Inca Huasi Mine

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Inca Huasi Mine

This image has been released to the public domain and may be used freely.

Inca Huasi Gold Mine, Salar del Hombre Muerto, Antofagasta de la Sierra Department, Province of Catamarca, Argentina.
Mining activity at Inca Huasi dates back to the pre-Hispanic and Jesuit periods, with modern mining techniques first used at the Inca Huasi mine from 1936 to 1954. During this period, a new Company Minera Incahuasi conducted a 40 tons per day operation exploiting a series of high-grade quartz veins, reportedly ranging from 9.8 g/t to 43 g/t gold, on six underground levels. High-grade gold values up to 300 g/t gold are reported from quartz veins within the deposit. Mining ceased at a depth of 130 meters in ore grade rocks, not due to a lack of gold bearing veins, but rather due to flooding which inhibited further mining efforts. At present is abandoned.

Incahuasi District
In the Incahuasi Sierra, Southern Puna, near Salar del Hombre Muerto, in the province of Catamarca, it is located an auriferous ore deposit with veins that was exploited by the indian natives (Incas) and Jesuits and, in an active form, between 1936 and 1954. It is considered a total production lower than 2.000 kg of gold, starting from high grade auriferous ore, higher than 20 g/t.
The ore deposit is of the banded type, with quartz veins and veinlets with gold and minor pyrite, arsenopyrite and chalcopyrite. The mineralized structures are emplaced in a pelitic and grauwackic sequence of Falda Ciénaga Formation. The sequence suffered alterations in its composition and texture, due to metamorphic diagenetic and hydrothermal processes. The area is affected by faults and fractures in two preferential systems: a north-south one and another one NE-SW. The deposit is associated with the N-S faulting that would have affected the Ordovician sequence during the Ocloyic Phase. The gold bearing quartz veins show lengths of some hundreds meters and thickness of few centimeters up to three meters. In general plunging to the east, with values higher than 45º.
It is considered that the gold source is related to the ordovician magmatism. It is considered that the regional metamorphism and the tectonic deformation facilitated the generation and migration of hydrothermal fluids bearing gold that gave as a result the formation of the deposits during the Upper Ordovician.

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