o o o v v v v vv
o v v v v v v

o , .......... I
450 o
":
o
=2
o o
:::::::::::::::::::
_, ,- ~___~
"
. . . .. . . . .. . . . .. .
.... 1
450

v v v v v v v v v vXv v
v v v v v v v v v v
v VvV v VvVvV VvVvV

a pproximote

aO0 I
200M

Lithology Alteration Mineralisation


] Unlithified sediments ~ Vughy silica ~-~ Sulphide ond oxide breccia

~ ' ~ Silico-alunite- pyrite [--~ Enargite veins


[ ~ ] Andesite
J Clay [ - ~ Enargite st ringers

Chlorite

Fig. 7. S i m p l i f i e d geological c r o s s s e c t i o n o f t h e M o t o m b o t o deposit.


118 J.C. CARLILE ET AL.

microcrystalline alunite is widespread and is generally associated with fine-


grained disseminated pyrite. Alunite also occurs as colloform veins up to a few
centimetres wide alternating with silica, pyrite and enargite. This main alter-
ation grades laterally over a few metres through a zone of undefined clay to
chloritic altered andesites.
Gold, silver and base-metal mineralisation occurs in structures that post-
date the main alteration. Massive sulphide breccias up to 10 m wide, dominated
by enargite or pyrite, comprise clasts of enargite and luzonite with minor pyrite
and chalcopyrite in a matrix of similar material that also contains coarse crys-
talline alunite. The pyritic breccias are made up of pyrite and minor enargite
clasts in a dense, fine-grained silica-pyrite matrix. Both appear to grade out-
wards to stockwork and stringer zones of similar composition. Enargite veins
and stringers also occur independently of the breccia zones.
Intensely oxidised scorodite breccias are known to depths of over 200 m
below surface within silica-alunite-pyrite altered rock. Oxidation, either su-
pergene or late hypogene, has focused on the enargite breccias and has pene-
trated down structures to well below the water table. The scorodite breccias
account for the richest gold mineralisation discovered to date and several dis-
continuous zones grade around 4-5 g/tonne gold. Gold appears to have been
residually enriched as the unoxidised enargite breccias generally contain only
2-3 g/tonne gold associated with silver values commonly up to several hundred
g/tonne, and copper grades of 2-4%. Arsenic content reaches as much as 10%
in places.
The overall alteration appears to be controlled by an east-west structure,
and mineralisation within the zone generally trends north-northwest along
faults that are also reflected in the displacement of the present drainages.

Bolangitang
The prospect is located 20 km inland from on the north coast and was dis-
covered in mid-1988 as a result of follow up of anomalous gold in streams.
Anomalous quartz vein float was traced to source, and the area is undergoing
extensive trenching that has yet to define the limits of the system. Bolangitang
is held under joint venture by P T Aneka Tambang, BHP-Utah Sulawesi Inc.
and Placer Dome Indonesia Ltd.
Mineralisation occurs within andesitic volcanics and no intrusive rocks have
yet been mapped in or near the prospect. Other than the regional propylitic
alteration no other pervasive alteration is apparent in the andesites hosting
the veins, although illite-pyrite alteration forms haloes ranging in width from
a few centimetres to tens of centimetres adjacent to the quartz veins.
Gold mineralisation occurs in narrow quartz veins, stockworks, and in the
quartz matrix that cements zones of hydrothermal brecciation. At least two
generations of quartz are present, an earlier massive phase, and a later crys-
talline variety showing well developed comb structures.
EXPLORATION FOR GOLD IN THE VOLCANIC ARCS OF NORTH SULAWESI 119

The prospect occurs in an area where east-west- and north-northeast-trend-


ing faults are well developed. Both appear to have had some control on
mineralisation.

Tombulilato
The Tombulilato District occurs 35 km east-southeast of Gorontalo where
several centres of porphyry copper-gold mineralisation were discovered by re-
gional stream geochemistry in the 1970s. For two of these, Cabang Kiri East
and Sungai Mak, a significant copper-gold resource has been defined by grid
drilling carried out by P T Tropic Endeavour Indonesia. Resource estimated at
Cabang Kiri East is approximately 140 million tonnes grading 0.43% copper
and 0.58 g/tonne gold, while the estimate for Sungai Mak is 82 million tonnes
grading 0.77% copper and 0.39 g/tonne gold. More detailed descriptions of the
discovery, and the upper levels of mineralisation are given in Lowder and Dow
(1978). The vertical zonation of alteration and mineralisation at Cabang Kiri
has been described by Carlile and Kirkegaard (1985). The area is currently
under exploration by a joint venture between P T Aneka Tambang and BHP-
Utah Pacific Inc.
The copper-gold mineralisation at Cabang Kiri East is centred on quartz
diorite stocks intruded into andesitic volcanics of Miocene age. Most of the
mineralisation is hosted within the intrusives, and both alteration and miner-
alisation at Cabang Kiri East show a marked vertical zonation (Fig. 8). A
quartz-sericite-albite-chlorite-magnetite assemblage occurs at the deepest level
explored to date and passes upwards through chlorite-magnetite into argillic
alteration that includes montmorillonite-sericite-chlorite-magnetite. An up-
per acid overprint is developed where kaolinite-diaspore-alunite are associated
with illite.
The complex alteration assemblage observed at depth appears to result from
overprinting of a biotite-magnetite assemblage, where chlorite replaces biotite
and sulphides replace magnetite. Mineralisation associated with this altera-
tion is notably gold-rich averaging close to 2 g/tonne gold. Mineralisation in
the lower levels is dominantly disseminated, comprising chalcopyrite with lesser
bornite, and grades upwards to fracture and stockwork controlled varieties.
At Sungai Mak the potentially economic resource is a supergene-enriched
zone dominated by a chalcocite blanket up to 150 m thick. A similar vertical
alteration zoning is also recognised where the K-feldspar-albite-biotite-chlo-
rite-magnetite at depth gives way upward to an argillic assemblage that occurs
in the zone where an acid overprint of the argillic alteration includes kaolinite,
dickite, pyrophyllite, diaspore, gibbsite and alunite.
The Tombulilato district is strongly faulted, being cut by large east-west-,
and northeast- and northwest-trending structures, however, there is no ob-
vious structural control to the mineralisation. Faults may, however, control
the emplacement of the quartz diorite stocks on which the mineralisation is
centred.
120 J.C. CARLILE ET AL

