Distribution of rare earth elements and other critical elements in beneficiated Pennsylvania anthracites

James C. Hower, Cortland F. Eble, Na Wang, Shifeng Dai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The Pennsylvania Anthracite Fields are in a complex tectonic and metamorphic terrain, historically hosting one of the largest concentrations of coal mining in the USA. Anthracite mining now largely consists of the surface mining of the pillars remaining from the prime years of underground mining. The geochemical study of the sized coal products and the refuse (largely rock) from three preparation plants (breakers) demonstrates that Principal components analysis (PCA) of select major oxide, minor element, and rare earth elements illustrates some differentiation among the products from the individual plants. The rock samples, with abundant quartz and metamorphic Al-Si minerals and with a lower ash-basis REE concentration than the coals, were distinctly separated from the coal samples on the PCA plots. Plots of GdN/GdN* vs. EuN/EuN* and CeN/CeN* vs. EuN/ EuN* showed differentiation between the individual suites of coals showed that the refuse samples had distinct REE distributions compared to the associated coals. Several minor and trace elements show enrichments in the coal samples. Lithium, with concentrations of up to 314 ppm on an ash basis, is among the most promising of the critical elements, exceeding the enrichment of the REY and Sc.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121400
StatePublished - Nov 15 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Beneficiation
  • Coal
  • Critical elements
  • Lanthanides
  • Lithium
  • Macerals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Organic Chemistry


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