Special Issue "Toxic Mineral Matter in Coal and Coal Combustion Products"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (18 February 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Shifeng Dai

State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining, China University of Mining and Technology (Beijing), Beijing 100083, China
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Interests: coal mineralogy; coal geochemistry; coal petrology; coal geochemistry; coal combustion products
Guest Editor
Dr. Xibo Wang

State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining, China University of Mining and Technology (Beijing), Beijing 100083, China
E-Mail
Interests: coal geochemistry; coal mineralogy; coal petrology, coal geochemistry, and coal-bearing strata sedimentology
Guest Editor
Dr. Lei Zhao

State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining, China University of Mining and Technology (Beijing), Beijing 100083, China
E-Mail
Interests: mineral analytical techniques; coal geochemistry; coal mineralogy; coal petrology; environmental geochemistry; coal combustion products

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The toxic mineral matter described here encompasses dissolved toxic salts in the pore water of coal, toxic inorganic elements associated with the organic compounds of coal, as well as toxic discrete crystalline and non-crystalline mineral particles in coal and coal combustion products (CCPs). In many cases, discrete crystalline and non-crystalline mineral particles in coal and CCPs are the carriers of toxic elements. Such toxic components have been reported to have adverse (or potentially) effects on human health and environment during the process of coal mining, coal storage, and utilization (particularly coal combustion). This Special Issue covers basic research, advanced analytical methods, and technological measures for environmental protection related to toxic mineral matter in coal and in CCPs.

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

Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • toxic minerals
  • toxic elements
  • mineral matter
  • coal
  • coal combustion products

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Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Changes and Distribution of Modes of Occurrence of Seventeen Potentially-Hazardous Trace Elements during Entrained Flow Gasification of Coals from Ningdong, China
Minerals 2018, 8(5), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8050202
Received: 16 March 2018 / Revised: 17 April 2018 / Accepted: 24 April 2018 / Published: 8 May 2018
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Abstract
In order to reveal the migration of trace elements from coal to gasification residues, the modes of occurrence of potentially-hazardous trace elements (Be, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Mo, Cd, Sb, Ba, Hg, Tl, Pb, and U) were determined by [...] Read more.
In order to reveal the migration of trace elements from coal to gasification residues, the modes of occurrence of potentially-hazardous trace elements (Be, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Mo, Cd, Sb, Ba, Hg, Tl, Pb, and U) were determined by a five steps sequential chemical extraction procedure. Samples were collected from a coal-to-methanol plant (GE water-slurry coal gasification, formerly Texaco) and a coal-to-olefins plant (Gaskombimat Schwarze Pumpe pulverized coal gasification, GSP) in the Ningdong Energy and Chemical Industry Base, China. Concentrations of As and Se were determined using atomic fluorescence spectrometry (AFS). The content of Hg was determined using a DMA-80 mercury analyzer. Other trace elements (Be, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Mo, Cd, Sb, Ba, Tl, Pb, and U) were analyzed using inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). XRD and SEM-EDX were employed to determine the minerals or other inorganic phases in samples. The modes of occurrence of trace elements in feed coals can influence their behavior, including their volatility during coal gasification and, ultimately, the element’s mode of occurrence in the gasification residues. Knowing an element’s mode of occurrence in the feed coal may aid in anticipating which components the elements are likely to combine with during liquid slag cooling. Based on the relative enrichment of trace elements in the residues, elements Be, V, Cu, Mo, Ba, and Hg showed volatility during the GE and GSP gasification processes; As and Se showed volatilization-condensation behavior during the GE and GSP gasification processes; Cr, Ni, Zn, Cd, Sb, Tl, Pb, and U showed volatility during the GE gasification process; Zn, Cd, Sb, Pb, and Tl in the GSP samples, as well as Co in the GE samples, showed volatilization-condensation behavior; and Cr, Co, Ni, and U showed less volatility during the GSP gasification process. In the gasification residues, quartz, calcite, and Al–Si glass were the main inorganic phases, carbonates and iron and manganese oxides (likely recrystallized calcite) were the main hosts of most trace elements in the residues, including Be, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Zn, As, Cd, Ba, Hg, Tl, Pb, and U. Copper, Zn, Se, Cd, and Sb tended to stay in the Al–Si glass. Molybdenum is likely precipitated with the sulfides in the residues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Mineral Matter in Coal and Coal Combustion Products)
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Open AccessArticle
Source and Enrichment of Toxic Elements in Coal Seams around Mafic Intrusions: Constraints from Pyrites in the Yuandian Coal Mine in Anhui, Eastern China
Minerals 2018, 8(4), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8040164
Received: 7 March 2018 / Revised: 8 April 2018 / Accepted: 8 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
Pyrite, a mineral that can cause potential environmental issues in coal mining, is commonly found in coal seams around intrusions. In this paper, pyrites from the Yuandian Coal Mine (Huaibei Coalfield, Anhui, Eastern China) were studied using SEM, Raman and LA-ICP-MS. The pyrite [...] Read more.