W E
(M) (M)
80 0 8O0

700 7OO

600 60O

500 5OO

400 4OO

300 300

Lithology Alteration

Explosive breccia pipe Kaolinite - diaspore - alunite

Coorse pyroclostic s Mont morillonEte-sericite - c H a r it e -magnetite

Andesite Chlorite -magnetite

Porphyritic quartz diorite Q u a r t z - sericite- albite - c h l o r i t e - magnetite

opproximote
I
0 I00 200 M

Fig. 8. Simplifiedgeologicalcross sectionof the CabangKiri East porphyrycopper-golddeposit,


Tombulilato.

The Minahasa region

Lanut
Lanut is located 20 km southeast of the town of Kotamobagu and 5 km
inland from the south coast. The area was discovered by the Dutch at the turn
of the century and between 1913 and 1931 van Bemmelen (1949) records that
the Bolaang Mongondow area, which includes Lanut, Tobongan and Mintu,
produced 5000 kg of gold and 4000 kg of silver. Since the early 1980s gold has
been exploited from Lanut by several hundred local miners, and in 1984 explo-
ration was started under a joint venture between P T Aneka Tambang, BHP-
EXPLORATION FOR GOLD IN THE VOLCANIC ARCS OF NORTH SULAWESI 121

Utah Sulawesi Inc. and Placer Dome Indonesia Ltd. This programme has in-
volved the drilling of 47 diamond drill holes, and to date a resource of approx-
imately 19 million tonnes of 1.8 g/tonne gold has been delineated.
Within the mineralised area (Fig. 9), two distinct rock units can be defined.
The lower unit includes volcaniclastic sandstone and conglomerate, marine
mudstone, carbonaceous mudstone, limestone, chaotic debris deposits (prob-
ably mainly lahars) and some thin interlayered andesitic lavas. Foraminifera
in mudstone has indicated a late Early Miocene age. The upper unit consists
dominantly of andesitic lavas with some interbedded pyroclastic material. Some
of the lavas contain primary potash feldspar and may be termed trachyandes-
ite. This volcanic section is at least 250 m thick and hosts most of the miner-
alisation identified to date.
Two main alteration stages are recognized. An early phase, interpreted to

SW NE
(M) (M)
500
v" v ~ - v- v v
o vl v. v v, v v v
v. v, v . v v v v
o .v .v v . v
v . v . v . v v
v

450 1 o 1 0 "V'v:vV". v . v v !i~!~.~l


v e v ~ ~ v
450
o v. v vV v V v v v v~.

.~VoV.V - v r v . v . v ~ - v , v. v. v
o o o o o oo o uu v A ' ~ . ~,v ovv . ~ , v . v v . - v v " v . vv '. v . vv '- ~v , vi . v " v v . v . v v
Av v".~ " v. v. v. t .v . v . v . v
o o o o o o . v . v ~..,,~ . v . v - v . v . v - v- v
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
400 o o o o o o o A v . ~
v
v . . . . .
,v
,iv
.v
Av'/.v,l
.v
~
.v
v . ~ . ." . ~.
v ,v v
400
o o o o o o o o iv A v i v Av a v A v l vl vA v
v .v .v "v ,v .v .v v
o o o &v Av AVa, V A V A V t , va V a V
o o o o .v .v -v .v ov *v .v , v
o ray AVA vAv8 v A v
o o o o o o o o "v .v iv -v v.
ray Av
350
350 o oo If! o oO
AIte ration Lithology
Kaolinite, pyrite, marcasite ~ Andesite

~ Illite, pyrite ~ Voicaniclastics

Quartz stockwork

Milled quartz veins

approxim a t e

I
0 50 IOO M

Fig. 9. Simplified geological cross s e c t i o n of the L a n u t deposit.


122 J.C. CARLILE ET AL.

have been produced by dilute alkaline chloride fluids, comprises adularia on


veinlet walls and in immediately adjacent wall rock. This assemblage passes
outward through an illite-pyrite zone into regionally chloritic andesites. The
upper part of the system has an overprint of acid leach alteration of kaolinite,
pyrite and marcasite; sulphides are most strongly developed close to the mi-
neralised zones.
Gold mineralisation is associated with quartz veining of several styles, de-
veloped from multiple events of hydraulic fracturing. Much of the mineralisa-
tion is in quarts veinlets generally forming stockworks, and some of these have
been shattered resulting in mineralisation as veinlet fragments within milled
rock. The richest gold mineralisation occurs in quartz veins up to 1.5 m wide.
In places these veins exhibit evidence of episodes of brecciation recemented by
later generations of quartz.
The distribution of the mineralisation, developed in the basal part of the
upper andesite, suggests that the contact between the lower and upper units
has been a significant control. It appears that the upper unit may have formed
a cap to fluids focussed along faults in the lower units, with lateral flow along
this contact producing brecciated, flat-dipping veins and a stockwork in the
hanging wall. Northwest- and northeast-trending structures apparent on aer-
ial photos may have had an influence in focussing the hydrothermal fluids.

