WVGES Trace Elements in West Virginia Coals

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Molybdenum Stratigraphic DistributionMolybdenum Geographic DistributionMolybdenum Summary Statistics

Molybdenum is a trace element of little environmental concern.

Geologic Distribution: Molybdenum occurs in pyrite and other sulfides in coal, and is also partially organically bound 1,2. Mean Mo in West Virginia coals on a whole coal basis was 2.37 ppm and did not correlate with ash yield, total sulfur, pyritic sulfur or other trace elements. Molybdenum exhibited a distinct stratigraphic trend with very low abundance in coals of the Lower and Middle Pennsylvanian in southern West Virginia, moderate Mo in coals of the upper Conemaugh and Monongahela Groups in north central WV, and high Mo in the Brush Creek, Bakerstown and Harlem coals of the Conemaugh Group and thin Pittsburgh and Redstone coals from deep cores in Wetzel County (see cautionary note page).

Economic Impact: Molybdenum in coal is probably of no economic concern. Molybdenum is a valuable alloying agent in steel making and other alloys, used in the manufacture of furnace electrodes, and in nuclear energy applications and is a valuable catalyst in petroleum refining 3.

Environmental Impact: Molybdenum apparently has little environmental impact on mining and usage 2.  Molybdenum retained in fly ash may be a problem in disposal of the ash, especially if the fly ash is used as a soil amendment 2.

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