Gold Deposits in Chile

José Cabello


A review of gold and gold bearing base metals deposits in Chile, indicate the existence of at least six different type of ore deposits, most largely formed during the Cenozoic with predominance in the Miocene. Mesozoic deposits are common but less relevant regarding their size and gold content. These hydrothermal ore deposits are genetically associated with subduction related Andean arc magmatism. Due to its relationship with episodic magmatism migrating eastward, there is a tendency for the deposits to be in distinct, north-south trending, belts with a progressive west to east decrease in mineralization age. After analysing 82 cases in total, main gold concentration can be assigned to high-sulfidation epithermal and porphyry type deposits. Low-sulfidation epithermal, IOCG and mesothermal type appears as less relevant. Gold bearing copper deposits constitute an important part of Chile’s total gold production. Both IOCG type but especially porphyry copper deposits are and will remain as a substantial source to supplement the future output of the gold in the country. The 82 deposits with their tonnage and grade studied, represent a total gold content of 11,662 t equivalent to 375 Moz, excluding past production for those exploited. A number of probable gold bearing base metals high tonnage deposits (IOCG and porphyry copper) do not include their gold content in public format, hence the number delivered could be estimated conservative. Methodical geochronological, ore types and zonation studies are required to better appreciate this metallogenic setting widening current understanding and future exploration results.


Andean magmatism; Gold deposits belts; Ore deposit type; Tonnage and grade

How to cite this article Cabello, J. 2021, Gold Deposits in Chile. Andean Geology 48 (1): 1-23. [doi:]