Geologic Distribution: Antimony occurrence in most coals is unclear but it is believed to be associated with the organic fraction of the coal 1. Antimony is also believed to occur in small sulfide grains, probably stibnite, dispersed in the organic fraction of coal 2. Probably because Sb was associated with the organic fraction, and in very low abundance, the element showed no trends in stratigraphic or geographic distribution in West Virginia coals. Whole coal antimony averaged 1.02 ppm, and did not statistically correlate with ash yield, total sulfur, pyritic sulfur or any other trace elements.
Economic Impact: Antimony is used as a hardener in lead for storage batteries, also in solders and other alloys, and is used in flame retardants in children's clothing, toys, aircraft and automobile seat covers 3.
Environmental Impact: Antimony is low in abundance in West Virginia coals, but coal combustion is one of the primary sources of atmospheric Sb along with volcanic emissions, metal smelting and waste incineration 1.
1. Swaine, D.J., (1990)
2. Finkelman, R.B., (1981)
3. USGS Minerals Information web site
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