Pyrite, a mineral that can cause potential environmental issues in coal mining, is commonly found in coal seams around intrusions. In this paper, pyrites from the Yuandian Coal Mine (Huaibei Coalfield, Anhui, Eastern China) were studied using SEM, Raman and LA-ICP-MS. The pyrite morphologic and geochemical data suggest that (1) four pyrite generations are present (framboidal sedimentary pyrites (Py I) in the original coal, coarse-grained magmatic pyrites (Py II) in the intruding diabase, fine-grained metamorphic pyrites (Py III) in the intrusive contact aureole, and spheroid/vein hydrothermal pyrites (Py IV) in the cokeite); and (2) concentrations of cobalt, nickel, arsenic, selenium, lead and copper in the metamorphic pyrites are much higher than the other pyrite generations. We propose that mafic magmatism is the main contributor of the toxic elements to the intrusion-related cokeite at Yuandian. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Mineral Matter in Coal and Coal Combustion Products)
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Open AccessArticle
Undifferentiated Inorganics in Coal Fly Ash and Bottom Ash: Calcispheres, Magnesiacalcispheres, and Magnesiaspheres
Minerals 2018, 8(4), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8040140
Received: 22 February 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 2 April 2018
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Abstract
During a study aiming to recover strategic elements and minerals from coal fly ash and bottom ash (RAREASH and CHARPHITE projects funded, respectively, by the 2nd ERA-MIN and 3rd ERA-MIN Programs of the European Union Commission), it was found that in coal fly [...] Read more.
During a study aiming to recover strategic elements and minerals from coal fly ash and bottom ash (RAREASH and CHARPHITE projects funded, respectively, by the 2nd ERA-MIN and 3rd ERA-MIN Programs of the European Union Commission), it was found that in coal fly ash and bottom ash from Romania and Poland, several morphotypes did not fit into the general fly ash classifications, unless grouped together as “undifferentiated inorganics”. However, the combination of reflected light optical microscopy under oil immersion, scanning electron microscopy, and X-ray microanalysis (SEM/EDS) showed that many of these morphotypes not only have distinctive petrographic patterns but are also characterized by a chemical assemblage dominated by Ca, Mg, and P. In this paper, a survey of the literature is presented together with several detailed studies of samples from the RAREASH and CHARPHITE projects from which the following nomenclature are proposed: “calcispheres” for spongy Ca-rich morphotypes, “calcimagnesiaspheres” for (Ca + Mg)-rich morphotypes with visible MgO nodules and/or periclase (MgO) exsolved from Ca aluminate-silicate glass, and “magnesiaspheres” divided into “magnesiaferrospheres” for (Mg + Fe)-rich morphotypes with magnesioferrite, and “magnesiaoxyspheres” for magnesiaspheres mainly composed of (Mg + Fe)-rich amorphous material with visible MgO nodules and/or periclase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Mineral Matter in Coal and Coal Combustion Products)
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Open AccessArticle
Mineralogical and Geochemical Compositions of the Lopingian Coals in the Zhongliangshan Coalfield, Southwestern China
Minerals 2018, 8(3), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8030104
Received: 10 January 2018 / Revised: 25 February 2018 / Accepted: 27 February 2018 / Published: 6 March 2018
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Abstract
The mineralogical and geochemical compositions of the Lopingian coals from an exploratory drill core (ZK4-1) in the Zhongliangshan Coalfield, southwestern China are reported in this paper. The Zhongliangshan coals are medium volatile bituminous in rank (random vitrinite reflectance, average 1.38%), characterized by a [...] Read more.
