Special Issue "Minerals in Coal"

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2016).

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Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Shifeng Dai
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Guest Editor
State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining, China University of Mining and Technology (Beijing), Beijing 100083, China
Interests: coal mineralogy; coal geochemistry; coal petrology; coal geochemistry; coal combustion products
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Xibo Wang
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Guest Editor
State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining, China University of Mining and Technology (Beijing), Beijing 100083, China
Interests: coal geochemistry; coal mineralogy; coal petrology, coal geochemistry, and coal-bearing strata sedimentology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Lei Zhao
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Guest Editor
State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining, China University of Mining and Technology (Beijing), Beijing 100083, China
Interests: mineral analytical techniques; coal geochemistry; coal mineralogy; coal petrology; environmental geochemistry; coal combustion products
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Minerals are very significant components of coal from both academic and practical perspectives. Minerals may react when the coal is burned, either forming an ash residue, or, in many cases, releasing volatile components, or being needed to be removed as slag from the blast furnace during metallurgical processing. Minerals in coal can also be a source of unwanted abrasion, stickiness, corrosion, or pollution associated with coal handling and use. Minerals in coal, in some cases, are major carriers of valuable metals, such as Ga, Al, and rare earth elements, and these coals with highly-evaluated valuable metals have the potential to be raw sources for industry use. From the genetic point of view, the minerals in coal are products of the processes associated with peat accumulation and rank advance, as well as other aspects of epigenetic processes, and, thus, the minerals in coal can provide information on the depositional conditions and geologic history of individual coal beds, coal-bearing sequences, and regional tectonic evolution. This Special Issue, “Minerals in Coal”, focuses on providing an up-to-date series of papers, covering research and technological developments in the nature, origin, and significance of the minerals in coal, and productions derived from combustion and gasification.

Prof. Dr. Shifeng Dai
Dr. Xibo Wang
Dr. Lei Zhao
Guest Editor

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Open AccessArticle
Origin of Minerals and Elements in the Late Permian Coal Seams of the Shiping Mine, Sichuan, Southwestern China
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/min6030074 - 19 Jul 2016
Cited by 12
Abstract
Volcanic layers in coal seams in southwestern China coalfields have received much attention given their significance in coal geology studies and their potential economic value. In this study, the mineralogical and geochemical compositions of C19 and C25 coal seams were examined, and the [...] Read more.
Volcanic layers in coal seams in southwestern China coalfields have received much attention given their significance in coal geology studies and their potential economic value. In this study, the mineralogical and geochemical compositions of C19 and C25 coal seams were examined, and the following findings were obtained. (1) Clay minerals in sample C19-r are argillized, and sedimentary layering is not observed. The acicular idiomorphic crystals of apatite and the phenocrysts of Ti-augite coexisting with magnetite in roof sample C19-r are common minerals in basaltic rock. The rare earth elements (REE) distribution pattern of C19-r, which is characterized by positive Eu anomalies and M-REE enrichment, is the same as that of high-Ti basalt. The concentrations of Ti, V, Co, Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Nb, Ta, Zr, and Hf in C19-r are closer to those of high-Ti basalt. In conclusion, roof sample C19-r consists of tuffaceous clay, probably with a high-Ti mafic magma source. (2) The geochemical characteristics of the C25 coals are same as those reported for coal affected by alkali volcanic ash, enrichment in Nb, Ta, Zr, Hf, and REE, causing the C25 minable coal seams to have higher potential value. Such a vertical study of coals and host rocks could provide more information for coal-forming depositional environment analysis, for identification of volcanic eruption time and magma intrusion, and for facilitating stratigraphic subdivision and correlation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minerals in Coal) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Geological Controls on Mineralogy and Geochemistry of an Early Permian Coal from the Songshao Mine, Yunnan Province, Southwestern China
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/min6030066 - 05 Jul 2016
Cited by 4
Abstract
This paper discusses the content, distribution, modes of occurrence, and enrichment mechanism of mineral matter and trace elements of an Early Permian coal from Songshao (Yunnan Province, China) by means of coal-petrological, mineralogical, and geochemical techniques. The results show that the Songshao coal [...] Read more.
This paper discusses the content, distribution, modes of occurrence, and enrichment mechanism of mineral matter and trace elements of an Early Permian coal from Songshao (Yunnan Province, China) by means of coal-petrological, mineralogical, and geochemical techniques. The results show that the Songshao coal is characterized by high total and organic sulfur contents (3.61% and 3.87%, respectively). Lithium (170.39 μg/g) and Zr (184.55 μg/g) are significantly enriched in the Songshao coal, and, to a lesser extent, elements such as Hg, La, Ce, Nd, Th, Sr, Nb, Sn, Hf, V, and Cr are also enriched. In addition to Hg and Se that are enriched in the roof and floor strata of the coal seam, Li, La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Gd, Y, Cd, and Sb are slightly enriched in these host rocks. Compared to the upper continental crust, rare earth elements and yttrium in the host rocks and coal samples are characterized by a light-REE enrichment type and have negative Eu, positive Ce and Gd anomalies. Major minerals in the samples of coal, roof, and floor are boehmite, clay minerals (kaolinite, illite, and mixed layer illite-smectite), pyrite, and anatase. Geochemical and mineralogical anomalies of the Songshao coal are attributed to hydrothermal fluids, seawater, and sediment-source rocks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minerals in Coal) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
The Transformation of Coal-Mining Waste Minerals in the Pozzolanic Reactions of Cements
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/min6030064 - 30 Jun 2016
Cited by 10
Abstract
The cement industry has the potential to become a major consumer of recycled waste materials that are transformed and recycled in various forms as aggregates and pozzolanic materials. These recycled waste materials would otherwise have been dumped in landfill sites, leaving hazardous elements [...] Read more.
