Data Preservation: Priority 2 –Strategic planning for data preservation related to coal-coal waste-coal combustion products chain in Indiana

Status Start Date End Date Locations
Active Aug 15, 2021 Aug 14, 2022 state, state
Director: Maria Mastalerz
Other Researchers: Philip Ames, Tracy Branam, Agnieszka Drobniak, Patrick McLaughlin
Funding: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) - National Geologic and Geophysical Data Preservation Program
Issue: In Indiana, we have all these components of the “coal value chain”; coal, coal waste, coal combustion products and acid mine drainage (AMD) available in large quantities (e.g., Harper et al., 2009). These materials potentially could provide excellent rare earth element (REE) recovery opportunities if the increased concentrations are identified, and methodology is established to predict the most promising sources. Increased concentrations of REE have already been documented in the Staunton Formation coals in Indiana (Mastalerz et al., 2020) and in coal waste from selected coals (Kolker et al., 2021). The future research should be directed both towards obtaining more data on all these materials, as well as on volumetric evaluation of these potential REE sources. Harper, D., Dintaman, C., Mastalerz, M., and Letsinger, S., 2009, Reconnaissance of Coal-Slurry Deposits in Indiana: Indiana Geological Survey Occasional Paper 69, 20 p. Mastalerz, M., Cortland, E., Drobniak, A. Ames, P.R., McLaughlin, P., 2020. Rare Earth Elements and Yttrium in Pennsylvanian coals and shales in the eastern part of the Illinois Basin, International Journal of Coal Geology 231, 103620. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coal.2020.103620. Kolker, A., Scott, C., Lefticariu, L., Mastalerz, M, Drobniak A., Scott, A., Trace element partitioning during coal preparation: Insights from U.S. Illinois Basin coals, International Journal of Coal Geology 243, 103781. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coal.2021.103781
Objective: The objective of this project is to develop a strategy for data preservation related to the coal/coal waste/coal combustion products/AMD chain, including both the existing data and also data that will be acquired in the future.
Approach: During the project, we plan to develop the strategy to address the goals and objectives of this research direction as well as strategy for data preservation, including both the existing data and the data to be acquired in the future. The compilation of our recently acquired and published data on REE in coals and shales (Mastalerz et al., 2020; Kolker et al., 2021) as well as unpublished data on acid mine drainage (AMD) will be the starting point of this strategy, and it will be followed by formulation of specific tasks of both data collection and data preservation. We have assembled a team of research scientists and data professionals that span the geoscience/energy/environmental spectrum who have detailed experience in: 1) the chemistry and natural occurrence of critical elements, 2) methods of primary and secondary extraction of these elements, and 3) analytical methods of measurement, and 4) accepted standards for data management and preservation.
Products: We plan to have a database design focused on REE in coal/coal waste/coal combustion products/ AMD and also inventory of locations of these materials with potentially elevated REE contents. These will be accompanied by a report describing the deliverables. This is a USGS sponsored project, and these products will be added to the NDC IGWS Collection. In addition to deliverables to USGS, we plan to have a publication in Indiana Journal of Earth Sciences.
Benefits: As already mentioned, in Indiana, we have all these components of the “coal value chain” (coal, coal waste, coal combustion products, and AMD) available in large quantities These materials potentially could provide excellent REE recovery opportunities if the increased concentrations are identified, and methodology is established to predict the most promising sources. Discovery of potential new sources of REE is very important not only for Indiana but for the US in general. There is a large demand for REE in modern technologies, and currently the majority of REE are imported from China.