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Open-File Report 2013–1179

Prepared in cooperation with the Afghan Geological Survey under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations

Reconnaissance Investigation of the Placer Gold Deposits in the Zarkashan Area of Interest, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan

By Katherine C. Malpeli, Peter G. Chirico, and Isabel H. McLoughlin

USGS Afghanistan Project Product No. 185

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (10.4 MB)Abstract

This study is a reconnaissance investigation of the placer gold deposits in the Zarkashan Area of Interest (AOI) in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. Detailed investigations of the Zarkashan gold deposits were conducted by Soviet and Afghan geologists in the 1960s and 1970s, prior to the development of satellite-based remote-sensing platforms and new methods of geomorphic mapping. The purpose of this study was to integrate new mapping techniques with previously collected concentration and borehole sampling data and geomorphologic interpretations to reassess the placer gold deposits in the Zarkashan AOI. A methodology combining the collection and analysis of historical sampling data, digital database development, hydrologic analysis, and geomorphic modeling was used.

The analysis led to the reinterpretation of four gold-bearing seams along the Zarkashan River, and the calculation of an estimated gold reserve of approximately 3,000 kilograms (kg). This estimate is approximately 1,500 kg greater than the Soviet estimate. The result differs in large part due to the reinterpretation of the seams based on a much lower cutoff grade of 100 mg/m3. Because cutoff grade is dependent in part on the price of gold, the sevenfold increase in the price of gold since the undertaking of the Soviet investigation warranted our re-evaluation of their 500 mg/m3 cutoff grade.

First posted August 23, 2013

For additional information contact:
Peter G. Chirico

or

Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
MS 926A National Center
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20192
Telephone: 703-648-6915

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Suggested citation:

Malpeli, K.C., Chirico, P.G., and McLoughlin, I.H., 2013, Reconnaissance investigation of the placer gold deposits in the Zarkashan Area of Interest, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013–1179, 12 p., http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2013/1179.



Contents

Introduction

Study Area

Geology

Previous Investigations

Methodology

Results

Conclusion

References Cited


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