Use and Abuse of Selective Extraction

Seminar by: Barry W. Smee , Ph.D., P.Geo.

Partial, selective or cold chemical extractions have recently been employed as geochemical tools that have been given the powers to detect mineral deposits through varying thicknesses of overburden. These analytical extractions are thought to be breakthrough technology. This seminar reminds the participants of the history of geochemical exploration in the western world and Australia, and reviews the development of these methods.

The seminar presents a portion of the results of a test of selective extraction methods carried out over two buried epithermal gold deposits in Nevada. One deposit is overlain by about 30 m of alluvial overburden, and the other by >100 m. A variety of selective extractions were tested, as well as aqua regia soluble cations. An ion transport model that incorporates the results from this orientation and many of the observations of others, attempts to explain the formation of these selective extraction patterns. Recommendations as to the most viable methods to use in different environments are given.

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