Base metal exploration in Sabah

Author : David T.C. Lee & H.S. Weber
Publication : Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia
Page : 405-419
Volume Number : 19
Year : 1986

Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia, Volume 19, April 1986, pp. 405 – 419

Base metal exploration in Sabah


Geological Survey of Malaysia, Locked Bag Service, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.


Abstract: A programme for base metal exploration is being carried since late 1980 in selected parts of Sabah by the Geological Survey with assistance from the Federal Institute of Geosciences and Natural Resources of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Joint project activities started with the screening and re-assessment of existing prospecting data and a multi-element re-analysis of about 30,000 drainage, base-of-slope and soil samples from earlier reconnaissance prospecting campaigns covering a total of about 9,500 sq. km. of Sabah territory.

This first phase led to the delineation of several target areas warranting further investigation at different working stages.

In anticipation of particular model types of mineralization likely to occur within the given range of geological environments prevailing in the country special emphasis was given to the investigation of 

(i) base metals drainage anomalies in areas with widespread manifestation of Late Tertiary acidic intrusive/sub-volcanic activity to the east and south of Mount Kinabalu.

(ii) lead-zinc anomalies related to acidic volcanics and volcaniclastic series of the Late Tertiary to Quaternary calc-alkaline volcanic belt of Semporna Peninsula, and

(iii) copper-zinc anomalies related to the pillow-lava stage of the Late Cretaceous to Early Tertiary ophiolite assemblages in Central Sabah. 

The follow-up investigations carried out from 1981 to 1983 resulted in the detection of widespread cross-cutting and fissure-filling stockwork mineralization of galena, sphalerite and chalcopyrite related to the waning stages of the Pliocene felsic volcanism of Gunung Wullersdorf/Semporna Peninsula and led to the discovery of Cyprus-type massive sulphide occurrences related to basaltic pillow-lavas and associated volcano-sedimentary sequences of the Chert-Spilite Formation in the Bidu-Bidu Hills/NE Sabah.

Whereas Gunung Wullersdorf area was considered to offer little prospects for economic base metals concentrations and prospecting work was halted in early 1983, exploration in the Bidu-Bidu Hills comprising in particular pulse-electromagnetic surveys and shallow diamond drilling by portable Winkie drill are being continued.