The mineralogical and geochemical compositions of the Lopingian coals from an exploratory drill core (ZK4-1) in the Zhongliangshan Coalfield, southwestern China are reported in this paper. The Zhongliangshan coals are medium volatile bituminous in rank (random vitrinite reflectance, average 1.38%), characterized by a medium-ash yield (26.84%) and high sulfur content (3.38%). Minerals in the Zhongliangshan coals are mainly composed of clay assemblages (kaolinite, the illite/smectite mixed layer (I/S) and chamosite), pyrite, quartz, carbonate minerals (calcite, marcasite, ankerite, and dolomite), and anatase, followed by rutile, jarosite, natrojarosite, bassanite, gypsum and K-feldspar, with traces of apatite, rhabdophane and barite. Compared with the average concentrations of the world hard coals, some trace elements including Li, V, Co, Cu, Se, Y, Zr, Nb, rare earth elements (REE), Cd, Ta, Hf and Hg, are enriched in the Zhongliangshan coals. The modes of occurrence of chamosite, barite, rhabdophane, quartz and calcite in the Zhongliangshan coals indicate that the coals have probably been affected by the injection of low-temperature hydrothermal fluids. Based on the concentrations of Sc, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu and Zn, the ratios of Al2O3/TiO2 and the upper continental crust-normalized rare earth element and yttrium (REY) distribution patterns of the Zhongliangshan coals, the dominant sediment source regions are the Leshan–Longnvsi Uplift, Hannan Upland, and Dabashan Uplift, with a small proportion of terrigenous materials from the Kangdian Upland. The K7 and the upper portion of K1 coals have the potential as raw materials for the recovery of REY. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Mineral Matter in Coal and Coal Combustion Products)
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Open AccessArticle
Sequential Transformation Behavior of Iron-Bearing Minerals during Underground Coal Gasification
Minerals 2018, 8(3), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8030090
Received: 31 December 2017 / Revised: 11 February 2018 / Accepted: 12 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
Detailed mineralogical information from underground coal gasification (UCG) is essential to better understand the chemical reactions far below the surface. It is of great scientific significance to study the mineral transformation and identify the typical minerals in certain process conditions, because it may [...] Read more.
Detailed mineralogical information from underground coal gasification (UCG) is essential to better understand the chemical reactions far below the surface. It is of great scientific significance to study the mineral transformation and identify the typical minerals in certain process conditions, because it may help to ensure the stable operation of gasification processes and improve the utilization efficiency of coal seams. The transformation of iron-bearing minerals has the typical characteristics during the UCG process and is expected to indicate the process parameters. In this paper, UCG progress was subdivided into pyrolysis, reduction and oxidation stages, and the progressive coal conversion products were prepared. Two types of lignite with different iron contents, Ulankarma and Ulanqab coals, were used in this study. The minerals in the coal transformation products were identified by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and a scanning electron microscope coupled with an energy-dispersive spectrometer (SEM-EDS). The thermodynamic calculation performed using the phase diagram of FactSage 7.1 was used to help to understand the transformation of minerals. The results indicate that the transformation behavior of iron-bearing minerals in the two lignites are similar during the pyrolysis process, in which pyrite (FeS2) in the raw coal is gradually converted into pyrrhotite (Fe1−xS). In the reduction stage, pyrrhotite is transformed into magnetite (Fe3O4) and then changes to FeO. The reaction of FeO and Al2O3 in the low iron coal produces hercynite above 1000 °C because of the difference in the contents of Si and Al, while in the high iron coal, FeO reacts with SiO2 to generate augite (Fe2Si2O6). When the temperature increases to 1400 °C, both hercynite and augite are converted to the thermodynamically-stable sekaninaite. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Mineral Matter in Coal and Coal Combustion Products)
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping of Trace Elements in Coal and Ash Research Based on a Bibliometric Analysis Method Spanning 1971–2017
Minerals 2018, 8(3), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8030089
Received: 8 December 2017 / Revised: 22 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
Coal is the most important fossil energy used in China. The environmental impact of trace elements released in coal combustion has become one of the hottest issues in recent years. Based on a software named CiteSpace, and social network analysis (SNA), a bibliometric [...] Read more.
