Geologic Distribution: The primary association of yttrium in coal is in the trace mineral xenotime (YPO4) 1. Yttrium is also a minor component of the mineral monazite. Xenotime was found in 13 of 24 coal samples and monazite was found in 22 of 24 samples examined in an unpublished study by the WVGES. Yttrium averaged 7.53 ppm in West Virginia coals. Yttrium did not correlate with ash yield, total sulfur, or pyritic sulfur but moderately with several rare earth elements including dysprosium (Dy), erbium (Er), ytterbium (Yb), neodymium (Nd), lutetium Lu), gadolinium (Gd), europium (Eu) and samarium (Sm) and several ash related elements such as vanadium (V), gallium (Ga), scandium (Sc), zirconium (Zr) and lead (Pb). Yttrium shows a slight trend with most coals containing less than 10 ppm, and highest Y in coals of the middle Kanawha Formation and above, with low Y in the important Monongahela Group Pittsburgh and Redstone coals.
Economic Impact: Yttrium is mainly used in red phosphors for television picture tubes 2.
Environmental Impact: Yttrium is an element with no detrimental environmental effects during mining or utilization 1.
1. Swaine, D.J., (1990)
2. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
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