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DIVISION OF GEOLOGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES

Tin

Tin mines and prospects in Virginia

Tin is a soft, malleable, bluish-white heavy metal with the chemical symbol Sn.  Ancient metalsmiths discovered that adding tin to copper yielded bronze, which was easier to cast, more workable, and held an edge better than copper.  It has excellent alloying abilities, and is widely used in electrical applications, plating of cans and other containers, and in agricultural chemicals.

Year of first production in Virginia: 1884
Location of first production in Virginia: Irish Creek, Rockbridge County
Year of last production in Virginia: 1919
Location of last production in Virginia: Irish Creek, Rockbridge County
Total cumulative production in Virginia: over 35,000 pounds
Current annual production in Virginia: none

Tin has been mined from a small area in eastern Rockbridge County, along the west flank of the Blue Ridge mountains, in the Blue Ridge Province.  In this area, the tin mineral, cassiterite (SnO2), occurs with quartz in veins cutting Proterozoic basement gneisses.

Selected References: Ferguson, H. G., 1918, Tin deposits near Irish Creek, Virginia: Virginia Geological Survey Bulletin XV-A, 19 p.

Good, R. S., 1991, Gold mineralization, and tin, base metals, and thorium anomalies at Yankee Horse Ridge, Irish Creek tin area, Rockbridge County, Virginia: Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 112, 41 p.