Q:

How is tin mined?

A:

The majority of tin is mined using bucket-line dredging. In this mining method, an endless chain of buckets transports the soil that contains the tin from the excavation site to the area where it is washed and roughly concentrated.

Following the first washing, the concentrate is run through a jig or a shaking table where it is washed to separate the heavy minerals from the lighter minerals. This achieves a 70 percent concentration of tin in the final concentrate. This final concentrate is then reduced to a higher concentration of tin when it is heated in a furnace to a temperature of 1,300 C in a process called smelting. The tin is then transported to a refinery where it is heated above its melting point to remove any impurities from the final product.

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