Tobongan, Mintu and Ratatotok


Tobongan and Mintu are located 5 km and 10 km east and east-northeast of
the town of Kotamobagu, and Ratatotok is situated on the south coast. The
three areas were discovered by the Dutch around the turn of the century. Be-
tween 1900 and 1921 Ratatotok produced 5060 kg of gold, and from the early
1980s gold has been exploited by small scale miners operating illegally. From
1984 Tobongan and Mintu have been explored under a joint venture between
PT Aneka Tambang, BHP-Utah Sulawesi Inc. and Placer Dome Indonesia
Ltd. The vicinity of Ratatotok is currently being explored by PT Newmont
Minahasa Raya.
The Tobongan and Mintu prospects are hosted by Miocene andesites, and
at Ratatotok mineralisation occurs in limestone within the andesites. Illite-
pyrite alteration occurs as narrow envelopes up to 1 m wide surrounding the
veins at Mintu and grades outward to chlorite. A similar but more widespread
assemblage occurs at Tobongan and also includes patchy silicification within
the limestone and late coarsely crystalline calcite surrounding the quartz veins.
Gold mineralisation occurs in varying styles of quartz veins and fractures.
At Ratatotok, quartz vein stockworks are in some cases brecciated, and at To-
bongan quartz veins, stockworks and fracture disseminations occur. In both
cases pyrite and base-metal contents are low. The quartz veins at Mintu are
generally in excess of 0.5 m wide and contain moderate amounts of pyrite with
minor chalcopyrite and bornite.
EXPLORATION FOR GOLD IN T H E VOLCANIC ARCS OF NORTH SULAWESI 123

Sangihe region

Taware Ridge
Taware Ridge is located 2 km inland from the south coast of Sangihe. Mi-
neralisation was first discovered in pan concentrates in the Taware drainage
in 1986, and since that time the area has become the focus of a local gold rush
where miners illegally exploit gold from both the rich alluvials and quartz veins
in bedrock. Exploration is ongoing and to date has comprised soil sampling,
mapping, and limited initial drilling of the Taware porphyry copper. This is
currently being explored by a joint venture between Muswellbrook Energy and
Minerals Ltd., Ashton Mining Ltd. and the Tahija Group.
Andesitic volcanics including lapilli tufts and lavas with minor interbedded
sediments are intruded by dioritic stocks in the prospect area. The sequence is
of probable Miocene age and is tentatively correlated with the Miocene vol-
canics of the North Arm. The northern two thirds of the island are covered by
the products of two active volcanoes, Gunung Kakiraeng and Gunung Awu,
which last erupted in 1966. Illite-pyrite alteration occurs in the andesites and
envelopes mineralisation over zones that are approximately twice the width of
veining. Chlorite occurs laterally.
Gold mineralisation occurs in sheeted quartz veins and stockworks associ-
ated with minor pyrite, arsenopyrite, chalcopyrite, galena, sphalerite and sul-
phosalts including pyrargyrite. Northwest-striking faults are well developed in
the prospect area and may have controlled the overall mineralised zone.
Less than 1 km northeast of Taware Ridge, porphyry copper mineralisation
is hosted within a diorite stock and andesitic volcanics. Alteration is generally
weak and biotite-magnetite intersected at depth appears to grade upwards to
sericitic alteration. Pyrite and chalcopyrite occur as disseminations and stringer
zones, and quartz-carbonate veins carry pyrite, chalcopyrite, galena and sphal-
erite. The highest gold grades of up to 1 g/tonne appear to correlate with zones
of high magnetite content.

Binebase
Binebase on the east coast of Sangihe was discovered in early 1988 when
massive gossanous material and barite boulders were observed on the beach.
The prospect has subsequently been opened up by bulldozer trenching and is
being explored under a joint venture between Muswellbrook Energy and Min-
erals Ltd., Ashton Mining Ltd. and the Tahija Group.
Andesitic lapilli tufts and dacites are the main lithologies known in the pros-
pects area, and are of probable Miocene age. Intense silica-pyrite alteration
coincides with extensive zones of brecciation, and powdery acid-leached silica
is also present. An illite-pyrite assemblage occurs lateral to the breccias and
post mineralisation barite veining is strongly developed.
Gold and silver mineralisation occur in hydrothermal breccias associated
TABLE 1

Characteristics of mineralisation in the Marisa, Gorontalo, Minahasa and Sangihe regions (see Fig. 4 for locations, and Figs. 2 and 5 for stratigraphy)

