WVGES Trace Elements in West Virginia Coals

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Cobalt Stratigraphic DistributionCobalt Geographic DistributionCobalt Summary Statistics

Cobalt is one of the Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) as outlined in Title III of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and its content in West Virginia coals is of environmental concern.

Geologic Distribution: Cobalt in coal occurs in the rare mineral linnaeite (Co3S4), other sulfides and in clay minerals, and associated with organic matter 1,2. Cobalt in West Virginia coals averaged 7.41 ppm on a whole coal basis. Cobalt did not statistically correlate with ash yield with the only significant correlation with nickel.  Cobalt showed no stratigraphic abundance trends with low averages in coals of the Upper Pennsylvanian resulting in a homogeneous areal distribution of low values.

Economic Impact: Cobalt in coal has no economic impact.  Cobalt is used in many alloys used in jet turbines and gas turbines 3.  Cobalt is used in electroplating, in blue colors in porcelain and glass, and cobalt-60 is an important artificial isotope used as tracers and radiotherapeutic agents 3.

Environmental Impact: Environmental aspects of cobalt in coal mining and use is minimal 1.  A comprehensive review of all aspects of environmental effects of cobalt are published in Smith and Carson (1981) 4.

    1. Swaine, D.J., (1990)
    2. Finkelman, R.B., (1981)
    3. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
    4. Smith, I.C, and Carson, B.L. (1981)
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