Geologic Occurrence: Copper in coal occurs mainly in the mineral chalcopyrite (CuFeS2), and other rare sulfides 1. Chalcopyrite was observed in moderate abundance in 18 of 24 coal samples with the SEM in an unpublished study by the WVGES. Copper averaged 20.40 ppm in West Virginia coals. Copper did not correlate with ash yield, and correlated moderately with lead (Pb) only. The stratigraphic distribution of copper shows moderate values in Lower and Middle Pennsylvanian coals, lower values in Upper Pennsylvanian coals and especially low Cu in Monongahela coals (Pittsburgh, Redstone and Sewickley).
Economic Impact: Copper in coal has no economic impact. Copper is primarily used in the electrical industry, in brass and bronze, and in coinage 2.
Environmental Impact: Copper in coal has no environmental significance in mining or use 1. However, copper has been listed as an element of "moderate concern" to the environment 3.
1. Finkelman, R.B., (1981)
2. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
3. PECH, (1980)
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