The cement industry has the potential to become a major consumer of recycled waste materials that are transformed and recycled in various forms as aggregates and pozzolanic materials. These recycled waste materials would otherwise have been dumped in landfill sites, leaving hazardous elements to break down and contaminate the environment. There are several approaches for the reuse of these waste products, especially in relation to clay minerals that can induce pozzolanic reactions of special interest in the cement industry. In the present paper, scientific aspects are discussed in relation to several inert coal-mining wastes and their recycling as alternative sources of future eco-efficient pozzolans, based on activated phyllosilicates. The presence of kaolinite in this waste indicates that thermal treatment at 600 °C for 2 h transformed these minerals into a highly reactive metakaolinite over the first seven days of the pozzolanic reaction. Moreover, high contents of metakaolinite, together with silica and alumina sheet structures, assisted the appearance of layered double hydroxides through metastable phases, forming stratlingite throughout the main phase of the pozzolanic reaction after 28 days (as recommended by the European Standard) as the reaction proceeded. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minerals in Coal) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Mineralogical and Geochemical Characteristics of the Early Permian Upper No. 3 Coal from Southwestern Shandong, China
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/min6030058 - 23 Jun 2016
Cited by 3
Abstract
The Upper No. 3 coal of the Early Permian age is a major workable seam in the southwestern Shandong coalfield, which is located in the eastern part of North China. From Early Jurassic to Neogene, the coalfield was subjected to intensive tectonic processes, [...] Read more.
The Upper No. 3 coal of the Early Permian age is a major workable seam in the southwestern Shandong coalfield, which is located in the eastern part of North China. From Early Jurassic to Neogene, the coalfield was subjected to intensive tectonic processes, leading to a significant rearrangement in depth of coal seams. In this paper, three Upper No. 3 coals occurring at −228, −670 and −938 m in the Luxi, Liangbaosi, and Tangkou mines, respectively, were collected to investigate their mineralogical and geochemical characteristics, with emphasis on modes of occurrence and origin of epigenetic minerals. The three coal seams are similar in vitrinite reflectance, volatile matter yield, and maceral components, suggesting insignificant influence from the tectonic activities on coal rank. Terrigenous minerals (e.g., kaolinite and quartz) are comparable in both types and distribution patterns in the three coals. The presence of siderite and pyrite of syngenetic or penecontemporaneous origin indicate they were emplaced during peat accumulation. The distribution of epigenetic minerals (e.g., calcite, ankerite, and dolomite) are associated with the underground water activities, which were Ca (Mg, Fe)-bearing. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Leaching Behavior and Potential Environmental Effects of Trace Elements in Coal Gangue of an Open-Cast Coal Mine Area, Inner Mongolia, China
Minerals 2016, 6(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/min6020050 - 27 May 2016
Cited by 8
Abstract
In order to better understand the role of coal gangue in potential environmental and ecological risks, the leaching behavior of trace elements from coal gangue has been investigated in an open-cast coal mine, Inner Mongolia, China. Four comparative column leaching experiments were conducted [...] Read more.
In order to better understand the role of coal gangue in potential environmental and ecological risks, the leaching behavior of trace elements from coal gangue has been investigated in an open-cast coal mine, Inner Mongolia, China. Four comparative column leaching experiments were conducted to investigate the impacts of leaching time, pH values and sample amount on the leaching behavior of trace elements. Enrichment factors (EF), maximum leached amount (Lam), maximum leachability (Lrm), effects range low (ERL) and effects range median (ERM) were employed to evaluate potential environmental and ecological hazards resulting from the leaching behavior of environment-sensitive trace elements from coal gangue. Leaching time and sample amount display important effects on trace element concentrations, leached amounts and leachability. The pH values exhibit a weak influence on the leaching behavior of the selected trace elements (e.g., As, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Se, Cd, Sn, Pb and Hg). The coal gangue are enriched in As, Co, Se and Pb and, in particular, show higher environmental pollution levels of As and Se (EF > 2). Lam values suggest that all of the elements investigated do not show potential risk to soils and vegetation, but have a high hazard risk for ground water. Elements including Ni, As, Cr and Zn are inclined to show high or moderate biological toxicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minerals in Coal) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Geochemistry and Mineralogy of Tuff in Zhongliangshan Mine, Chongqing, Southwestern China
Minerals 2016, 6(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/min6020047 - 20 May 2016
Cited by 14
Abstract
Coal-bearing strata that host rare metal deposits are currently a hot issue in the field of coal geology. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the mineralogy, geochemistry, and potential economic significance of rare metals in the late Permian tuff in Zhongliangshan [...] Read more.