Coal is the most important fossil energy used in China. The environmental impact of trace elements released in coal combustion has become one of the hottest issues in recent years. Based on a software named CiteSpace, and social network analysis (SNA), a bibliometric analysis of research into trace elements in coal and ash field during 1971–2017 is presented with the information of authors, countries, institutions, journals, hot issues and research trends in the present study. The study results indicate that: (1) Shifeng Dai, Robert B Finkelman, Guijian Liu and James C Hower have a large number of publications with great influence. (2) China (29.8%) and USA (22.2%) have high productivity in total publications. China and the USA correlate closely in the cooperative web system. (3) China University of Mining and Technology and Chinese Academy of Sciences take the leading position in the quantity of publications among all research institutions. (4) Energy and fuels, engineering and environmental science are three disciplines with the most studies in this field. (5) International Journal of Coal Geology, Fuel, Energy and Fuels and Fuel Processing Technology are the top four journals with the most publications in this field. (6) The enrichment origin and modes of occurrence of trace elements are the mainstream research related to trace elements in coal and ash. The environmental problems caused by coal combustion have promoted the development of trace elements in coal research, and human health is getting more and more popular in recent years. The study findings provide a better understanding of features of trace elements in coal and ash research, which could be taken as a reference for future studies in this field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Mineral Matter in Coal and Coal Combustion Products)
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Open AccessArticle
Geochemistry of Toxic Elements and Their Removal via the Preparation of High-Uranium Coal in Southwestern China
Minerals 2018, 8(3), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8030083
Received: 9 January 2018 / Revised: 7 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
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Abstract
High-uranium (U) coal is the dominant form of coal in Southwestern China. However, directly utilizing this resource can also harm the environment because this element is radioactive; it is, therefore, necessary to clean this kind of coal before burning. This research studied the [...] Read more.
High-uranium (U) coal is the dominant form of coal in Southwestern China. However, directly utilizing this resource can also harm the environment because this element is radioactive; it is, therefore, necessary to clean this kind of coal before burning. This research studied the geochemistry of toxic elements and their partitioning during the preparation of high-U coal in China. The results show that high-U coals are mainly distributed in Southwestern China and are characterized by a high organic sulfur (S) content and vanadium (V)-chromium (Cr)-molybdenum (Mo)-U element assemblage. These elements are well-correlated with one another, but are all negatively related to ash yield, indicating that all four are syngenetic in origin and associated with organic materials. A mineralogical analysis shows that U in Ganhe and Rongyang coal occurs within fine-grained anatase, clay minerals, guadarramite, and pyrite, while V occurs in clay minerals, pyrite, and dolomite, and Cr occurs in dolomite. Other elements, such as fluorine (F), lead (Pb), selenium (Se), and mercury (Hg), mainly occur in pyrite. By applying a gravity separation method to separate minerals from coal, the content of the enrichment element assemblage of V-Cr-Mo-U in Rongyang coal is still shown to be higher than, or close to, that of the original feed because this element assemblage is derived from hydrothermal fluids during syngenetic or early diagenetic phases, but other elements (beryllium [Be], F, manganese [Mn], zinc [Zn], Pb, arsenic [As], Se, Hg) can be efficiently removed. Once cleaned, the coal obtained by gravity separation was subject to a flotation test to separate minerals; these results indicate that while a portion of V and Cr can be removed, Mo and U remain difficult to extract. It is evident that the two most commonly utilized industrialized coal preparation methods, gravity separation and flotation, cannot effectively remove U from coal where this element occurs in large proportions. Finally, dilute hydrochloric acid (HCl) leaching experiments show that the majority of Mo and a portion of V, Cr, and U are adsorbed in clay minerals and organic matter and, therefore, exist in an adsorbed state. In this state, these elements can be removed using the acid method. Thus, as U cannot be fully removed from coal, the use of high-U coals is not recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Mineral Matter in Coal and Coal Combustion Products)
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Open AccessArticle
Peat-Forming Environments and Evolution of Thick Coal Seam in Shengli Coalfield, China: Evidence from Geochemistry, Coal Petrology, and Palynology
Minerals 2018, 8(3), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8030082
Received: 3 November 2017 / Revised: 13 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 26 February 2018
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Abstract
Due to the importance of the wide occurrence of thick coal seams for Chinese coal resources, the origins of these seams have received considerable attention. Using the Early Cretaceous No. 5 coal seam with a thickness of 16.8 m in Inner Mongolia as [...] Read more.
