Tin deposits have, as their economically most important component, one of the two exploitable tin minerals, cassiterite (tinstone, SnO2) or stannin (tin pyrites, Cu2FeSnS4). All tin deposits are formed by magmatism in the area of subduction zones. Today, tin is mainly extracted from three types of deposits:
However, tin is also economically relevant as a minor constituent in volcanic-associated massive sulfide (VMS) deposits deposits.
Tin (Sn) is a chemical element and a metal, more precisely a heavy metal. It is shiny silvery-white and very soft; it can be scratched with a fingernail. Originally, it was used as an admixture to copper to produce the alloy bronze. The metallurgical processing of tin began somewhat later than that of copper. The oldest dated alloy of tin bronze was found in Pločnik in Serbia and dated to about 4650 BC. Until the 19th century, it was mainly used to make tableware.
Annual world consumption of tin today is about 300,000t. Of this, 35% is used for solders, 30% for tinplate and 30% for chemicals and pigments. The three largest producers are China, Indonesia and Myanmar. Currently, more than 60% of the world's tin production comes from the tin belt of Southeast Asia. The three largest consumers are the USA, Japan and Germany.