Geologic Distribution: Lithium in coal is probably associated with clay minerals, micas and tourmaline 1. Mean whole coal lithium in West Virginia coals was 19.09 ppm. Lithium correlated with ash yield and the ash related elements such as thorium (Th), chromium (Cr), lead (Pb), vanadium (V), scandium (Sc) and zirconium (Zr). Lithium also correlated with rare earth elements which are components in the detrital mineral monazite such as cerium (Ce), lanthanum (La), samarium (Sm), europium (Eu), dysprosium (Dy) and neodymium (Nd). Lithium was low in coals of the Lower and Middle Pennsylvanian and higher and more variable in Upper Pennsylvanian coals of north central West Virginia.
Economic Impact: Lithium in coal is of no economic impact. Lithium is used in batteries, glass and ceramics, drying systems and lubricants 2.
Environmental Impact: Lithium in coal is not detrimental to the environment in mining and usage 3.
1. Finkelman, R.B., (1981)
2. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
3. Swaine, D.J., (1990)
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