Name Type Host rocks Mineralogy Alteration Controls Geochemical signature

Gunung Pani Epithermal. Low S. Rhyodacitic Qtz-adul. Alb-chl-py Degassing of a dome. Au in streams
Qtz veinlets and volcanics Minor py. NNE and NE faults, and soils
fracture disseminations Au as electrum. Oxidation
Bulagidun Hydrothermal. Andesitic Py-cpy with sph- Bio-mag overprinted Breccia zones. Au, Ag, Cu, Pb, Zn
Sulphide breccias volcanics gal-mo and en. by alb-chl-py Intrusive contact. in streams.
and diorite Free Au E-W fault. Au-Ag-Cu patchy
Oxidation As in soils
Paleleh Hydrothermal. Andesite Qtz,py,cpy,gal, Sericite Breccia zones. Au, Ag, Cu, Pb, Zn
Sulphide breccias and and sph. High Ag, Pb Intrusive contact in streams
qtz veinlets diorite Au mode NNE and NNW
unknown fractures
Motomboto Epithermal. High S. Andesitic Py, en,luz. Vughy silica bodies. Breccia zones. Au-Ag in streams.
Sulphide stringers, volcanics Free Au Si-alun-py grading E-W and NNW faults. Au,Ag,As,Cu,Pb in
veins and breccias and diorite out through argillic Oxidation soils
to chlorite
Bolangitang Epithermal. Low S. Andesitic Qtz with minor Silicification. E-W and NNE faults Au-Ag in streams
Qtz vein stockwork volcanics py. ill-py
and breccias Free Au
Tombulilato Porphyry Cu-Au. Diorites Cpy-py-bo with Bio-mag with alb- Unknown Cu-Au in streams
High Au at depth supergene qtz-chl-py overprint and soils
chalcocite, up to argillic.
Au assoc with Late kaol-alun-
cpy-bo diasp.
Tobongon Epithermal. Low S. Andesitic Qtz with minor Silicification Unknown Au-Ag in streams
x
Qtz veins, stockwork volcanics py. ill-py

and fracture Free Au
disseminations
Qtz-adul. Adul-ill-py grading Impermeable cap. Au-Ag in streams Z
Lanut Epithermal. Low S. Andesitic
outwards to chl. NW and NE faults 0
Qtz veins stockwork, volcanics Py-aspy
fracture disseminations Free Au Kaol-py overprint 0
and breccias
Mintu Epithermal. Low S. Andesitic Qtz with minor Narrow ill-py Unknown Au,Ag,Cu, Pb
Qtz veins volcanics py,cpy,bo. envelope giving way in streams
Free Au to chl-py and chl <
o
Ratatotok Epithermal. Low S. Limestone Qtz with younger Silicification Unknown Au-As in streams >
and soils z
Qtz stockwork and calcite gangue.
breccias Free Au,electrum >

Taware Ridge Epithermal. Low S. Andesitic Qtz with py and Ill-py-qtz NW faults Au-As in soils
0
Sheeted qtz veins volcanics minor aspy, sph, z
and stockwork gal. o
Free An ,-o
Binebase Epithermal. Andesitic Py+Ag Si-py flanked by NW faults Au-Ag-As in soils
High S.? volcanics sulphosalts. ill-py.
Breccia zones Au mode Late-stage barite
unknown veining

Abbreviations
py pyrite mo molybdenite s sulphidation alun alunite alb albite
cpy chalcopyrite bo bornite qtz quartz ill illite chl chlorite
aspy arsenopyrite en enargite si silica (pervasive) kaol kaolinite bio biotite
sph sphalerite lu luzonite adul adularia diasp diaspore mag magnetite
gal galena

O1
126 J.C. CARLILE ET AL.

with intense pyritisation and silver sulphosalts, including tetrahedrite. Galena


and sphalerite are developed marginal to the main breccias which are charac-
terised by oxidation in surface outcrop. Localising controls are uncertain at
present but preliminary VLF-EM results indicate northwest-trending struc-
tures cut the prospects area and correspond to the alignment of the breccias.

Major mineralisation categories

Based on the twelve prospect areas described, and summarised in Table 1,


four broad categories of gold mineralisation are represented in North Sulawesi.

(1) Porphyry copper-gold mineralisation


The mineralisation is dominantly intrusive-hosted, and gold is partitioned
within the system. The highest gold concentration occurs in zones where bio-
tite-magnetite is overprinted by chlorite-albite-sericite-quartz and sulphides.
In these zones chlorite replaces biotite, and pyrite and chalcopyrite replace
magnetite. These features are exemplified by the Tombulilato porphyry cop-
per-gold deposits and similar aspects have been noted during mine visits to
Philex and Dizon in the Philippines. It is suggested that the unusually high
gold concentration in these types of deposit may in part result from desulphi-
dation of mineralising fluids as a consequence of sulphides replacing magnetite.

(2) Sulphide-bearing veins and breccias


Mineralisation is dominantly volcanic-hosted, and follows intrusive con-
tacts. In the copper-gold rich system at Bulagidun, the highest gold concentra-
tion coincides with similar alteration to that present at depth in the Tombu-
lilato porphyries and a comparable concentration mechanism may occur.
Insufficient information is available at present to comment on the lead-silver-
gold mineralisation at Paleleh which is only tentatively assigned to this category.

