The 1.5 km-large hydrothermal system of Balya is characterized by three alteration styles which from the outer halo towards the center are: (i) propylitic alteration with the hydrothermal mineral assemblage of calcite-daphnite-albite-epidote-quartz-pyrite; (ii) argillic/phyllic alteration with the hydrothermal mineral assemblage of sericite/muscovite-kaolinite-rutile-quartz +/- pyrite; (iii) advanced argillic alteration with the hydrothermal mineral assemblage of alunite-jarosite-kaolinite-quartz-sericite +/- pyrite. Hornblende andesite is the protolith of the hydrothermal alteration system. Enrichment in Si, Sb and Rb, and depletion in Na, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, P, Ba, Sr, and Zn distinguishes the argillic/phyllic and advanced alteration types from propylitic alteration and the unaltered hornblende andesite protolith. REE distribution patterns indicate an essentially immobile behaviour of REEs during the alteration cycle. K-Ar age data for unaltered and hydrothermally altered rocks define a synchronous age of 25.3 +/- 1.2 Ma for both igneous and hydrothermal activity.