Coal-bearing strata that host rare metal deposits are currently a hot issue in the field of coal geology. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the mineralogy, geochemistry, and potential economic significance of rare metals in the late Permian tuff in Zhongliangshan mine, Chongqing, southwestern China. The methods applied in this study are X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF), inductively coupled mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD) plus Siroquant, and scanning electron microscopy in conjunction with an energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM-EDX). The results indicate that some trace elements including Li, Be, Sc, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ga, Zr, Nb, Cd, Sb, REE, Hf, Ta, Re, Th, and U are enriched in the tuff from Zhongliangshan mine. The minerals in the tuff mainly include kaolinite, illite, pyrite, anatase, calcite, gypsum, quartz, and traces of minerals such as zircon, florencite, jarosite, and barite. The tuff is of mafic volcanic origin with features of alkali basalt. Some minerals including florencite, gypsum, barite and a portion of anatase and zircon have been derived from hydrothermal solutions. It is suggested that Zhongliangshan tuff is a potential polymetallic ore and the recovery of these valuable elements needs to be further investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minerals in Coal) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Clay Mineralogy of Coal-Hosted Nb-Zr-REE-Ga Mineralized Beds from Late Permian Strata, Eastern Yunnan, SW China: Implications for Paleotemperature and Origin of the Micro-Quartz
Minerals 2016, 6(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/min6020045 - 17 May 2016
Cited by 18
Abstract
The clay mineralogy of pyroclastic Nb(Ta)-Zr(Hf)-REE-Ga mineralization in Late Permian coal-bearing strata from eastern Yunnan Province; southwest China was investigated in this study. Samples from XW and LK drill holes in this area were analyzed using XRD (X-ray diffraction) and SEM (scanning electronic [...] Read more.
The clay mineralogy of pyroclastic Nb(Ta)-Zr(Hf)-REE-Ga mineralization in Late Permian coal-bearing strata from eastern Yunnan Province; southwest China was investigated in this study. Samples from XW and LK drill holes in this area were analyzed using XRD (X-ray diffraction) and SEM (scanning electronic microscope). Results show that clay minerals in the Nb-Zr-REE-Ga mineralized samples are composed of mixed layer illite/smectite (I/S); kaolinite and berthierine. I/S is the major component among the clay assemblages. The source volcanic ashes controlled the modes of occurrence of the clay minerals. Volcanic ash-originated kaolinite and berthierine occur as vermicular and angular particles, respectively. I/S is confined to the matrix and is derived from illitization of smectite which was derived from the original volcanic ashes. Other types of clay minerals including I/S and berthierine precipitated from hydrothermal solutions were found within plant cells; and coexisting with angular berthierine and vermicular kaolinite. Inferred from the fact that most of the I/S is R1 ordered with one case of the R3 I/S; the paleo-diagenetic temperature could be up to 180 °C but mostly 100–160 °C. The micro-crystalline quartz grains (<10 µm) closely associated with I/S were observed under SEM and were most likely the product of desiliconization during illitization of smectite. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modes of Occurrence and Abundance of Trace Elements in Pennsylvanian Coals from the Pingshuo Mine, Ningwu Coalfield, Shanxi Province, China
Minerals 2016, 6(2), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/min6020040 - 27 Apr 2016
Cited by 7
Abstract
The Pingshuo Mine is an important coal mine of the Ningwu coalfield in northern Shanxi Province, China. To investigate the mineralogy and geochemistry of Pingshuo coals, core samples from the mineable No. 4 coals were collected. The minerals, major element oxides, and trace [...] Read more.
The Pingshuo Mine is an important coal mine of the Ningwu coalfield in northern Shanxi Province, China. To investigate the mineralogy and geochemistry of Pingshuo coals, core samples from the mineable No. 4 coals were collected. The minerals, major element oxides, and trace elements were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), LTA-XRD in combination with Siroquant software, X-ray fluorescence (XRF), inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and ICP-CCT-MS (As and Se). The minerals in the Pennsylvanian coals from the Pingshuo Mine dominantly consist of kaolinite and boehmite, with minor amounts of siderite, anatase, goyazite, calcite, apatite and florencite. Major-element oxides including SiO2 (9.54 wt %), Al2O3 (9.68 wt %), and TiO2 (0.63 wt %), as well as trace elements including Hg (449.63 ng/g), Zr (285.95 μg/g), Cu (36.72 μg/g), Ga (18.47 μg/g), Se (5.99 μg/g), Cd (0.43 μg/g), Hf (7.14 μg/g), and Pb (40.63 μg/g) are enriched in the coal. Lithium and Hg present strong positive correlations with ash yield and SiO2, indicating an inorganic affinity. Elements Sr, Ba, Be, As and Ga have strong positive correlations with CaO and P2O5, indicating that most of these elements may be either associated with phosphates and carbonates or have an inorganic–organic affinity. Some of the Zr and Hf may occur in anatase due to their strong positive correlations with TiO2. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Fate of Trace Elements in Yanshan Coal during Fast Pyrolysis
Minerals 2016, 6(2), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/min6020035 - 06 Apr 2016
Cited by 4
Abstract
In this study, a high-sulfur and high-ash yield coal sample obtained from the Yanshan coalfield in Yunnan, China was analyzed. A series of char samples was obtained by pyrolysis at various temperatures (300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, and 900 °C) and at [...] Read more.
