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Wadi Allaqi Overview

Geology

The geology of the Wadi Allaqi region comprises the most southerly segment of the late Precambrian Arabian Shield within Egypt. It contains a northwest and west-trending thrust belt of metasedimentary and metavolcanics schist, ophiolitic nappes and gabbro/granite complexes which are unconformably overlain by Nubia Group sandstones of upper Cretaceous age. Metasedimentary units are interleaved with serpentinite-talc nappes, which propagate through the volcanics/volcaniclastic units. The ophiolitic serpentinites are tectonically altered to ankerite-silica-talc magnesian schist and calcite-brucite marbles along the strike. These lower to upper greenschist facies assemblages are intruded by a suite of magmatic and subvolcanic units ranging from layered ultramafic-mafic sills to gabbro-tonalite-granodiorite- monzogranite-felsite-rhyolite plutons. A swarm of basic and intermediate dykes infill tensional fractures in the oval shaped post-tectonic granites. Occurrences of trachyte and syenite plugs and trachytic pipes are located in the region and are possibly of Cretaceous age. Generally, the area is mainly built up of two folded volcanic belts separated by ophiolitic tectonic mélange belt.

Gold mineralisation

Wadi Allaqi district contains a number gold occurrences and deposits. The gold mineralisation occurs within quartz veins and veinlets within brittle-ductile shear zones concordant with the general northwest tectonic trend in the area. The steep dip of the veins and the hardness of the host rocks presented technical mining challenges to the ancients. The exposed parts of the veins were easily removed but continued exploitation required going underground. This was done in one of two ways; either by following the shoot down plunge or by digging an adit below the level of the vein intersecting the vein at different levels. The ancients panned powdered quartz samples taken from the vein to identify the ore zones.

Nickel-Copper Mineralisation

Copper at Abu Swayel was mined by the ancient Egyptians during the Twelfth Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom (1991-1786 BC) from shallow open cut workings which can be traced over a length of 180m.

The mineralised host unit is an elongated, lenticular amphibolite body which can be traced for some 500m along a northwest-southeast strike and enclosed by a garnet-mica schist. Copper-nickel mineralisation occurs both in the amphibolite body and in enclosing host. The mineralisation contains chalcopyrite, pyrite, nickel-bearing violarite, and ilmenite. The relict textures of the pyrite and the violarite show the primary ores to be pyrrhotite, pentlandite and chalcopyrite. The drilling intersected a persistent, apparently stratiform, sulphide-bearing zone of variable thickness, that hosts the mineralised amphibolite body.

Wadi Allaqi location

Wadi Allaqi gold, copper, nickel occurrences

Shashoba drilling

Seiga RC drilling