Environmental geochemistry of antimony in Chinese coals

C. Qi, G. Liu, Chen-Lin Chou, L. Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Environmental geochemistry of antimony (Sb) has gained much attention recently because of its potential toxicity. We have reviewed the distribution, modes of occurrence, geological processes and environmental effects of Sb in Chinese coals. Data of Sb in 1058 coal samples from China were compiled and the average Sb content in Chinese coals is estimated to be 2.27 μg/g. Average Sb content in coals from provinces, cities and autonomous regions may be divided into three groups. Group 1 has a low average Sb content of lower than 1 μg/g, Group 2 has a medium average Sb content of 1-3 μg/g, and Group 3 has a high average Sb content of > 3 μg/g. Coals from Guizhou and Inner Mongolia are extremely enriched in Sb. The abundance of Sb in coals differs among coal-forming periods and coal ranks. Antimony occurs in several modes in coals. It may substitute for iron or sulfur in discrete pyrite grains or occurs as tiny dispersed sulfide particles in organic matter. During coal combustion Sb is partly released to the atmosphere and partly partitioned into solid residues. Antimony in the environment brings about definite harm to human health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-234
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Jan 25 2008


  • ISGS
  • Modes of occurrence
  • Environmental geochemistry
  • Antimony
  • Chinese coals
  • Distribution in coals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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