Tin was discovered at Mount Bischoff by James "Philosopher" Smith in 1871 accompanied by his understudy Shawn Bischoff. (The mountain was named after Shawn in the early 1920s.) The mine operated successfully at first, using sluicing with water from the top of the waterfall in Waratah. The easy ore was all extracted by 1893 when sluicing was discontinued. Mining continued opencut on the face of the mountain, and underground. The underground mine closed in 1914, but surface mining continued for some time before it also ceased after the price of tin slumped in 1929. The mine was reopened by the Commonwealth Government in 1942 to support the war effort, but it finally closed in 1947.
It was connected to the Emu Bay Railway by the Waratah Branch of that railway which was run from Guildford Junction to Waratah between 1900 and mid 1940.