In this study, a high-sulfur and high-ash yield coal sample obtained from the Yanshan coalfield in Yunnan, China was analyzed. A series of char samples was obtained by pyrolysis at various temperatures (300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, and 900 °C) and at a fast heating rate (1000 °C/min). A comprehensive investigation using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), a mercury analyzer, ion-selective electrode (ISE) measurements, X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis, and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was performed to reveal the effects of the pyrolysis temperature on the transformation behavior of trace elements (TEs) and the change in the mineralogical characteristics and functional groups in the samples. The results show that the TE concentrations in the raw coal are higher than the average contents of Chinese coal. The concentrations of Be, Li, and U in the char samples are higher than those in raw coal, while the opposite was observed for As, Ga, Hg, and Rb. The F and Se concentrations are initially higher but decrease with pyrolysis temperature, which is likely caused by associated fracturing with fluoride and selenide minerals. Uranium shows the highest enrichment degree, and Hg shows the highest volatilization degree compared to the other studied TEs. As the temperature increases, the number of OH groups decreases, and the mineral composition changes; for example, pyrite decomposes, while oldhamite and hematite occur in the chars. It is suggested that the behavior and fate of TEs in coal during fast pyrolysis are synergistically influenced by self-characteristic modes of occurrence and mineralogical characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minerals in Coal) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Morphology and Composition of Microspheres in Fly Ash from the Luohuang Power Plant, Chongqing, Southwestern China
Minerals 2016, 6(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/min6020030 - 01 Apr 2016
Cited by 7
Abstract
In order to effectively raise both utilization rate and additional value of fly ash, X-Ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscope (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-Ray spectrometer (EDS) were used to investigate the morphology, and chemical and mineral composition of the microspheres in fly ash [...] Read more.
In order to effectively raise both utilization rate and additional value of fly ash, X-Ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscope (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-Ray spectrometer (EDS) were used to investigate the morphology, and chemical and mineral composition of the microspheres in fly ash from the Luohuang coal-fired power plant, Chongqing, southwestern China. The majority of fly ash particles are various types of microspheres, including porous microsphere, plerospheres (hollow microspheres surrounding sub-microspheres or mineral fragments) and magnetic ferrospheres. Maghemite (γ-Fe2O3) crystals with spinel octahedron structure regularly distribute on the surfaces of ferrospheres, which explained the source of their strong magnetism that would facilitate the separation and classification of these magnetic ferrospheres from the fly ash. Microspheres in Luohuang fly ash generally are characterized by an elemental transition through their cross-section: the inner layer consists of Si and O; the chemical component of the middle layer is Si, Al, Fe, Ti, Ca and O; and the Fe-O mass (maghemite or hematite) composes the outer layer (ferrosphere). Studies on composition and morphological characteristics of microspheres in fly ash would provide important information on the utilization of fly ash, especially in the field of materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minerals in Coal) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Mineralogical Characteristics of Late Permian Coals from the Yueliangtian Coal Mine, Guizhou, Southwestern China
Minerals 2016, 6(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/min6020029 - 31 Mar 2016
Cited by 7
Abstract
This paper reports the mineralogical compositions of super-low-sulfur (Yueliangtian 6-upper (YLT6U)) and high-sulfur (Yueliangtian 6-lower (YLT6L)) coals of the Late Permian No. 6 coal seam from the Yueliangtian coal mine, Guizhou, southwestern China. The mineral assemblages and morphology were detected and observed by [...] Read more.
This paper reports the mineralogical compositions of super-low-sulfur (Yueliangtian 6-upper (YLT6U)) and high-sulfur (Yueliangtian 6-lower (YLT6L)) coals of the Late Permian No. 6 coal seam from the Yueliangtian coal mine, Guizhou, southwestern China. The mineral assemblages and morphology were detected and observed by X-ray diffractogram (XRD), optical microscopy and field-emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM) in conjunction with an energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer. Major minerals in the coal samples, partings and host rocks (roof and floor strata) include calcite, quartz, kaolinite, mixed-layer illite/smectite, chlorite and pyrite and, to a lesser extent, chamosite, anatase and apatite. The Emeishan basalt and silicic rocks in the Kangdian Upland are the sediment source for the Yueliangtian coals. It was found that there are several modes of chamosite occurrence, and precursor minerals, such as anatase, had been corroded by Ti-rich hydrothermal solutions. The modes of occurrence of minerals present in the coal were controlled by the injection of different types of hydrothermal fluids during different deposition stages. The presence of abundant pyrite and extremely high total sulfur contents in the YLT6L coal are in sharp contrast to those in the YLT6U coal, suggesting that seawater invaded the peat swamp of the YLT6L coal and terminated at the YLT6U-9p sampling interval. High-temperature quartz, vermicular kaolinite and chloritized biotite were observed in the partings and roof strata. The three partings and floor strata of the No. 6 coal seam from the Yueliangtian coal mine appear to have been derived from felsic volcanic ash. Four factors, including sediment-source region, multi-stage injections of hydrothermal fluids, seawater influence and volcanic ash input, were responsible for the mineralogical characteristics of the Yueliangtian coals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minerals in Coal) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Geochemical Characteristics of Trace Elements in the No. 6 Coal Seam from the Chuancaogedan Mine, Jungar Coalfield, Inner Mongolia, China
Minerals 2016, 6(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/min6020028 - 30 Mar 2016
Cited by 13
Abstract
Fourteen samples of No. 6 coal seam were obtained from the Chuancaogedan Mine, Jungar Coalfield, Inner Mongolia, China. The samples were analyzed by optical microscopic observation, X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscope equipped with an energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer (SEM-EDS), inductively coupled plasma mass [...] Read more.
