WVGES Trace Elements in West Virginia Coals

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Rhenium is a minor trace element in West Virginia coals and is of no environmental concern.

Geologic Distribution: Rhenium was detected in only 1 sample of 546 samples of West Virginia coals analyzed. This sample of the Pocahontas No. 6 coal contained 0.57 ppm Re on a whole coal basis.  Little is known of the mode of occurrence of Re in coal, and Re does not exist in a distinct mineral species 1. Rhenium may be bound in the organic fraction of coal, but may also be dispersed in fine molybdenum sulfide grains 2.

Economic Impact: Rhenium in coal is of no economic value. Rhenium is used in filaments for mass spectrographs and ion gages, rhenium-tungsten thermocouples, electrical contacts and rhenium wire is used in photoflash lamps 1. Re is also used as a catalyst 1.

Environmental Impact: Rhenium has no apparent deleterious effect on the environment 2, , and is of unknown toxicity 1.

    1. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
    2. Swaine, D.J., (1990)
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