Due to the importance of the wide occurrence of thick coal seams for Chinese coal resources, the origins of these seams have received considerable attention. Using the Early Cretaceous No. 5 coal seam with a thickness of 16.8 m in Inner Mongolia as a case study, this paper presents a systematic investigation of the coal petrology, geochemistry, and palynology of 19 coal samples to explain the origin and evolution of peat accumulation. The results indicate that the No. 5 coal seam is generally characterized by low rank (lignite), dominant huminite (average = 82.3%), intermediate ash yield (average = 16.03%), and sulfur content (average = 1.12%). The proportion of spores generally increases from the bottom to the top of the coal seam, whereas the proportion of pollen decreases. The vegetation in the coal seam is dominated by gymnosperms at the bottom and by ferns at the top. The paleographic precursor peat was most likely accumulated in the lakeshore where herbaceous and bushy helophytes were dominant. The total sulfur content was positively related to the huminite content. The sulfur content was possibly derived from bacterial action with sulfur brought in via marine incursions. Three overall declining-increasing values of carbon isotopes within the No. 5 coal seam possibly indicated three general cooling trends during peat accumulation. The environment of peat accumulation included three cycles, including one drying-wetting-drying in the bottom part and two drying-upwards cycles in the upper part. These cycles of the peat-accumulation environment could likely be ascribed to climate change because of their good agreement with humidity signals from plant types at that stage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Mineral Matter in Coal and Coal Combustion Products)
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Open AccessArticle
Washability and Distribution Behaviors of Trace Elements of a High-Sulfur Coal, SW Guizhou, China
Minerals 2018, 8(2), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8020059
Received: 27 December 2017 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 5 February 2018 / Published: 11 February 2018
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Abstract
The float-sink test is a commonly used technology for the study of coal washability, which determines optimal separation density for coal washing based on the desired sulfur and ash yield of the cleaned coal. In this study, the float-sink test is adopted for [...] Read more.
The float-sink test is a commonly used technology for the study of coal washability, which determines optimal separation density for coal washing based on the desired sulfur and ash yield of the cleaned coal. In this study, the float-sink test is adopted for a high-sulfur Late Permian coal from Hongfa coalmine (No.26), southwestern Guizhou, China, to investigate its washability, and to analyze the organic affinities and distribution behaviors of some toxic and valuable trace elements. Results show that the coal is difficult to separate in terms of desulfurization. A cleaned coal could theoretically be obtained with a yield of 75.50%, sulfur 2.50%, and ash yield 11.33% when the separation density is 1.57 g/cm3. Trace elements’ distribution behaviors during the gravity separation were evaluated by correlation analysis and calculation. It was found that Cs, Ga, Ta, Th, Rb, Sb, Nb, Hf, Ba, Pb, In, Cu, and Zr are of significant inorganic affinity; while Sn, Co, Re, U, Mo, V, Cr, Ni, and Be are of relatively strong organic affinity. LREE (Light rare earth elements), however, seem to have weaker organic affinity than HREE (Heavy rare earth elements), which can probably be attributed to lanthanide contraction. When the separation density is 1.60 g/cm3, a large proportion of Sn, Be, Cr, U, V, Mo, Ni, Cd, Pb, and Cu migrate to the cleaned coal, but most of Mn, Sb and Th stay in the gangue. Coal preparation provides alternativity for either toxic elements removal or valuable elements preconcentration in addition to desulfurization and deashing. The enrichment of trace elements in the cleaned coal depends on the predetermined separation density which will influence the yields and ash yields of the cleaned coal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Mineral Matter in Coal and Coal Combustion Products)
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Open AccessArticle
13C-NMR Study on Structure Evolution Characteristics of High-Organic-Sulfur Coals from Typical Chinese Areas
Minerals 2018, 8(2), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8020049
Received: 8 January 2018 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 1 February 2018
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Abstract
The structure evolution characteristics of high-organic-sulfur (HOS) coals with a wide range of ranks from typical Chinese areas were investigated using 13C-CP/MAS NMR. The results indicate that the structure parameters that are relevant to coal rank include CH3 carbon (f [...] Read more.