Fourteen samples of No. 6 coal seam were obtained from the Chuancaogedan Mine, Jungar Coalfield, Inner Mongolia, China. The samples were analyzed by optical microscopic observation, X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscope equipped with an energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer (SEM-EDS), inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) methods. The minerals mainly consist of kaolinite, pyrite, quartz, and calcite. The results of XRF and ICP-MS analyses indicate that the No. 6 coals from Chuancaogedan Mine are higher in Al2O3, P2O5, Zn, Sr, Li, Ga, Zr, Gd, Hf, Pb, Th, and U contents, but have a lower SiO2/Al2O3 ratio, compared to common Chinese coals. The contents of Zn, Sr, Li, Ga, Zr, Gd, Hf, Pb, Th, and U are higher than those of world hard coals. The results of cluster analyses show that the most probable carrier of strontium in the coal is gorceixite; Lithium mainly occurs in clay minerals; gallium mainly occurs in inorganic association, including the clay minerals and diaspore; cadmium mainly occurs in sphalerite; and lead in the No. 6 coal may be associated with pyrite. Potentially valuable elements (e.g., Al, Li, and Ga) might be recovered as byproducts from coal ash. Other harmful elements (e.g., P, Pb, and U) may cause environmental impact during coal processing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minerals in Coal) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Minerals in the Ash and Slag from Oxygen-Enriched Underground Coal Gasification
Minerals 2016, 6(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/min6020027 - 30 Mar 2016
Cited by 9
Abstract
Underground coal gasification (UCG) is a promising option for the recovery of low-rank and inaccessible coal resources. Detailed mineralogical information is essential to understand underground reaction conditions far from the surface and optimize the operation parameters during the UCG process. It is also [...] Read more.
Underground coal gasification (UCG) is a promising option for the recovery of low-rank and inaccessible coal resources. Detailed mineralogical information is essential to understand underground reaction conditions far from the surface and optimize the operation parameters during the UCG process. It is also significant in identifying the environmental effects of UCG residue. In this paper, with regard to the underground gasification of lignite, UCG slag was prepared through simulation tests of oxygen-enriched gasification under different atmospheric conditions, and the minerals were identified by X-Ray diffraction (XRD) and a scanning electron microscope coupled to an energy-dispersive spectrometer (SEM-EDS). Thermodynamic calculations performed using FactSage 6.4 were used to help to understand the transformation of minerals. The results indicate that an increased oxygen concentration is beneficial to the reformation of mineral crystal after ash fusion and the resulting crystal structures of minerals also tend to be more orderly. The dominant minerals in 60%-O2 and 80%-O2 UCG slag include anorthite, pyroxene, and gehlenite, while amorphous substances almost disappear. In addition, with increasing oxygen content, mullite might react with the calcium oxide existed in the slag to generate anorthite, which could then serve as a calcium source for the formation of gehlenite. In 80%-O2 UCG slag, the iron-bearing mineral is transformed from sekaninaite to pyroxene. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Petrology and Geochemistry of the Harlan, Kellioka, and Darby Coals from the Louellen 7.5-Minute Quadrangle, Harlan County, Kentucky
Minerals 2015, 5(4), 894-918; https://doi.org/10.3390/min5040532 - 11 Dec 2015
Cited by 21
Abstract
The Harlan, Kellioka, and Darby coals in Harlan County, Kentucky, have been among the highest quality coals mined in the Central Appalachians. The Middle Pennsylvanian coals are correlative with the Upper Elkhorn No. 1 to Upper Elkhorn No. 3½ coals to the northwest [...] Read more.
The Harlan, Kellioka, and Darby coals in Harlan County, Kentucky, have been among the highest quality coals mined in the Central Appalachians. The Middle Pennsylvanian coals are correlative with the Upper Elkhorn No. 1 to Upper Elkhorn No. 3½ coals to the northwest of the Pine Mountain thrust fault. Much of the mining traditionally was controlled by captive, steel-company-owned mines and the coal was part of the high volatile A bituminous portion of the coking coal blend. Overall, the coals are generally low-ash and low-sulfur, contributing to their desirability as metallurgical coals. We did observe variation both in geochemistry, such as individual lithologies with significant P2O5/Ba + Sr/Rare earth concentrations, and in maceral content between the lithotypes in the mine sections. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Major and Trace Element Geochemistry of Coals and Intra-Seam Claystones from the Songzao Coalfield, SW China
Minerals 2015, 5(4), 870-893; https://doi.org/10.3390/min5040531 - 03 Dec 2015
Cited by 36
Abstract
Silicic, mafic and alkali intra-seam tonsteins have been known from SW China for a number of years. This paper reports on the geochemical compositions of coals and tonsteins from three seam sections of the Songzao Coalfield, SW China, and evaluates the geological factors [...] Read more.
