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SCIENTIA SINICA Vol. XIE, No.3, 1963 GEOLOGY A STUDY OF THE TIN DEPOSITS IN CHINA* C. Y, Haves (seas) (Acaemy of Geological Sciences, Ministry of Geology) I. Iyrropucrion ‘The use of tin in China dates back to very remote times. Historical records show that in the ancient time our production of tin was centred round the four provinces Yunnan, Kwangtung, Kwangsi, and Hunan, among which the famous Kokiu tin mine of Yunnan held the foremost place with an annual output amounting to more than 60% of the nation’s total. Since the liberation the prospecting and mining of tin has made as great a progress as ensure China to become one of the leading countries both in tin reserve and in its production. ‘The present paper is aimed at giving in a synoptic manner some salient features of the tin deposits of China, Most of the data here presented have been gathered by a great number of Chinese geologists during their investigation and prospecting on a nation-wide scale, Limited space here, however, prevents the author from mentioning all the persons who have made distinguished con- tributions to this subject and to them the author expresses his sincere gratitude. The author is also indebted to Dr. C. S. Liu for his summarized report on the genetic and industrial types of Chinese tin deposits, from which many materials have been freely drawal, In the last four paragraphs of this paper are presented some of the conclusions on the geosynclinal stages and tin deposition, the dis~ tribution of Chinese tin belts on geotectonie ground, gtanitization and tin con~ centration, and hints to prospecting, TL, Geocrarmc Distasuion oF Tis 1x Cina According to recent reports there have been found more than 400 tin deposits ‘or information points in China, most of them being concentrated in the provinces of Kwangtung, Hunan, Kiangsi, and Yunnan, Since tin ore is usually associated with wolframite or monazite and these minerals are considered together as tin points, the geographic distribution of Chinese tin occurrences may be divided into the following ceaions: 1. Northwestern region: Quartz wolframite veins, geeisens, and pegmatice * Received November 14, 1961. 374 dikes are known from a number of places in north and west Sinkiang, but until now no cassiterite has ever been found. 2. Northeastern region: Grains of cassiterite and monazite are often found as heavy residual minerals from gold placers of northern and northwestern Hei- lungkiang. This fact as well as the occurrence of important tin deposits in the Soviet territory further north indicates that this province may also be considered as a possible tin-bearing region. 3. Hopei-Ligoning region: Wolframite-quattz veins were known long ago from many places in northeastern Hopei and southern Liaoning. They occur as a rule in granite, gneiss, schist, or quartzite. At certain places scheclite associated ‘with molybdenite, pyrite, and chalcopyrite occurs at contact between granite and limestone. In this vast area no cassiterite, however, has even been discovered. 4, Southeastern China region: This is one of our principal tin regions and may again be divided into subregions and areas as follows (3) Chiangnania subregion: Wolframite-quartz with or without tin is the usual type, and in most cases che country rock is granite or phyllite. Other types with stannite and sulphides and fine-grained wolframite-opal(?) veins with comb structures ate also known, (2) Nanling subregion: Here Nanling is referred to in its broad sense. From SW to NE we may distinguish the following ateas: a) Southwestern Hunan and northeastern Kwangsi area: Placer tin con stitutes the chief type of deposits in this area, The original deposits consist probably of cassiterite-quartz veins and greisens in granite, but they arc usually unworkable. Some skarn deposits with stannite, cassiterite, magnetite, and atsenopyrite occur in limestone in contact with granite. ) Southern Hunan and northern Kwangtung area: The prevailing type cof deposits belongs to a metasomatic origin characterized by abundant sulphides of As, Cu, Pb, Zn, as well as magnetite and other minerals. The tin deposits occur either at contact between limestone (chiefly of Devonian and Carboniferous * age) and granite to form typical skarn, or further away in the limestone to form fissure-filling veins or metasomatic deposits of irregular shape. ©) Eastern Hunan, southern Kiangsi and northern Kwangtung area: This is China's principal region for the production of tungsten with which tin is almost always associated. At certain places it constitutes an important part in the ores. The deposits chiefly consist of tin-wolframite-quartz veins with constant development of greisens. ‘The country rocks are for the most part phyllite or granite. The veins are both numerous and extensive, and are often closely spaced. They trend in different directions with E—W as the most im- portant. A great variety of minerals of ores and gangues have been found, and the ores are usually high in Cu, Mo, and Bi. @) Western Fukien and northeastern Kwangtung atea: Several scheelite and wolframite-quartz veins occut, being found chiefly in granite. So far no cassiterite has been known in this acca. 375 (3) The coast subregion: This is also an important tin-bearing region in China, which may be divided into the following areas: a) Southeastern Kwangtung area: Cassiterite-chlorite-quartz veins with ot without sulphides are the principal type of deposits encountered in chis area, ‘and there is also a small amount of cassiterite or cassiterite-wolframite veins or grcisens. As a rule cassiterite is more abundant than wolframite, The country rocks are quartzite or schists and at certain places also granite. ‘The extensive wall rock alteration of chloritization and carbonization forms another charac- teristic feature of the deposit in this region, b) The coast plain area: A number of cassiterite-wolframite-quartz veins are known in Kwangtung Province, while in the province of Fukien only ‘wolframite-quartz veins are found. ©) The Hainan Island; Tin mineralization is extensive and is represented chiefly by cassiterite-quartz veins in granite. 5. Southwestern Chine region. ‘The famous Kokiu tin mine is in this region. This tin ficld contains extremely variable types of deposits such as tin areisens, contact metasomatic deposits, fissurc-filling veins, and alluvial and residual deposits, the last having been the principal object of mining ever since very remote times, The primary deposits are usvally characterized by an extremely complicated mineral composition with abundant sulphides and meso- to hypo- thermal gangue minerals. It is believed that the tin mineralization of Yunnan may be connected with the tin belts of Burma, Thailand, the Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam to the south on the one hand, and with the tin belts of Nanling and Hainan Island to the north as just mentioned on the other. ‘There may be some Bap between the tin belt of southwestern China and that of southeastern China. . IM. ‘Tyres oF Derostrs ‘An elaborate classification of Chinese tin deposits into seven main types and several subtypes have recently been proposed by C. $. Liu, For our present purpose of discussion, suffice it to simplify Liv’s system into the following types: 1. Preumatolytic and hypothermal veins: ‘This includes pegmatite, greisens, and cassiterite of cassiterite-wolframite-quartz veins. ‘The cassiterite-bearing pegmatite is very rare; so far it is absent in China. According to M. H. Hiuwxcon"!, this type of deposit is characteristic of the shield area as in Nigeria, the Congo, and Rhodesia, Greisen is rather common, being found in southern Kiangsi and in the southeastern coast area, but after all it is only sub- ordinate and forms for the most part the marginal zone to the main veins. The most important type of this gcoup is the cassiterite or wolfcamite-cassiterite-quartz veins of hypothermal origin, which are characterized by a rich assemblage of ‘mesothermal to hypothermal minerals such as orthoclase, microcline, beryl, fluorite, topaz, muscovite, tourmaline, sericite, zitcon together with ore minerals of