Uses of Coal – Types & Where there are found in the world


In this article we will be considering the Uses of Coal – Types & Where there are found in the world.

COAL is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock, formed as rock strata called coal seams. Coal is mostly carbon with variable amounts of other elements such as;

  • Chiefly hydrogen
  • Sulfur
  • Oxygen
  • Nitrogen


COAL, one of the most important primary fossil fuels, a solid carbon-rich material that is usually brown or black and most often occurs in stratified sedimentary deposits.

COAL is classified into four main types; Anthracite, Bituminous, Subbituminous, and Lignite.

Four Classifications of Coal

  • Anthracite:

The highest rank of coal. It is a hard, brittle, and black lustrous coal, often referred to as hard coal, containing a high percentage of fixed carbon and a low percentage of volatile matter.

  • Bituminous:

Bituminous coal is a middle rank coal between subbituminous and anthracite. Bituminous usually has a high heating (Btu) value and is the most common type of coal used in electricity generation in the United States. Bituminous coal appears shiny and smooth when you first see it, but look closer and you may see it has layers.

  • Subbituminous:

Subbituminous coal is black in color and dull (not shiny), and has a higher heating value than lignite.

  • Lignite:

Lignite coal, aka brown coal, is the lowest grade coal with the least concentration of carbon.

History of Coal Mining

The history of coal mining goes back thousands of years, with early mines documented in ancient China, the Roman Empire and other early historical economies. It became important in the Industrial Revolution of the 19th and 20th centuries, when it was primarily used to power steam engines, heat buildings and generate electricity

What is Coal mining?

Coal mining is the process of extracting coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content and since the 1880s, has been widely used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production.

Where you can find Coal in Nigeria, India, Us, Australia


In Nigeria

  • Anambra Basin

The Anambra Basin, located in south-eastern Nigeria, appears to contain the largest and most economically viable coal resources. The basin covers an area of approximately 1.5 million hectares and is constrained by the Niger River on the west, the Benue River on the north and the Enugu Escarpment on the east.

In India

  • Coal deposits are primarily found in eastern and south-central India. Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra accounted for 98.26% of the total known coal reserves in India.

In the United States

  • Coal is mainly found in three regions: the Appalachian coal region, the Interior coal region, and the Western coal region (includes the Powder River Basin). The two largest coal mines in the United States are the North Antelope Rochelle and Black Thunder mines in Wyoming

In Australia

  • Coal is mined in every state of Australia. The largest black coal resources occur mainly in Queensland and New South Wales About 70% of coal mined in Australia is exported, mostly to eastern Asia,[2] and of the balance most is used in electricity generation.

Uses of Coal

  • Steam coal           – also known as thermal coal – is mainly used in power generation.
  • Coking coal         – also known as metallurgical coal – is mainly used in steel production.
  • Activated carbon – used in filters for water and air purification and in kidney dialysis machines.
  • Carbon fibre        – an extremely strong but light weight reinforcement material used in construction, mountain bikes and tennis rackets.
  • Silicon metal – used to produce silicones and silanes, which are in turn used to make lubricants, water repellents, resins, cosmetics, hair shampoos and toothpastes.
  • Generating Electricity
  • Production of Steel
  • Gasification and Liquefaction