Q:

Where does tin come from?

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Quick Answer

Today, most tin comes from southeast Asia and countries such as China, Indonesia, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia. Although tin was mined in England and the United States at one point in history, most tin is now found in the southern hemisphere, as there are no remaining substantial deposits in the northern hemisphere. Most countries in this region import tin from other countries, according to the Minerals Education Coalition.

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Full Answer

Tin is a rather rare mineral. According to the US Geological Survey, tin is the Earth's 49th most abundant material that occurs naturally. Tin can be found in the Earth's rocky crust at a concentration of approximately 2 grams per ton of rock, making tin quite rare.

Tin does not come out of the ground ready to use. Rather, it is smelted from a raw material called cassiterite. The process involves grounding the mineral down into powder form and heating it with carbon and limestone. During this process, molten tin collects at the bottom of the surface and is poured into molds where it cools and becomes solid again. Tin is most commonly shaped into solid blocks called ingots that are then shipped out to be used for various purposes in the industrial and manufacturing industries.

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