WVGES Trace Elements in West Virginia Coals

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Indium is an element low in abundance with no discernible stratigraphic or geographic trends and is of no environmental concern.

Geologic Distribution: Indium was above the detection limits in only 5 of 546 coal samples analyzed and ranged from 0.37 to 1.28 ppm on a whole coal basis.  In the literature indium is associated with sulfides or carbonate minerals 1, including sphalerite from Illinois coals 2, and clays 3. Two of the 5 samples containing detectable In were from the Redstone coal, others were samples of the Peerless, No.2 Gas and Coalburg coals.

Economic Impact: Indium in coal has no economic impact. Indium is used in bearing alloys, germanium transistors, rectifiers, thermistors and photoconductors 4.

Environmental Impact: Indium has no known deleterious health or environmental effects 3, 4.

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