Silicic, mafic and alkali intra-seam tonsteins have been known from SW China for a number of years. This paper reports on the geochemical compositions of coals and tonsteins from three seam sections of the Songzao Coalfield, SW China, and evaluates the geological factors responsible for the chemical characteristics of the coal seams, with emphasis on the influence from different types of volcanic ashes. The roof and floor samples of the Songzao coal seams mostly have high TiO2 contents, consistent with a high TiO2 content in the detrital sediment input from the source region, namely mafic basalts from the Kangdian Upland on the western margin of the coal basin. The coals from the Songzao Coalfield generally have high ash yields and are highly enriched in trace elements including Nb, Ta, Zr, Hf, rare earth elements (REE), Y, Hg and Se; some variation occurs among different seam sections due to input of geochemically different volcanic ash materials. The geochemistry of the Songzao coals has also been affected by the adjacent tonstein/K-bentonite bands. The relatively immobile elements that are enriched in the altered volcanic ashes also tend to be enriched in the adjacent coal plies, possibly due to leaching by groundwaters. The coals near the alkali tonstein bands in the Tonghua and Yuyang sections of the Songzao Coalfield are mostly high in Nb, Ta, Zr, Hf, Th, U, REE and Y. Coal samples overlying the mafic K-bentonite in the Tonghua section are high in V, Cr, Zn and Cu. The Datong coal, which has neither visible tonstein layers nor obvious volcanogenic minerals, has high TiO2, V, Cr, Ni, Cu and Zn concentrations in the intervals between the coal plies affected by mafic and alkaline volcanic ashes. This is consistent with the suggestion that a common source material was supplied to the coal basin, derived from the erosion of mafic basaltic rocks of the Kangdian Upland. Although the Songzao coal is generally a high-sulfur coal, most of the chalcophile trace elements show either poor or negative correlations with total iron sulfide contents. The absence of traditional pyrite-metal associations may reflect wide variations in the concentrations of these elements in individual pyrite/marcasite components, or simply poor retention of these elements in the pyrite/marcasite of the relevant coals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modes of Occurrence of Fluorine by Extraction and SEM Method in a Coal-Fired Power Plant from Inner Mongolia, China
Minerals 2015, 5(4), 863-869; https://doi.org/10.3390/min5040530 - 02 Dec 2015
Cited by 12
Abstract
In this study, an extraction method and environmental scanning electron microscopy (SEM) are employed to reveal the changes in the occurrence mode of fluorine in a coal-fired power plant in Inner Mongolia, China. The different occurrence states of fluorine during coal combustion and [...] Read more.
In this study, an extraction method and environmental scanning electron microscopy (SEM) are employed to reveal the changes in the occurrence mode of fluorine in a coal-fired power plant in Inner Mongolia, China. The different occurrence states of fluorine during coal combustion and emission show that fluorine in coal mainly assumes insoluble inorganic mineral forms. The results illustrate that the three typical occurrence modes in coal are CaF2, MgF2 and AlF3. The fluorine in fly ash can be captured by an electrostatic precipitator (EPS) or a bag filter. In contrast, the gaseous fluorine content in flue gas is only in the range of several parts per million; thus, it cannot be used in this study. The occurrence mode of fluorine in bottom ash and slag is inorganic villiaumite (e.g., soluble NaF, KF and insoluble CaF2) which is difficult to break down even at high temperatures. The occurrence mode of fluorine with the highest content in fly ash is physically adsorbed fluorine along the direction of the flue gas flow. The insoluble inorganic mineral fluoride content in fly ash is also high, but the gradually increasing fluorine content in fly ash is mainly caused by physical adsorption. Fluorine in the coal-fired power plant discharges mostly as solid products; however, very little fluorine emitted into the environment as gas products (HF, SiF4) cannot be captured. The parameters used in this study may provide useful references in developing a monitoring and control system for fluorine in coal-fired power plants. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Human Health Risk Assessment and Safety Threshold of Harmful Trace Elements in the Soil Environment of the Wulantuga Open-Cast Coal Mine
Minerals 2015, 5(4), 837-848; https://doi.org/10.3390/min5040528 - 30 Nov 2015
Cited by 13
Abstract
In this study, soil samples were collected from a large-scale open-cast coal mine area in Inner Mongolia, China. Arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), beryllium (Be) and nickel (Ni) in soil samples were detected using novel collision/reaction cell technology (CCT) with inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry [...] Read more.
