Mineral Facts and Problems: 1960 Edition Page: 51
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used more than 300,000 tons of anthracite in
1958 to heat stations, roundhouses, and office
buildings. Only a small amount was used as
Anthracite is employed in manufacturing
briquets for use in fireplaces and backyard
grills; in bakeries; in burning cement, lime, and
brick; in curing tobacco and hay; in hatcheries
and brood houses; and, in many other applica-
tions where a clean, steady heat is required.
As a carbon source, the uses of anthracite
are many and varied. For example, small
amounts are utilized in telephones, in water
and chemical filters and purifiers, in manu-
facturing electrodes and other electrical or elec-
tronic equipment, and for gasmaking. Anthra-
cite ash is an excellent soil conditioner and is
used widely in the manufacture of lightweight
building blocks. As a semiprecious stone, an-
thracite is used by artisans in jewelry and art
objects as a substitute for onyx and jet.
BYPRODUCTS AND COPRODUCTS
Except for some mine rock and anthracite
ash used in manufacturing lightweight build-
ing aggregates and mine refuse used as fill in
road construction, there are no important by-
products or coproducts of present anthracite
All mineral fuels are used for heating or
generating power, and the United States has
large reserves of all. Therefore, our present
pattern of fuel consumption has not evolved
from a pressing need to substitute one of the
mineral fuels for another in short supply but
for reasons ranging from the industrialist's de-
sire to obtain power at the lowest cost to the
small homeowner seeking the most convenient
In the space-heating field, for example, the
term "substitution" is rarely encountered.
Rather, such expressions as "replacement," "dis-
placement," and "conversion" are used. These,
of course, connote a complete change of burn-
ing equipment or the adaptation of equipment
to an alternate fuel.
Anthracite, because of its physical charac-
teristics, does have advantages not possessed by
any other fuel. In many areas, the cost of
burning the smaller space-heating sizes is ma-
terially lower, on a B.t.u. basis, than either
natural gas or fuel oil. Efficient, automatic
combustion equipment is available for both do-
mestic and commercial space-heating purposes.
However, because anthracite is a solid fuel, its
use is considered by many consumers to be less
convenient than natural gas or fuel oil. Too,
anthracite equipment manufacturers have not
yet succeeded in producing burning equipment
that could be installed initially as cheaply as
oil and gas burners. Consequently, anthracite
has not only suffered losses through direct con-
versions but has failed to capture an appre-
ciable share of the new-homes market.
Several hundred thousand tons of anthracite
annually are mixed with bituminous coal in
manufacturing coke. Small quantities are
charged to blast furnaces and foundry cupolas
as a replacement for metallurgical coke.
The original reserve of Pennsylvania anthra-
cite totaled about 23 billion short tons, accord-
ing to a consensus of several authorities. By
the end of 1958 production and losses had re-
duced reserves to 15 billion tons as shown in
table 3. The largest reserve is in the Southern
field. The next largest block of reserves is in
the Western Middle field. The Northern field
has the third largest reserve, but the Eastern
Middle contains less than one-half of 1 percent
of the total. On the basis of a 20-million-ton
annual production of fresh-mined coal (ex-
cluding dredge and culm-bank production) and
an overall recovery rate of 61.5 percent, the
estimated reserves will last more than 450
TABLE 3.-Reserves of Pennsylvania anthracite, by fields1
Million Percent of
short tons total
Northern-- - -__-____ 2, 227 14. 8
Eastern Middle ........ 50 0. 3
Western Middle --------- 3, 401 22. 5
Southern_______________ 9, 413 62. 4
Total_____________ 15, 091 100. 0
I Based upon report of Geo. H. Ashley, State geologist, Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania, December 1945; Geol. Survey Circ. 293.1953; and Bureau
of Mines Minerals Yearbook data through 1958.
CONSERVATION PRACTICES IN PRODUC-
TION AND USES
The weighted average recovery of the origi-
nal coal content in anthracite beds by under-
ground mining in 1921 was estimated to be
40.9 percent in first mining and 24.5 percent in
second mining, or a total average recovery of
65.4 percent. The residual figure of 34.6 per-
cent represents the coal lost by underground
mining operations. In addition, preparation
practices in 1921 were estimated to have lost
4.3 percent in cleaning and sizing. Thus the
total loss of the original coal in the anthracite
region was estimated at 38.9 percent.
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United States. Bureau of Mines. Mineral Facts and Problems: 1960 Edition, report, 1960; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38790/m1/59/: accessed May 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.