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EducationDurango, Mexico Cassiterite Mystery

26th Jul 2019 03:17 BSTYalmer F Primeau Expert


Since I am not looking for the identity of the mineral or the locality, but rather information regarding the existence of the latter, I have posted this inquiry here.

Two years back my brother purchased a specimen of Mexican Cassiterite from the Ishpeming Rock and Mineral Show. The specimen is 7 centimeters long, and features fairly large, blocky crystals approaching a centimeter in length. It is from the George J Balogh collection, and features a second label stating it was purchased at the Deming NM Show in 2009, and came from the collection of Jose Angel Torrecillas. To me, all signs pointed to a fairly well documented specimen. However, upon doing a little more research, things don’t seem to add up. Firstly, after searching the recorded locality, ‘Ropero Mine’ on Mindat, I received zero results. Further attempts at altering the spelling and using the fuzzy match feature turned up no additional leads. Furthermore, after scanning the gallery of Cassiterite from Durango, and even all of Mexico, Nearly all of the specimens pictured were of the botryoidal variety ‘wood tin’. Only one of the specimens pictured from the state or the nation resembled the blocky crystals on this specimen, but were still much smaller. So, what am I to make of this? The crystals certainly look like Cassiterite, but the locality is very unusual. Does anyone have any information about the ‘Ropero Mine’ or Durango Cassiterite in general? Due to the similarities of Cassiterite specimens worldwide and the limitations of my camera equipment, I do not expect to have the location pinned down by the appearance of the specimen, but have attached an image of the Cassiterite for those curious. Any help/information would be appreciated!

26th Jul 2019 03:45 BSTSteve Hardinger Expert

Given that Mindat lists 13 cassiterite localities in Durango the locality assignment for this specimen is not unrealistic. Perhaps its an alternate name for a mine already listed here, or a mine that just hasn't fund its way to Mindat yet.

26th Jul 2019 09:40 BSTDavid Von Bargen Manager

We have some 35 localities for cassiterite in Mexico.

Foshag, W. F., & Fries, C. (1942). Tin deposits of the Republic of Mexico (No. 935). US Government Printing Office.

states that there are more than a thousand small deposits for tin in Mexico.

27th Jul 2019 20:27 BSTAlfredo Petrov Manager

The crystal habit looks very much like the Huanuni mine in Bolivia. Sometimes collectors get specimens and labels mixed up.

28th Jul 2019 13:12 BSTKeith Compton Manager

Firstly, as you stated "The crystals certainly look like Cassiterite". Yes they do.

Secondly, I can see why Alfredo suggest Huanuni given the slightly elongated xl. on the RHSide.

Thirdly, are the lables handwritten, in which case could the lettering read something else? Perhaps a photo of each acompanying label may offer further clues?

But as David indicated above, there are many possibilities and of course there are thousands of localities not yet in Mindat.

Even if we had every locality listed we still wouldn't have photos and lists of all minerals for each of them.

12th Aug 2019 04:18 BSTGareth Evans


Alfredo Petrov Manager

Huanuni mine
I am no expert on Bolivian minerals – I just like Bolivian minerals. Why? I really don’t I know!! I am inclined to think it might be a Huanuni mine cassiterite. I have a large one from the mine. I have included a photo of a section of the specimen (50 mm x 50 mm).

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