In this study, soil samples were collected from a large-scale open-cast coal mine area in Inner Mongolia, China. Arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), beryllium (Be) and nickel (Ni) in soil samples were detected using novel collision/reaction cell technology (CCT) with inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS; collectively ICP-CCT-MS) after closed-vessel microwave digestion. Human health risk from As, Cd, Be and Ni was assessed via three exposure pathways—inhalation, skin contact and soil particle ingestion. The comprehensive carcinogenic risk from As in Wulantuga open-cast coal mine soil is 6.29–87.70-times the acceptable risk, and the highest total hazard quotient of As in soils in this area can reach 4.53-times acceptable risk levels. The carcinogenic risk and hazard quotient of Cd, Be and Ni are acceptable. The main exposure route of As from open-cast coal mine soils is soil particle ingestion, accounting for 76.64% of the total carcinogenic risk. Considering different control values for each exposure pathway, the minimum control value (1.59 mg/kg) could be selected as the strict reference safety threshold for As in the soil environment of coal-chemical industry areas. However, acceptable levels of carcinogenic risk are not unanimous; thus, the safety threshold identified here, calculated under a 1.00 × 10−6 acceptable carcinogenic risk level, needs further consideration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mineralogical and Geochemical Compositions of the No. 5 Coal in Chuancaogedan Mine, Junger Coalfield, China
Minerals 2015, 5(4), 788-800; https://doi.org/10.3390/min5040525 - 25 Nov 2015
Cited by 13
Abstract
This paper reports the mineralogy and geochemistry of the Early Permian No. 5 coal from the Chuancaogedan Mine, Junger Coalfield, China, using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Low-temperature ashing X-ray diffraction (LTA-XRD) in combination with Siroquant software, X-ray fluorescence (XRF), and inductively [...] Read more.
This paper reports the mineralogy and geochemistry of the Early Permian No. 5 coal from the Chuancaogedan Mine, Junger Coalfield, China, using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Low-temperature ashing X-ray diffraction (LTA-XRD) in combination with Siroquant software, X-ray fluorescence (XRF), and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The minerals in the No. 5 coal from the Chuancaogedan Mine dominantly consist of kaolinite, with minor amounts of quartz, pyrite, magnetite, gypsum, calcite, jarosite and mixed-layer illite/smectite (I/S). The most abundant species within high-temperature plasma-derived coals were SiO2 (averaging 16.90%), Al2O3 (13.87%), TiO2 (0.55%) and P2O5 (0.05%). Notable minor and trace elements of the coal include Zr (245.89 mg/kg), Li (78.54 mg/kg), Hg (65.42 mg/kg), Pb (38.95 mg/kg), U (7.85 mg/kg) and Se (6.69 mg/kg). The coal has an ultra-low sulfur content (0.40%). Lithium, Ga, Se, Zr and Hf present strongly positive correlation with ash yield, Si and Al, suggesting they are associated with aluminosilicate minerals in the No. 5 coal. Arsenic is only weakly associated with mineral matter and Ge in the No. 5 coals might be of organic and/or sulfide affinity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Radioactivity of Natural Nuclides (40K, 238U, 232Th, 226Ra) in Coals from Eastern Yunnan, China
Minerals 2015, 5(4), 637-646; https://doi.org/10.3390/min5040513 - 30 Sep 2015
Cited by 9
Abstract
The naturally occurring primordial radionuclides in coals might exhibit high radioactivity, and can be exported to the surrounding environment during coal combustion. In this study, nine coal samples were collected from eastern Yunnan coal deposits, China, aiming at characterizing the overall radioactivity of [...] Read more.
The naturally occurring primordial radionuclides in coals might exhibit high radioactivity, and can be exported to the surrounding environment during coal combustion. In this study, nine coal samples were collected from eastern Yunnan coal deposits, China, aiming at characterizing the overall radioactivity of some typical nuclides (i.e., 40K, 238U, 232Th, 226Ra) and assessing their ecological impact. The mean activity concentrations of 238U, 232Th, 40K and 226Ra are 63.86 (17.70–92.30 Bq· kg-1), 23.76 (11.10–37.10 Bq· kg-1), 96.84 (30.60–229.30 Bq· kg-1) and 28.09 Bq·kg-1 (3.10–61.80 Bq·kg-1), respectively. Both 238U and 232Th have high correlations with ash yield of coals, suggesting their inorganic origins. The overall environmental effect of natural radionuclides in studied coals is considered to be negligible, as assessed by related indexes (i.e., radium equivalent activity, air-adsorbed dose rate, annual effective dose, and external hazard index). However, the absorbed dose rates values are higher than the average value of global primordial radiation and the Chinese natural gamma radiation dose rate. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Brown Coal Dewatering Using Poly (Acrylamide-Co-Potassium Acrylic) Based Super Absorbent Polymers
Minerals 2015, 5(4), 623-636; https://doi.org/10.3390/min5040512 - 30 Sep 2015
Cited by 5
Abstract
With the rising cost of energy and fuel oils, clean coal technologies will continue to play an important role during the transition to a clean energy future. Victorian brown coals have high oxygen and moisture contents and hence low calorific value. This paper [...] Read more.
With the rising cost of energy and fuel oils, clean coal technologies will continue to play an important role during the transition to a clean energy future. Victorian brown coals have high oxygen and moisture contents and hence low calorific value. This paper presents an alternative non evaporative drying technology for high moisture brown coals based on osmotic dewatering. This involves contacting and mixing brown coal with anionic super absorbent polymers (SAP) which are highly crossed linked synthetic co-polymers based on a cross-linked copolymer of acryl amide and potassium acrylate. The paper focuses on evaluating the water absorption potential of SAP in contact with 61% moisture Loy Yang brown coal, under varying SAP dosages for different contact times and conditions. The amount of water present in Loy Yang coal was reduced by approximately 57% during four hours of SAP contact. The extent of SAP brown coal drying is directly proportional to the SAP/coal weight ratio. It is observed that moisture content of fine brown coal can readily be reduced from about 59% to 38% in four hours at a 20% SAP/coal ratio. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Petrology, Palynology, and Geochemistry of Gray Hawk Coal (Early Pennsylvanian, Langsettian) in Eastern Kentucky, USA
Minerals 2015, 5(3), 592-622; https://doi.org/10.3390/min5030511 - 11 Sep 2015
Cited by 36
Abstract
This study presents recently collected data examining the organic petrology, palynology, mineralogy and geochemistry of the Gray Hawk coal bed. From the Early Pennsylvanian, Langsettian substage, Gray Hawk coal has been mined near the western edge of the eastern Kentucky portion of the [...] Read more.
