WVGES Trace Elements in West Virginia Coals

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Gold is a ultra-low abundance trace element in West Virginia coals with no known environmental or economic impact.

Geologic Occurrence: Of 548 samples analyzed, only 2 contained detectable amounts of gold. An Upper Freeport sample contained 8.823 ppm and a Pittsburgh coal sample contained 3.300 ppm, with Au in other samples below the detection limits.  Gold was observed in several coals using scanning electron microscopy as native gold particles several microns in size and in gold telluride 1.  Pyrite in coal also probably contains some gold 2.  Gold in West Virginia coals is very likely of detrital origin as extremely small particles dispersed in ultra-low trace amounts.

Economic Impact: Gold in coal is of no economic importance.  Gold is used in coinage, jewelry, dental work, plating, electrical contacts 3.

Environmental Impact: Gold in coal has no reported environmental impact.

    1.  Finkelman, R.B., (1981)
    2.  Swaine, D.J., (1990)
    3.  CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
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