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Manganese in Australian export thermal coals

An examination of manganese in Australian export thermal coals intended for industrial, scientific and research audiences.

  • 21 July 2010 | Updated 14 October 2011

Trace elements in coals may be associated with specific minerals or with organic 'coaly' matter.

The sources of trace elements include biological material (plants, algae and bacteria) that is the precursor of the coaly material, water in the peat swamp and mineralogical material washed or blown into the swamp.

Table representation of manganese in Australian export coals, other internationally traded coals, the Earth's crust and shales.
 Concentration of manganese in: mg/kg 
 Australian export coals  4 - 700 (99) #
 Other internationally traded coals  8 - 1020 (71) #
 Earth's crust  950
 Earth's shales  850
 # values in parentheses are averages


Manganese has been identified as a Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) by environmental authorities.

Modes of occurrence

Manganese is likely present in carbonate minerals in coal and possibly clays.

Behaviour during combustion

Manganese exhibits some volatility during combustion.

Health and environmental effects

On the spectrums:

  • for the NPI health hazard of 0-3, manganese and compounds registers 1.3
  • for the NPI environmental of 0-3, manganese and compounds registers 1.3.

Manganese from coal combustion is unlikely to be a health or environmental concern.

Analytical methods

Manganese is often determined in coal as one of the ash-forming elements.

AS 1038.14.1, Australian Standard, Coal and coke - Analysis and testing - Part 14.1: Higher rank coal ash and coke ash – Major and minor elements – Borate fusion/flame atomic absorption spectrometric method.

AS 1038.14.2, Australian Standard, Coal and coke - Analysis and testing - Part 14.2: Higher rank coal ash and coke ash – Major and minor elements – Acid digestion/flame atomic absorption spectrometric method.

AS 1038.14.3, Australian Standard, Coal and coke - Analysis and testing - Part 14.3: Higher rank coal ash and coke ash – Major and minor elements – Wavelength dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometric method.

AS 1038.10.0, Australian Standard, Coal and coke - Analysis and testing - Part 10.0: Determination of trace elements – Guide to the determination of trace elements.

ASTM D6357-00a Test Methods for Determination of Trace Elements in Coal, Coke, & Combustion Residues from Coal Utilization Processes by Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission, Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass, & Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometries.

Find out more about our work with Energy from coal.

This work supported by:

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