Of minerals containing this element mention may be made of cassiterite or tinstone, Sn02, tin pyrites, Cu 4 SnS 4 + (Fe,Zn) 2 SnS 4; the metal also occurs in some epidotes, and in company with columbium, tantalum and other metals.
Of these "tinstone" is of the greatest commercial importance.
Throughout the world, primary deposits of tinstone are in or closely connected with granite or acid eruptive rocks of the same type, its mineral associates being tourmaline, fluorspar, topaz, wolfram and arsenical pyrites, and the invariable gangue being quartz: the only exception to this mode of occurrence is to be found in Bolivia, where the tin ore occurs intimately associated with silver ores, bismuth ores and various sulphides, whilst the gangue includes barytes and certain carbonates.
The first stage has for its purpose the production of a fairly pure tinstone; the second the conversion of the oxide into metallic tin; and the third preparing a tin pure enough for commercial purposes.
The alluvial extracted, which in the Malay Peninsula and Archipelago carries from 5 to 60 lb of tinstone (or "black tin," as it is termed by Cornish miners) to the cubic yard of gravel, is washed in various simple sluicing appliances, by which the lighter clay, sand and stones are removed and tinstone is left behind comparatively pure, containing usually 65 to 75% of metallic tin (chemically pure tinstone contains 78.7%).
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