Trace Element Mineral Exploration in Illinois Coal

A mineral exploration company, looking at gallium (Ga) and germanium (Ge) values in Illinois coal and fly ash, wants to conduct additional analyses on coal from all of the active coal mines in Illinois with the assistance of the Illinois State Geological Survey Coal Section. As part of this project, Professor Liliana Lefticariu of the Geology Department at Southern Illinois University will be involved in trying to determine where these elements occur in the coal. Both Ga and Ge have increased in value during the last decade due to their use in fiber optic cable, night vision technologies, and photovoltaic panels. Coal has been the major source of Ga and Ge, most of which has come from China. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Office of Coal Development and the Illinois Clean Coal Institute have voiced an interest in this project.