(3) High-sulphidation epithermal mineralisation


This style of mineralisation (see Hedenquist, 1986) is volcanic-hosted. At
Motomboto gold and silver occur in breccias and veins with a high sulphide
and sulphosalt content. The richest gold mineralisation is associated with in-
tense oxidation of enargite breccias, both at the surface and to depths of at
least 200 m along structures. Mineralisation occurs within an extensive area
of earlier alteration comprising vughy silica bodies, dense grey silicification,
and silica-alunite-pyrite. Alteration grades laterally through a clay zone to re-
gional chlorite alteration. At Binebase (which is tentatively assigned to this
category) an inner silica-pyrite assemblage contains zones of acid-leached sil-
ica and is flanked by illite-pyrite alteration. The main mineralisation occurs
in breccias that have a high sulphide and sulphosalt content, and are charac-
teristically intensely oxidised at the surface.
EXPLORATION FOR GOLD IN THE VOLCANIC ARCS OF NORTH SULAWESI 127

(4) Low-sulphidation epithermal mineralisation


Mineralisation (see Hedenquist, 1986) is dominantly volcanic-hosted. Gold
mineralisation occurs in some combination of quartz veins, breccias, stock-
works, and in fractures, and may be associated with adularia, pyrite, arseno-
pyrite and minor base-metal sulphides. Varying intensities of illite-pyrite-quartz
alteration most commonly coincide with the mineralised zones and generally
grade outwards over metres or tens of metres to regional chloritic alteration.
Gunung Pani, Bolangitang, Lanut, Mintu, Tobongan, Ratatotok and Taware
Ridge are included in this group.

REGIONAL GEOCHEMICALEXPLORATION

Background

The three areas considered here (Fig. 4) from west to east comprise surface
areas of 2800 km 2, 3000 km 2 and 2400 km 2. Topography is rugged, reaching
elevations in excess of 2000 m, and the North Arm is almost entirely covered
by primary rain forest away from urban and rural development areas. Access
inland is slow and mainly on foot, generally following drainages which also
provide the main sampling media, and source of rock float and outcrop.
Two approaches may be taken to regional exploration in such rugged ter-
rains where pre-existing knowledge of geology is limited. The first approach
includes an initial low-density sampling phase taking large stream samples for
treatment by the bulk leach-extractable gold technique. Anomalies thus de-
fined may then be followed up by a second phase of higher density sampling,
with background areas being immediately discarded. The second approach does
not include the initial low-density sampling, but rather goes directly to a high-
density program of stream sediment, pan concentrate, float, and outcrop
sampling.
The second approach was adopted as it was believed to be important that
geologists should access all areas to map and sample rock float simultaneously
with the geochemical survey to give greater geological control in the prioritis-
ation of geochemical anomalies. Surveys of the three blocks (Fig. 4) were com-
pleted within 18 months, to the point where anomaly sources could be defined
to within a few square kilometres.

Methodology

Stream sediments
Samples were collected every 1 km of stream length in major channels and
from most side tributaries to give a sampling density of approximately I sample
for every 1 km 2. Samples were taken from the active drainage channels and
wet sieved to - 6 0 mesh in the field t o g i v e a n o m i n a l 500 g sample. Field
128 J.C. CARLILE ET AL.

I FIELD SAMPLE J
500grns of -60 =/~ material
I
DATA RECORDING

I
I
I

[~ -170"~PSCREENING

- 60-,/P , -'1-BO -~P ~ -BO-~F-, + 170 ~'- J__J -- 170 --~" (FF)
COARSE FRACT ON(CF) I IMEDIUM FRACTION (MF)I IFINE FRACTION
i I r

PULVERISE
I
TO -170-~- ,,I

I
I
BAG SAMPLE AND MARK J
CFp MFt OR FF

I
TO LABORATORY
Au on CF, MF t FF
Ag,Cu, Pb, Zn on MF

Fig. 10. Flow chart showing the sample preparation scheme for stream sediments.

duplicates were taken approximately every tenth site to check the reliability
of the sampling method. Figure 10 outlines the sample processing scheme, by
which three size fractions were analysed for gold, and one for silver, copper,
lead and zinc, in the BHP-Utah Pacific Inc. laboratory in Gorontalo.

Pan concentrates
Samples were collected every 2 km of stream length from trap sites in the
active drainage channel. After screening through a 2-mm sieve, five standard
dishes of material were washed to give a nominal 500-g concentrate and field
duplicates were taken approximately every fifth site. Figure 11 outlines the
sample processing scheme that includes a magnetic separation prior to analysis
EXPLORATION FOR GOLD IN THE VOLCANIC ARCS OF NORTH SULAWESI 129

FIELD SAMPLE
500 gins of - 2 m m m o t e r i o l

] DATA RECORDING [
I SUN DRY [
I DISAGGREGATE ]
I BLEND THOROUGHLY I
250 gins STORED

I SPLIT FOR VISUAL


INSPECTION

Bo -~- SCREENING

+ GO ~ {CF) ~ -80 -,~e (FF)


[COARSE FRACT ON J - - F NE FRACT ON

I rSTORAGEMAGNETIC COMPONENTS]
MAGNETIC SEPARATIONN ANALYSE EVERY IothSAMPLE J

I
I
WEIGH EACH FRACTION

I
I PULVERISE TO-170 @

I
BLEND THOROUGHLY

BAG SAMPLE AND MARK


I I
CF OR FF I
]
TO LABORATORY
AU on CF, FF
Ag,Cu,Pb,Zn on FF

Fig. 11. Flow chart showing the sample preparation scheme for pan concentrates.

of the nonmagmatic component. The magnetic fraction generally comprises


50-75% by weight of the concentrates, and initial orientation analyses as well
as ongoing checks of the magnetic fraction have shown that in this particular
setting it generally contains little or no gold. Gold analyses were carried out
on two fractions, and silver, copper, lead and zinc on one.

