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Tin is mainly found in cassiterite (SnO2) and, to a lesser extent, in accessory minerals such as ixiolite ((Ta, Nb, Sn, Mn2+, Fe2+)O2).

Cassiterite is one of the main minerals to be obtained at the Penouta Mine. This mineral is associated with a highly evolved albitic leucogranite and a greisen, the latter being found both in the granite/metamorphic rock contact and in the metamorphic rock far from this contact zone.

In the case of cassiterite from granite, its grain size tends to increase toward the apex, where crystals of various centimeters in size and very well crystallized are found, in the greisenized metamorphic material and quartz veins, further coinciding with the highest tin grades.

It is also the main mineral in the pegmatite dikes of the Alberta II Research Permit, generally associated with columbo-tantalite. In this case, exhaustive research is being conducted to make a better characterization of these products.

Chemistry of the cassiterite at the Penouta Mine

Cassiterite of the Penouta mine is compositionally rather homogeneous, its greatest component being Sn (92-100% in weight). Other elements like Ta and Nb, and to a lesser extent Fe and Mn, show compositional variation, even though the average values are relatively low. Optical zonations have been occasionally identified that are related to Fe, Sn, Nb and Ta compositional variations.

This chemical composition corresponds with magmatic cassiterites, so the source of the Sn is linked to the granitic melt. However, the Sn at the Penouta Mine is also linked to hydrothermal fluids that were mobilized through fractures, transforming the metamorphic host rock into a greisen.

Obtaining Sn from Cassiterite

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Sn Applications

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