The structure evolution characteristics of high-organic-sulfur (HOS) coals with a wide range of ranks from typical Chinese areas were investigated using 13C-CP/MAS NMR. The results indicate that the structure parameters that are relevant to coal rank include CH3 carbon (fal*), quaternary carbon, CH/CH2 carbon + quaternary carbon (falH), aliphatic carbon (falC), protonated aromatic carbon (faH), protonated aromatic carbon + aromatic bridgehead carbon (faH+B), aromaticity (faCP), and aromatic carbon (farC). The coal structure changed dramatically in the first two coalification jumps, especially the first one. A large number of aromatic structures condensed, and aliphatic structures rapidly developed at the initial stage of bituminous coal accompanied by remarkable decarboxylation. Compared to ordinary coals, the structure evolution characteristics of HOS coals manifest in three ways: First, the aromatic CH3 carbon, alkylated aromatic carbon (faS), aromatic bridgehead carbon (faB), and phenolic ether (faP) are barely relevant to rank, and abundant organic sulfur has an impact on the normal evolution process of coal. Second, the average aromatic cluster sizes of some super-high-organic-sulfur (SHOS) coals are not large, and the extensive development of cross bonds and/or bridged bonds form closer connections among the aromatic fringes. Moreover, sulfur-containing functional groups are probably significant components in these linkages. Third, a considerable portion of “oxygen-containing functional groups” in SHOS coals determined by 13C-NMR are actually sulfur-containing groups, which results in the anomaly that the oxygen-containing structures increase with coal rank. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Mineral Matter in Coal and Coal Combustion Products)
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Open AccessArticle
Tellurium Enrichment in Jurassic Coal, Brora, Scotland
Minerals 2017, 7(12), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7120231
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 20 November 2017 / Accepted: 21 November 2017 / Published: 23 November 2017
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Abstract
Mid-Jurassic pyritic coals exposed at the village of Brora, northern Scotland, UK, contain a marked enrichment of tellurium (Te) relative to crustal mean, average world coal compositions and British Isles Carboniferous coals. The Te content of Brora coal pyrite is more than one [...] Read more.
Mid-Jurassic pyritic coals exposed at the village of Brora, northern Scotland, UK, contain a marked enrichment of tellurium (Te) relative to crustal mean, average world coal compositions and British Isles Carboniferous coals. The Te content of Brora coal pyrite is more than one order of magnitude higher than in sampled pyrite of Carboniferous coals. The Te enrichment coincides with selenium (Se) and mercury (Hg) enrichment in the rims of pyrite, and Se/Te is much lower than in pyrites of Carboniferous coals. Initial pyrite formation is attributed to early burial (syn-diagenesis), with incorporation of Te, Se, Hg and lead (Pb) during later pyrite formation. The source of Te may have been a local hydrothermal system which was responsible for alluvial gold (Au) in the region, with some Au in Brora headwaters occurring as tellurides. Anomalous Te is not ubiquitous in coal, but may occur locally, and is detectable by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Mineral Matter in Coal and Coal Combustion Products)
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Open AccessArticle
Mineralogical and Geochemical Compositions of the Lopingian Coals and Carbonaceous Rocks in the Shugentian Coalfield, Yunnan, China: with Emphasis on Fe-Bearing Minerals in a Continental-Marine Transitional Environment
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7090170
Received: 28 July 2017 / Revised: 31 August 2017 / Accepted: 9 September 2017 / Published: 14 September 2017
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Abstract
This paper presents the mineralogical and geochemical compositions of coal benches and non-coal (carbonaceous rock benches, parting, roof and floor) samples from the No. 1 Coal in the Longtan Formation of the Permian-Lopingian epoch from the Shugentian Coalfield, eastern Yunnan Province, southwestern China. [...] Read more.