Rock float and outcrop


Float and outcrop were examined at every sample site by the geologist while
geochemical sampling was carried out by field assistants. Major rock types
EXPLORATIONFOR GOLDIN THE VOLCANICARCS OF NORTH SULAWESI 131

TABLE 2

Correlation of field duplicates for gold, silver a n d copper in s t r e a m s e d i m e n t s a n d p a n c o n c e n t r a t e s


for Blocks 1, 2 a n d 3

Sample type Element Fraction Correlation coefficient N u m b e r of s a m p l e s

Block 1
P a n concentrate Au + 80 # 0.4089 169
Pan concentrate Au - 80 # 0.7449 166
Pan concentrate Au Weighted average 0.4550 166
Stream sediment Au - 60 + 80 # 0.5500 142
Stream sediment Au - 80 + 170 # 0.6292 142
Stream sediment Au - 170 # 0.7231 141
Stream sediment Au Weighted average 0.7103 141
Stream sediment Ag - 80 + 170 # 0.5560 142
Stream sediment Cu - 80 + 170 # 0.9450 142

Block 2
P a n concentrate Au + 80 # 0.0145 120
Pan concentrate Au - 80 # 0.7384 120
P a n concentrate Au Weighted average 0.2485 120
Stream sediment Au - 60 + 80 # 0.1615 96
Stream sediment Au - 80 + 170 # 0.0805 96
Stream sediment Au - 170 # 0.7277 96
Stream sediment Au Weighted average 0.1469 96
Stream sediment Ag - 80 + 170 # 0.7297 96
Stream sediment Cu - 80 + 170 # 0.9743 96

Block 3
P a n concentrate Au + 80 # 0.6876 102
Pan concentrate Au -80# 0.7835 101
Pan concentrate Au Weighted average 0.8000 101
Stream sediment Au -60+80# 0.9913 81
Stream sediment Au - 8 0 + 170# 0.9248 81
Stream sediment Au - 170 # 0.9992 81
Stream sediment Au Weighted average 0.9834 81
Stream sediment Ag - ~ 0 + 170 # 0.9983 81
Stream sediment Cu - 80 + 170 # 0.9836 81

the values falling below the analytical detection limit (0.06 ppm ). The number
of samples above detection was therefore sufficiently small to allow visual se-
lection of anomalies. Threshold values and class intervals shown in Figures 12,
13 and 14 have been arbitrarily chosen to define degrees of anomalism in each
block. Silver displays a similar pattern with the majority of values below the
limit of detection, and copper shows a straight line plot with a scatter of anom-
alous values at the upper end.
132 J.C. CARLILE ET AL.

Results

Geochemical anomalies defined during regional exploration (Figs. 12, 13 and


14) were grouped according to their coherence and anomalous elements. Many
of these can now also be explained in terms of their source mineralisation,
which is known either from local mining areas or from prospects newly discov-
ered as a direct result of the regional survey.
The western part of Block 1 (Fig. 12 ) shows the highest density and strong-
est discrimination of anomalies in all elements. Geologically, it comprises an-
desitic volcanics and diorite intrusives. It is characterised by highly anomalous
gold in both pan concentrates and stream sediments, and highly anomalous
silver and copper in stream sediments. The well-exposed gold and base-metal
breccias of Bulagidun and Paleleh display this type of anomaly.
In the eastern part of Block 1, anomalous gold in pan concentrates and in
some places moderately anomalous gold in stream sediments coincide with
sporadically anomalous silver, but copper is mostly at background concentra-
tions. Lithologically, the area comprises the volcaniclastic facies of the Mio-
cene arc. Strong silver and moderate copper, although with no anomalous gold,
occurs at one location. To date no anomalous float has been located to account
for any of the anomalies.
In Block 2 (Fig. 13) the clearest coherent gold anomalies in pan concen-
trates and stream sediments occur at Bolangitang, and on the western bound-
ary of the block. Similar but sporadic anomalies also occur in the southern area
and at Buata. The source of the western and southern anomaly is not yet known,
but gold-mineralised quartz veins and stockworks occur at Bolangitang, and
lower-grade quartz veins at Buata. By analogy, the southern and western
anomalies may be derived from a similar type of source mineralisation, as the
geology consists of andesitic volcanics throughout the area.
The overlapping strong gold and copper anomalies at Mongiilo (Fig. 13 ) are
associated with dioritic intrusions, but the exact source is not yet known. A
large area of illite-pyrite alteration appears to explain the weak patchy gold
and copper anomalies at Bayade but no significant gold mineralisation has yet
been discovered despite extensive mapping and sampling.
Tobongon and Lanut in Block 3 (Fig. 14) are characterised by strong gold
anomalies in pan concentrates and stream sediments and by moderate or strong
silver in stream sediments. Local mining activities in both areas have increased
the amount of erosion and input of sediment into the drainages and, therefore,
the anomalies detected may be expected to be a maximum for similarly exposed
quartz vein mineralisation of this low-sulphidation type. The anomalous dis-
persion train for gold at Tobongon is approximately 7 km before it is diluted
by the main stream, and at Lanut less than 5 km in pan concentrates, and 10
km in stream sediments.
At Mintu and Doup where gold occurs in quartz veins associated with minor
EXPLORATION FOR GOLD IN THE VOLCANIC ARCS OF NORTH SULAWESI 133

Au I N - 8 0 # PAN CONCENTRATES
> 9.00 ppm
0.31 - 9.00 ppm

Au IN -170~STREAM SEDIMENTS
> 1.22 pprn
0.19-1.22 pprn

Ag IN - 80#~ *170~ STREAM SEDIMENTS


> 1.10 ppm
035 - 1.10pprn

Cu IN-80~,*I70~STREAM SEDIMENTS
> 214 ppm j
114 - 214ppm ~i ~ Well explored prospect
Prospect with limited
exploration