This study presents recently collected data examining the organic petrology, palynology, mineralogy and geochemistry of the Gray Hawk coal bed. From the Early Pennsylvanian, Langsettian substage, Gray Hawk coal has been mined near the western edge of the eastern Kentucky portion of the Central Appalachian coalfield. While the coal is thin, rarely more than 0.5-m thick, it has a low-ash yield and a low-S content, making it an important local resource. The Gray Hawk coal palynology is dominated by Lycospora spp., and contains a diverse spectrum of small lycopods, tree ferns, small ferns, calamites, and gymnosperms. The maceral assemblages show an abundance of collotelinite, telinite, vitrodetrinite, fusinite, and semifusinite. Fecal pellet-derived macrinite, albeit with more compaction than is typically seen in younger coals, was observed in the Gray Hawk coal. The minerals in the coal are dominated by clay minerals (e.g., kaolinite, mixed-layer illite/smectite, illite), and to a lesser extent, pyrite, quartz, and iron III hydroxyl-sulfate, along with traces of chlorite, and in some cases, jarosite, szomolnokite, anatase, and calcite. The clay minerals are of authigenic and detrital origins. The occurrence of anatase as cell-fillings also indicates an authigenic origin. With the exception of Ge and As, which are slightly enriched in the coals, the concentrations of other trace elements are either close to or much lower than the averages for world hard coals. Arsenic and Hg are also enriched in the top bench of the coal and probably occur in pyrite. The elemental associations (e.g., Al2O3/TiO2, Cr/Th-Sc/Th) indicate a sediment-source region with intermediate and felsic compositions. Rare metals, including Ga, rare earth elements and Ge, are highly enriched in the coal ashes, and the Gray Hawk coals have a great potential for industrial use of these metals. The rare earth elements in the samples are weakly fractionated or are characterized by heavy-REE enrichment, indicating an input of natural waters or probably epithermal solutions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mineralogical and Geochemical Characteristics of Late Permian Coals from the Mahe Mine, Zhaotong Coalfield, Northeastern Yunnan, China
Minerals 2015, 5(3), 380-396; https://doi.org/10.3390/min5030380 - 02 Jul 2015
Cited by 10
Abstract
This paper reports the mineralogical and geochemical compositions of the Late Permian C2, C5a, C5b, C6a, and C6b semianthracite coals from the Mahe mine, northeastern Yunnan, China. Minerals in the coals are mainly made up of quartz, chamosite, kaolinite, mixed-layer illite/smectite (I/S), pyrite, [...] Read more.
This paper reports the mineralogical and geochemical compositions of the Late Permian C2, C5a, C5b, C6a, and C6b semianthracite coals from the Mahe mine, northeastern Yunnan, China. Minerals in the coals are mainly made up of quartz, chamosite, kaolinite, mixed-layer illite/smectite (I/S), pyrite, and calcite; followed by anatase, dolomite, siderite, illite and marcasite. Similar to the Late Permian coals from eastern Yunnan, the authigenic quartz and chamosite were precipitated from the weathering solution of Emeishan basalt, while kaolinite and mixed-layer I/S occurring as lenses or thin beds were related to the weathering residual detrital of Emeishan basalt. However, the euhedral quartz and apatite particles in the Mahe coals were attributed to silicic-rock detrital input. It further indicates that there has been silicic igneous eruption in the northeastern Yunnan. Due to the silicic rock detrital input, the Eu/Eu* value of the Mahe coals is lower than that of the Late Permian coals from eastern Yunnan, where the detrital particles were mainly derived from the basalt. The high contents of Sc, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Ga, and Sn in the Mahe coals were mainly derived from the Kangdian Upland. Full article
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Open AccessCommentary
Notes on Contributions to the Science of Rare Earth Element Enrichment in Coal and Coal Combustion Byproducts
Minerals 2016, 6(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/min6020032 - 31 Mar 2016
Cited by 87
Abstract
Coal and coal combustion byproducts can have significant concentrations of lanthanides (rare earth elements). Rare earths are vital in the production of modern electronics and optics, among other uses. Enrichment in coals may have been a function of a number of processes, with [...] Read more.
Coal and coal combustion byproducts can have significant concentrations of lanthanides (rare earth elements). Rare earths are vital in the production of modern electronics and optics, among other uses. Enrichment in coals may have been a function of a number of processes, with contributions from volcanic ash falls being among the most significant mechanisms. In this paper, we discuss some of the important coal-based deposits in China and the US and critique classification systems used to evaluate the relative value of the rare earth concentrations and the distribution of the elements within the coals and coal combustion byproducts. Full article
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