Coal and coal combustion byproducts can have significant concentrations of lanthanides (rare earth elements). Rare earths are vital in the production of modern electronics and optics, among other uses. Enrichment in coals may have been a function of a number of processes, with contributions from volcanic ash falls being among the most significant mechanisms. In this paper, we discuss some of the important coal-based deposits in China and the US and critique classification systems used to evaluate the relative value of the rare earth concentrations and the distribution of the elements within the coals and coal combustion byproducts.

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Published in Minerals, v. 6, issue 2, 32, p. 1-9.

© 2016 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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