-- I
0 40 80 KM

Fig. 12. Drainage geochemistry maps for Block 1, North Sulawesi.

base metals, local miners are also active. The base-metal content is detected
by copper, and silver is also anomalous in streams. The gold dispersion train
at Mintu is around 7 km, but much less at Doup, due both to limited drainage
exposure and dilution on the coastal plain.
4~

Au IN - 8 0 # P A N C O N C E N T R A T E S Au IN -170# ~ STREAM SEDIMENTS


> &O0 ppm > 0.82 ppm
O.20-$.00ppm 0.20 -0.82 ppm

Ag IN-80#~*ITO~STREAM SEDIMENTS Cu IN-80#,*ITO#STREAM SEDIMENTS


> 0.85 ppm l > 171 ppm
0.28 - 0.85 ppm ~_ 68-171 ppm

x Principol town
Well known prospect
I
Prospect with limited explorotion
o 2o 40 KM
~o

Fig. 13. Drainage geochemistry maps for Block 2, North Sulawesi.


I
. , ~ RATAITOTOK " ' [ RATATOTOK

,~ I Kotomobogu ~ > -.'~


...~:~ .~ ~ X MINTU ~ : ~ r - ~ ~

,.,o~ ~ ~"~'-~,V-" o

" ~_~TANOYAN p

. - " % :L "~_~'AuIN -80#:PAN CONCENTRATES - ~ " e,~kAuIN-I?O#STREAM SEDIMENTS


\'-~','~ ~ > 2.,Oppm -'~ ~ > 1.3lppm
~.~'~" ~ 0.06 - 2.I0 ppm ~ o.06-1.31 ppm

-~ ~ - ~:" I RATAeTOTOK 0
~-~ .~. "~ I RATATOTOK
. ..... -

~.~ :- .... - ~ g , = : : , .

"" < ', Kotornobogu T" ?> .p ( O


:._~ ~ ~ X 'MINTU ~
..... ~ /. ".": TOBONGON ~ .... /
MONSI\.; :' 0 /'
=,
TAr~eYAN ,~(... . . X Principo town
- ~/TANOYAN f~

~ >;~'~"" -~ CuIN- 80#,* I'A:)#


/ , ~ STREAM SEDIMENTS ~- ~ ' "~J - ~ STREAM SEDIMENTS
~ > 4.17 ppm
~qJ-~ ~ ~0.08 4.17ppm ~ ~ ~58-117ppm
~ ~

i
i
J_
r
~o .O KM ,O
,TI
~ig. 14. Drainage geochemistry maps for Block 3, North Sulawesi.
136 J.C. CARLILE ET AL.

Gold-bearing quartz stockworks, discovered by local miners at Tanoyan


(Block 3, Fig. 14) subsequent to this survey, display only weakly anomalous
expressions in gold and silver. The gold dispersion train is, however, around
10 km long in both pan concentrates and stream sediments, and coincides with
silver. This anomaly is indicative of what can be expected from this style of
mineralisation exposed through natural erosion by small streams.
A strong copper anomaly on the south coast (Fig. 14) coincides with weak
silver and patchy weak gold. The source is as yet unknown, but dioritic intru-
sives occur in the area.

Target characterization by soil surveys

Porphyry copper mineralisation,containing relativelyhigh gold concentra-


tions, and epithermal gold mineralisation may occur in adjacent areas,and on
Sangihe the now known gold-mineralised quartz veins and stockworks of Ta-

TAWARE PORPHYRY

KELAPA ANOMALY
O
@

TAWARE

; ,5o 3~ m
Au SOIL GEOCHEMISTRY

+ 1.0 ppm Au
o~ ~ , n A u
Mineral Prospect

Fig. 15. G o l d in soils f r o m t h e T a w a r e area, S a n g i h e Island.


EXPLORATION FOR GOLD IN T H E VOLCANIC ARCS OF NORTH SULAWESI 137

PORPHYRY KELAPAA ~ ~ Y

TAWARERID
o 150 300m

Cu SOL GEOCHEMISTRY As SOILGEOCHEMISTRY


~ 150 ppmCu @ 300 ppmAs
C~') 100 ppmCu ~ 200 ppmAs

Fig. 16. Copperand arsenic in soils from the Taware area, San~ ihe Island.

ware Ridge are only 600 m from a mineralised porphyry system. As outcrop
was very poor, and trenching or pitting was impossible due to local agriculture,
housing, and alluvial mining activities, grid-soil augering of weathered bedrock
at 50-m centres was undertaken.
Gold in soils (Fig. 15) is highly anomalous in three major zones of similar
magnitude, shape and surface area. However, copper and arsenic anomalies
(Fig. 16) show contrasting distributions. Moderate copper values (up to 150
ppm) coincide with the northern gold anomaly and the combination is char-
acteristic of a subcropping, supergene, leached porphyry copper deposit. Ar-
senic anomalies do not overlap the northern gold-copper anomaly, but do co-
incide with the southeast and southwest gold areas. Follow up has shown that
the southwest gold-arsenic zone overlies gold-mineralised quartz veins on Ta-
ware Ridge, and an area of gold-bearing epithermal quartz vein float occurs
within the Kalapa anomaly. Porphyry copper mineralisation has been con-
firmed by drilling in the area of the northern gold-copper anomaly.
The Tombulilato porphyries display similar copper-gold anomalies, and may
138 J.C. CARLILE ET AL.

