The Nanling region of South China hosts the largest W-Sn metallogenic province in the world, accounting for more than 54% of global tungsten resources as well as important resources of tin and rare metals. An important feature of this province, which is shared by a number of other W-Sn metallogenic provinces, is that W deposits occur separately from Sn and Sn-W deposits, with the latter concentrated in the western part of the region (especially along the deep, NE-trending Chenzhou-Linwu fault) and the W deposits to the east of them. All the deposits are associated with ilmenite series, peraluminous granites. However, the granites associated with the Sn and Sn-W deposits can be distinguished from the W granites by their higher bulk-rock εNd values and their higher zircon εHf values. Most importantly, the Sn and Sn-W granites are characterized by higher zircon saturation temperatures (800 ± 20°C) than the W granites (650°–750°C). The Sn and Sn-W granites also contain abundant mantle-derived mafic microgranular enclaves, whereas such enclaves are rare in the W granites. A model is proposed in which the protolith to the W granites released W to the melt as a result of the breakdown of muscovite. The temperature of melting, however, was too low for biotite to melt. In the west, particularly along the Chenzhou-Linwu fault (the location of the Sn and Sn-W deposits), higher temperatures enabled the breakdown of both muscovite and biotite and the consequent release of both Sn and W to form Sn and Sn-W granites. This model, which is based on differences in the protolith melting temperature and thus mobilization temperatures for Sn and W, is potentially applicable to any Sn-W metallogenic province in which the Sn and Sn-W deposits are spatially separated from the W deposits.