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Tin

Chalcopyrite

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Cassiterite (SnO2)

cassiterite mineral specimen

Cassiterite gets its name from the Greek word for ‘tin’. 

It is found in very few countries around the world. Tin ore is much rarer than other ores like copper (chalcopyrite) or iron (haematite). Cassiterite can be identified by its colour, its hardness and crystal shape.    Cassiterite forms in veins or lodes which can then be mined within in granite and surrounding rock. Because of its hardness, Cassiterite survives weathering and so can be washed into alluvial deposits found in river beds. 

Most of the world’s tin is now produced by Malaysia, Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, Bolivia, and Australia.  Cornwall was the world’s largest producer of Tin up until the 1870s.

 

Data Panel: Tin Ore: Cassiterite

SnO2 Tin oxide
colour
Black
hardness
6-7
Crystal system
Tetragonal
Crystal habit
Pyramids or prisms
Lustre
Adamantine or greasy
Streak
White
Fracture
Irregular
Other characteristics
 

View this mineral in 3D

 

 Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of Pat Comber

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Comment left by Polo on 2011-09-08 23:10:25

Trends in global tin production have changed significantly since the 1985 tin crisis. In 2009 statistics for the world’s major tin producing countries is estimated as China (44%), Indonesia (21%), Peru (14%), Bolivia (7%), Brazil (5%) and Dem Rep of Congo (4%).

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