also be distinguished from the nearby high-sulphidation epithermal mineral-


isation at Motomboto by simple soil geochemistry. Motomboto is anomalous
in gold and copper, but also highly anomalous in silver and arsenic in soils
which are not associated with the porphyries.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

The North Arm of Sulawesi and Sangihe Arc includes four main regions that
are defined in terms of structure and lithology. The Marisa region contains
quartzo-feldspathic basement and volcanics thought to have formed in an en-
sialic or continental edge environment. The Gorontalo, Minahasa and Sangihe
regions are underlain by basaltic marine basement, with volcanics and intru-
sives of intermediate composition comprising andesites and diorites. These
regions were formed in an ensimatic or oceanic island-arc environment.
Three main episodes of volcanism separated by periods of uplift and erosion
have occurred as the present Sulawesi landmass emerged. Andesitic volcanism
and intrusive activity of probably Miocene age appear to have been centred in
the Gorontalo and west Minahasa regions with volcaniclastic and clastic sed-
imentary facies equivalents preserved to the east and west.
Dominantly sub-aerial, explosive pyroclastic volcanism of probable Plio-
Pleistocene age is either less well developed or poorly preserved, but was centred
further to the east in the Minahasa region and its products infilled topographic
lows developed in the Miocene rocks.
The youngest phase of volcanism of Quarternary to Recent age is centred
still further to the east in the eastern Minahasa and Sangihe regions. Volcanic
structures are clearly preserved and many are still active.
Due to its complex evolution in the convergence zone of three major crustal
plates, structures in the North Arm are complex. Strong northwest-trending,
right-lateral strike-slip faults have displaced the coastlines and a scissor-type
tilting has occurred on many of these. Strong east-west normal faults have
produced a series of horst-related mountain ranges and graben valleys that are
particularly notable in the Gorontalo and western Minahasa regions. The rel-
ative uplift or downdrop related to these two types of structures has undoubt-
edly had a significant effect on the amount of erosion or preservation of the
volcanics, and has also therefore controlled exposure levels and the degree of
preservation or destruction of mineralisation. The presence of porphyries and
hydrothermal base-metal breccias at Tombulilato and Bulagidun contrast with
the lack of porphyries and occurrence of high-level epithermal mineralisation
in the Minahasa region, and may reflect differing erosion levels controlled by
these faults.
At this stage it is possible to recognise four primary categories of gold mi-
neralisation in North Sulawesi; gold partitioned in porphyry copper deposits,
gold hosted by hydrothermal sulphide-bearing veins and breccias near to in-
EXPLORATION FOR GOLD IN THE VOLCANIC ARCS OF NORTH SULAWESI 139

trusion contracts and gold in high- and low-sulphidation epithermal systems.


Geographical distribution of the mineralisation types overlaps, and recogni-
tion of their differing characteristics is important at an early stage if priorities
are to be set on exploration targets.
Regional exploration using a high sampling density and including stream
sediment, pan concentrate and float sample media can detect and characterise
all the mentioned mineralisation styles. A very limited number of elements is
sufficient and should include gold, silver, copper and arsenic.
Comparative fractional analyses for gold has shown that in both stream sed-
iments and pan concentrates the finer fractions return higher and more re-
peatable results. By sampling the fine sediment fractions with high sampling
density, uncertainty associated with the nuggety nature of gold can be reduced
to a level where individual results are both repeatable and their concentration
values directly comparable throughout the survey areas.
It is possible to interpret the differing types of stream anomaly in terms of
their known source areas and therefore drainage geochemistry may be used to
predict the type of mineralisation that can be expected from comparison with
similar anomalies occurring elsewhere. Strong coherent gold, silver and copper
anomalies characterise the gold-bearing hydrothermal breccias and distin-
guish them from epithermal mineralisation. Gold-bearing quartz vein systems
of the low-sulphidation type, where disturbed by local mining activities, are
highly anomalous in gold, both in pan concentrates and stream sediments, and
produce dispersion trains of between 5 and 10 km. Silver is also anomalous,
and any associated base metals are reflected in low-level copper anomalies.
Where similar mineralisation is undisturbed by mining activities, or less ex-
posed to drainages, dispersion trains are of similar length but anomalies are
weaker.
Float mapping and sampling during stream sediment surveys is a powerful
tool giving geological control that can assist in characterising anomalies. If
more than one type of mineralisation is present in a drainage, this should be
detected during float examination.
Where porphyry copper and epithermal gold mineralisation of either high-
or low-sulphidation character occur in adjacent areas where outcrop is poor,
soil surveys can be used to distinguish between the systems. The porphyry
copper deposits are characterised by anomalous in gold and arsenic. High-sul-
phidation mineralisation (e.g., Motomboto) is likely to display highly anom-
alous gold copper and arsenic in soils. At Motomboto this discriminates the
high-sulphidation mineralisation from adjacent arsenic-poor porphyry.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

During preparation of this paper many useful discussions have been held
with Mick Andrews, Andrew Mitchell and Graham Kirkegaard and their help
is gratefully acknowledged. Noel White, Jeff Hedenquist and John Dow are
140 J.C. CARLILEET AL.

thanked for their constructive review of the manuscript. Much of the data was
obtained from internal reports made available by PT Aneka Tambang, BHP-
Utah Minerals International, Placer Dome Indonesia Ltd., and Muswellbrook
Energy and Minerals. Permission to publish the data, and support given by
management is also gratefully acknowledged. The draft manuscript was pre-
pared by Mrs. Neneng Soeria and Miss Linda Deswert and diagrams by Ach-
mad Rahiman and Popo.

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