Geologic Occurrence: Erbium occurs in minor amounts in trace minerals rich in REE, mainly monazite and xenotime1. Erbium averaged 1.09 ppm on a whole coal basis. Erbium did not statistically correlate with ash yield, but did correlate with several elements found in trace amounts in the mineral monazite commonly found in West Virginia coals. Erbium displayed no trends in either stratigraphic or areal distribution in West Virginia.
Economic Impact: Erbium in coal has no economic impact. Erbium has nuclear and metallurgical applications, and is used to impart a pink color in glass 1.
Environmental Impact: Rare earth elements, erbium included, have no environmental impact in coal mining or utilization 2.
1. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
2. Swaine, D.J., (1990)
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