Characterization and identification of Au pathfinder minerals from an artisanal mine site using X-ray diffraction
Gold-associated pathfinder minerals have been investigated by identifying host minerals of Au for samples collected from an artisanal mining site near a potential gold mine (Kubi Gold Project) in Dunkwa-On-Offin in the central region of Ghana. We find that for each composition of Au powder (impure) and the residual black hematite/magnetite sand that remains after gold panning, there is a unique set of associated diverse indicator minerals. These indicator minerals are identified as SiO2 (quartz), Fe3O4 (magnetite), and Fe2O3 (hematite), while contributions from pyrite, arsenopyrites, iridosmine, scheelite, tetradymite, garnet, gypsum, and other sulfate materials are insignificant. This constitutes a confirmative identification of Au pathfinding minerals in this particular mineralogical area. The findings suggest that X-ray diffraction could also be applied in other mineralogical sites to aid in identifying indicator minerals of Au and the location of ore bodies at reduced environmental and exploration costs.