This paper presents the mineralogical and geochemical compositions of coal benches and non-coal (carbonaceous rock benches, parting, roof and floor) samples from the No. 1 Coal in the Longtan Formation of the Permian-Lopingian epoch from the Shugentian Coalfield, eastern Yunnan Province, southwestern China. The coal is rich in Nb, Ta, Zr, and Hf, which were derived from the Kangdian Upland with the dominant compositions of the Emeishan basalt. The minerals identified in the samples include mixed-layer illite-smectite, kaolinite, quartz, siderite, and minor calcite, pyrite, anatase and ankerite. Albite and chamosite occur in the roof and floor samples. The parting sample (SGT1-2p) is characterized by abundant siderite (64.9%) and calcite (20.1%), and one carbonaceous rock sample SGT1-11 contained a large amount of pyrite (26.1%). Four factors were responsible for the geochemical and mineralogical compositions in the samples; namely, the terrigenous detrital materials transported from the Kangdian Upland, direct volcanic ash inputs, multi-stage inputs of hydrothermal fluids, and marine influences. The co-existence of siderite and pyrite was attributed to a continental-marine transitional environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Mineral Matter in Coal and Coal Combustion Products)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Concentration and Distribution of Cadmium in Coals of China
Minerals 2018, 8(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8020048
Received: 25 October 2017 / Revised: 25 January 2018 / Accepted: 29 January 2018 / Published: 1 February 2018
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Abstract
Cadmium is considered an important toxicant of major environmental and occupational concern. It can contaminate water, soil, and the atmosphere through coal mining, beneficiation, combustion, etc. This paper is based on the published literature, especially those data reported during the recent 10 years, [...] Read more.
Cadmium is considered an important toxicant of major environmental and occupational concern. It can contaminate water, soil, and the atmosphere through coal mining, beneficiation, combustion, etc. This paper is based on the published literature, especially those data reported during the recent 10 years, including 2999 individual samples from 116 coalfields or mines in 26 provinces in China. The arithmetic mean of cadmium in Chinese coals is 0.43 μg/g. Taking the coal reserves into consideration, the average value of cadmium in coal is estimated as 0.28 μg/g. Cadmium is mostly enriched in the Southern coal-distribution area during the Late Permian. Furthermore, cadmium is highly enriched in Hunan and Chongqing. The modes of occurrence of cadmium in Chinese coals are quite complex. Cadmium in Chinese coals has been found in sulfides, organic matter, silicate minerals, and other minerals. A marine environment may be the most significant factor that influences the cadmium accumulation in coal from the Southern coal-distribution area during the Late Permian. In addition, hydrothermal fluids, source rocks, and volcanic ash have also influenced the content of cadmium in some coalfields in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Mineral Matter in Coal and Coal Combustion Products)
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Open AccessReview
Abundance, Distribution, and Modes of Occurrence of Uranium in Chinese Coals
Minerals 2017, 7(12), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7120239
Received: 27 October 2017 / Revised: 28 November 2017 / Accepted: 29 November 2017 / Published: 1 December 2017
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Abstract
Due to its environmental and resource impacts, the geochemistry of uranium in coal is of both academic and practical significance. In order to give a comprehensive summary about the geochemistry of uranium in coals, the abundance, distribution, and modes of occurrence of uranium [...] Read more.
Due to its environmental and resource impacts, the geochemistry of uranium in coal is of both academic and practical significance. In order to give a comprehensive summary about the geochemistry of uranium in coals, the abundance, distribution, and modes of occurrence of uranium in Chinese coals were reviewed in this paper. Although some coals from southwestern and northwestern China are significantly enriched in uranium, the common Chinese coals are of a comparable uranium concentration to the world coals. The roof and floor rocks, and parting of coalbeds, or coal benches that are close to the surrounding rock are favorable hosts for uranium in one coalbed. The uranium concentrations in coals of different ages decrease in this order, e.g., Paleogene and Neogene > Late Permian > Late Triassic > Late Carboniferous and Early Permian > Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous > Early and Middle Jurassic. Uranium in Chinese coals is mainly associated with organic matter, and is correspondingly enriched in subbituminous coal and lignite. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Mineral Matter in Coal and Coal Combustion Products)
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Open AccessReview
Fluorine in Chinese Coal: A Review of Distribution, Abundance, Modes of Occurrence, Genetic Factors and Environmental Effects
Minerals 2017, 7(11), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7110219
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 29 October 2017 / Accepted: 2 November 2017 / Published: 10 November 2017
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Abstract
Fluorine, a hazard that is associated with coal, has resulted in serious environmental issues during the production and utilization of coal. In this paper, we provide a detailed review of fluorine in Chinese coal, including the distribution, concentration, modes of occurrence, genetic factors, [...] Read more.
