North-Central Section - 50th Annual Meeting - 2016

Paper No. 1-9
Presentation Time: 11:20 AM


KLITZING, Kyle L.1, KOLKER, Allan2, GEBOY, Nicholas J.3, VANCIL, Gary4 and LEFTICARIU, Liliana1, (1)Department of Geology, Southern Illinois University, 1259 Lincoln Dr, Carbondale, IL 62901, (2)Eastern Energy Resources Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, 956 National Center, Reston, VA 20192, (3)Eastern Energy Resources Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 956, Reston, VA 20192, (4)American Coal Company, Harrisburg, IL 62946,

In the Illinois Basin, coal has been an important natural resource of energy and byproduct materials. Certain coals are enriched in inorganic matter which includes minerals and trace elements. Coals with anomalously high concentrations of trace elements are a promising source of critical metals that can be recovered as byproducts during coal mining and combustion. Metals, including rare-earth elements and yttrium (REY) as well as Ge, Ga, Ag, Au, Cs, Sc, V, Mo, and W, if present in anomalously high concentrations in some coals, can be recovered as by-products during coal mining and combustion.

Here we report preliminary data on the concentrations of REY in samples of coal, cleaned coal and coal refuse from a coal preparation facility at an underground mine in Saline County, IL, as well as acid mine drainage at an abandoned coal mine site, in Jackson County, IL. Geochemical analyses indicate that some coals in the Illinois Basin affected by hydrothermal activity can be enriched in Ce, La, Nd, and Y, with the total REY concentration > 150 ppm, as well as non-REY elements such as Ge, Ga, V, Cr and Ni. The ultrabasic igneous dikes that intrude into the underground coal seams also have elevated concentrations of Ce, La, Nd, Pr, and Y, with the total REY concentration > 400 ppm. The coal refuse samples from the coal preparation facility are enriched in REY by a factor of ten compared to the cleaned coal prepared for commercialization. Our recent survey at the abandoned coal mine site indicates that the acid mine drainage has elevated concentrations of Y, Nd, Ce, and Gd with the total REY concentration > 1 mg/L.

These REY preliminary data suggest that further research should focus on identifying the hydrothermally-altered coals in Illinois Basin as well as surveying the roof and floor rock and the within-seam partings in the mined product. Additionally, further investigations may include geochemical characterization of coalmine acid mine drainages across the Illinois Basin.