Over the course of mining history, great progress has been made in the way materials are extracted from the earth. Compact, heavy-duty equipment has increased efficiency and cost-effectiveness while helping to reduce waste and harmful chemicals. Tin mining dates back to the Bronze Age when it was used in a copper-tin alloy to form the metal known as bronze. Since then, the industry has come a long way to develop the current tin mining process and production levels of today.   tin mining and processing

The Basics on Tin Mining and Processing

From toothpaste to window glass to wiring, tin remains an important material in our world. Past and present uses demonstrate the importance of the tin mining process.  

What is Tin Used For

  Past Uses
  • Tinplating
  • Tin foil
  • Collapsible tin tubes
  • Weaponry
  Current Uses
  • Organ pipes
  • Window glass production
  • Alloyed for bronze and pewter production
  • Solder
  • Superconductive wire
  • Electrically conductive coatings for frost-free windshields and panel lighting
 

Tin Compounds are Found in:

  • Electronics
  • Cement
  • Specialized glass
  • Fire retardants
  • Plastics
  • Bakeware
  • Coatings and ceramics coloring agents
 

Where is Tin Found

The tin mineral casseterite is mainly found in Southeastern Asia countries, such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Bolivia and Nigeria. Bolivia’s Huanuni Tin Mine was discovered by accident and was the world’s largest underground mine for tin from the late 1940s through the end of the 20th century. Still today, thousands of miners in Bolivia go underground on a daily basis. Although the aforementioned tin mining sources are also major producers in the tin industry, other countries produce on a smaller scale from deposits found in Australia, Canada, England, Spain and Japan.  

Tin Mining Process

Tin is extracted by roasting the mineral casseterite with carbon in a furnace to approximately 2500 degrees Fahrenheit. The next step involves leaching with acid or water solutions to remove impurities. Electrostatic or magnetic separation helps to remove any heavy metal impurities. Compared to the processes used in the past, today’s advanced technology allows the industry to produce 10 times more tin. General Kinematics’ vibratory equipment innovation has made them a leader in the production of mining equipment for more than 45 years. A great many of the challenges faced by miners can be solved with the use of top quality vibratory equipment. With a proven track record in 35 countries, General Kinematics is making their mark on the future of tin mining.   See our complete mining series: [photo via]
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  • Amy Donahue

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