Fluorine, a hazard that is associated with coal, has resulted in serious environmental issues during the production and utilization of coal. In this paper, we provide a detailed review of fluorine in Chinese coal, including the distribution, concentration, modes of occurrence, genetic factors, and environmental effects. The average concentration of fluorine in Chinese coal is 130.0 mg/kg, which is slightly higher than coal worldwide (88.0 mg/kg). The enrichment of fluorine in Chinese coal varies across different coal deposit regions, and it is especially high in Inner Mongolia (Junger coalfield, Daqingshan coalfield) and southwest China (coal mining regions in Yunnan, Guizhou province). The fluorine distribution is uneven, with a relatively high content in southwest coal (including Yunnan, Guizhou, Chongqing, and Sichuan provinces), very high content in the coal of North China (Inner Mongolia) and South China (Guangxi), and is occasionally found in the northwest (Qinghai). Fluorine occurs in various forms in coal, such as independent minerals (fluorine exists as fluorapatite or fluorite in coal from Muli of Qinghai, Taoshuping of Yunnan, Guiding of Guizhou, and Daqingshan of Inner Mongolia), adsorption on minerals (fluorine in coal from Nantong, Songzao of Chongqing, Guxu of Sichuan, and Shengli, Daqingshan, and Junger from Inner Mongolia), substitution in minerals (Wuda coal, Inner Mongolia), and a water-soluble form (Haerwusu coal, Inner Mongolia). The enrichment of fluorine is mainly attributed to the weathering of source rock and hydrothermal fluids; in addition to that, volcanic ash, marine water influence, and groundwater affect the fluorine enrichment in some cases. Some environmental and human health problems are related to fluorine in coal, such as damage to the surrounding environment and husbandry (poisoning of livestock) during the coal combustion process, and many people have suffered from fluorosis due to the burning of coal (endemic fluorosis in southwest China). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Mineral Matter in Coal and Coal Combustion Products)
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Open AccessReview
Distribution, Enrichment and Modes of Occurrence of Arsenic in Chinese Coals
Minerals 2017, 7(7), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/min7070114
Received: 10 April 2017 / Revised: 28 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 3 July 2017
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Abstract
Arsenic is one of the toxic trace elements in coals, which is harmful to both the ecological environment and human health. Based on published literature and the data obtained by our research group, a total of 5314 As concentrations of Chinese coals were [...] Read more.
Arsenic is one of the toxic trace elements in coals, which is harmful to both the ecological environment and human health. Based on published literature and the data obtained by our research group, a total of 5314 As concentrations of Chinese coals were analyzed. The arithmetic mean of arsenic content in Chinese coals is 6.97 mg/kg. Choosing the percentage of provincial coal resources in national coal resources as the weighting factor, the weighted average of arsenic content in Chinese coals is 5.33 mg/kg. The content of arsenic in Chinese coals increases from the north to the south. High arsenic content in coal primarily occurs in southwestern Yunnan and certain coalfields in the Guizhou Province. Additionally, arsenic is enriched in the coals from some regions, i.e., the western Yunnan, Guangxi, Tibet, southwestern Liaoning, Jilin, and Henan. The arsenic content in coals of different coal-forming periods shows an overall regularity: Paleogene and Neogene > Late Triassic > Late Permian > Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous > Early and Middle Jurassic > Late Carboniferous and Early Permian. The modes of occurrence of arsenic in coals include sulfide-association, organic-association, arsenate-association, silicate-association, and soluble- and exchangeable-association. Generally, arsenic in Chinese coals exists predominantly in arsenic-bearing pyrite. Meanwhile, the organic arsenic content is relatively high in coal samples with a lower (<5.5 mg/kg) arsenic content and a low or medium ash yield (<30%). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxic Mineral Matter in Coal and Coal Combustion Products)
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