Geologic Distribution: Tellurium is difficult to determine and very little is known about tellurium in coal 1. A single very small Au-Te particle of unknown mineralogy was observed in the Upper Freeport coal of Pennsylvania 2. Tellurium in West Virginia coals averaged 0.08 ppm and correlated poorly with ash yield and moderately with several elements including silver (Ag) and bismuth (Bi) and several ash related elements including lead (Pb), uranium (U), vanadium (V), scandium (Sc), chromium (Cr), thorium (Th), copper (Cu), lithium (Li) and rubidium (Rb). Tellurium displayed no variation in abundance stratigraphically with all coals averaging less than 0.10 ppm on a whole coal basis.
Economic Impact: Tellurium in coal has no economic impact. Tellurium is a basic ingredient in blasting caps, is added to cast iron for chill control, and is used in ceramics 3.
Environmental Impact: Tellurium is emitted to the atmosphere by volcanoes, but an absence of published information makes any assessment of Te in the environment incomplete 1. Tellurium and its compounds are probably toxic 3. Tellurium in coal is of such low abundance that it should have no detrimental environmental effects during mining or combustion 1.
1. Swaine, D.J., (1990)
2. Finkelman, R.B., (1981)
3. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
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