The Harlan, Kellioka, and Darby coals in Harlan County, Kentucky, have been among the highest quality coals mined in the Central Appalachians. The Middle Pennsylvanian coals are correlative with the Upper Elkhorn No. 1 to Upper Elkhorn No. 3½ coals to the northwest of the Pine Mountain thrust fault. Much of the mining traditionally was controlled by captive, steel-company-owned mines and the coal was part of the high volatile A bituminous portion of the coking coal blend. Overall, the coals are generally low-ash and low-sulfur, contributing to their desirability as metallurgical coals. We did observe variation both in geochemistry, such as individual lithologies with significant P2O5/Ba + Sr/Rare earth concentrations, and in maceral content between the lithotypes in the mine sections.

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Published in Minerals, v. 5, no. 4, p. 894-918.

© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons by Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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The trace elements analysis was supported by the National Key Basic Research Program of China (No. 2014CB238902) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41420104001).

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