Stream tin is generally associated with alluvial gold. When such is the case there is no difficulty in saving the gold if you save the tin, for the yellow metal is of much greater specific gravity. As the natural tin is an oxide, and therefore not susceptible to amalgamation, the gold can be readily separated by means of mercury.
Lode tin sometimes occurs in similar quartz veins to those in which gold is got, and is occasionally associated with gold. Tin is also found, as at Eurieowie, in dykes, composed of quartz crystals and large scales of white mica, traversing the older slates. A similar occurrence takes place at Mount Shoobridge and at Bynoe Harbour, in the Northern Territory of South Australia; indeed, one could not readily separate the stone from these three places if it were mixed. As before stated tin will never be found far from granite, and that granite must have white mica as one of its constituents. It is seldom found in the darker coloured rocks, or in limestone country, but it sometimes occurs in gneiss, mica schist, and chlorite schist. Numerous other minerals are at times mistaken for tin, the most common of which are tourmaline or schorl, garnet, wolfram (which is a tungstate of iron with manganese), rutile or titanic acid, blackjack or zinc blende, together with magnetic, titanic, and specular iron in fine grains.
This rough and ready mode of determining whether the ore is tin is by weight and by scratching or crushing, when, what is called the “streak” is obtained. The colour of the tin streak is whitey-grey, which, when once known, is not easily mistaken. The specific gravity is about 7.0. Wolfram, which is most like it, is a little heavier, from 7.0 to 7.5, but its streak is red, brown, or blackish-brown. Rutile is much lighter, 4.2, and the streak light-brown; tourmaline is only 3.2. Blackjack is 4.3, and its streak yellowish-white.
I have seen several pounds weight to the dish got in some of the New South Wales shallow sinking tin-fields, and, as a rule, payable gold was also present. Fourteen years ago I told Western Australian people, when on a visit to that colony, that the neighbourhood of the Darling range would produce rich tin. Lately this had been proved to be the case, and I look forward to a great development of the tin mining industry in the south-western portion of Westralia.
The tin “wash” in question may also contain gold, as the country rock of the neighbourhood is such as gold is usually found in.[*]
[*] Since this book was in the printers’ hands, the discovery of payable gold has been reported from this district. A detailed discussion of methods of prospecting will be found in chapter ii. Of Le Neve Foster’s “Ore and Stone Mining,” and Mr. S. Herbert Cox’s “Handbook for Prospectors.”
THE GENESIOLOGY OF GOLD—AURIFEROUS LODES