High Grade Anthracite

DEFINITION

Anthracite is a hard, compact variety of coal that has a lustre. It has the highest carbon content, is normally low in contaminants (the fewest impurities), and the highest calorific content of all types of coal (except for graphite).

Quality anthracite is categorised into grades, high grade (HG) and ultra-high grade (UHG) represent less than 5% of the overall anthracite market. Anthracite accounts for about 1% of global coal reserves, and is mined in only a few countries around the world. China accounts for the majority of global production; other producers are Russia, Ukraine, South Africa, Vietnam, the UK, Australia and the US.

PROPERTIES

Anthracite differs from ordinary bituminous coal by its greater hardness, its relative density of 1.4–1.6, and lustre, which is often semi-metallic with a mildly brown reflection. It contains a high percentage of fixed carbon and a low percentage of volatile matter. The moisture content of freshly-mined anthracite generally is less than 15 percent. The heat content of anthracite ranges from 26 to 33 MJ/kg on a moist, mineral matter-free basis.

Chemically, anthracite may be considered as a transition stage between ordinary bituminous coal and graphite, produced by the more or less complete elimination of the volatile constituents of the former, and is found most abundantly in areas that have been subjected to considerable earth-movement metamorphic stresses and pressures, such as the flanks of mountain ranges. Anthracite is associated with strongly deformed sedimentary rocks that were subjected to higher pressures and temperatures.

DEMAND

Anthracite is the highest quality metallurgical coal, measured by carbon and energy content. It is the cleanest burning and therefore most environmentally friendly solid fuel on the market, used at residential sites and in commercial operations.

Except for Black Diamond, in the near future there will be no commercially viable mining operations in Europe able to meet demand.