A review has been made of the various methods of determining major and trace element affinities for different phases, both mineral and organic in coals, citing their various strengths and weaknesses. These include mathematical deconvolution of chemical analyses, direct microanalysis, sequential extraction procedures and density fractionation. A new methodology combining density fractionation with mathematical deconvolution of chemical analyses of whole coals and their density fractions has been evaluated. These coals formed part of the IEA-Coal Research project on the Modes of Occurrence of Trace Elements in Coal. Results were compared to a previously reported sequential extraction methodology and showed good agreement for most elements. For particular elements (Be, Mo, Cu, Se and REEs) in specific coals where disagreement was found, it was concluded that the occurrence of rare trace element bearing phases may account for the discrepancy, and modifications to the general procedure must be made to account for these.
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Determination of element affinities by density fractionation of bulk coal samples