Anomalous gold contents in brown coals and peat in the south-eastern region of the Western-Siberian platform

S. I. Arbuzov, L. P. Rikhvanov, S. G. Maslov, V. S. Arhipov, A. M. Belyaeva

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32 Citations (Scopus)


One hundred twenty-two samples of Jurassic and Paleogene brown coals and 1254 peat samples from the south-eastern region of the Western-Siberian platform were analyzed for gold by the neutron-activation method. Mean content of Au in Jurassic coals is 30 ± 8 ppb, in Paleogene coals is 10.6 ± 4.8 ppb, and in peat is 6 ± 1.4 ppb. Concentrations of gold as high as 4.4 ppm were found in coal ash and 0.48 ppm in the peat ash. Coal beds with anomalous gold contents were found at Western-Siberian platform for the first time. Negative correlation between gold and ash yield in coals and peat and highest gold concentrations were found in low-ash and ultra-low-ash coals and peat. Primarily this is due to gold's association with organic matter. For the investigation of mode of occurrence of Au in peat the bitumen, water-soluble and high-hydrolyzed substances, humic acids, cellulose and lignin were extracted from it. It was determined that in peat about 95% of gold is combined with organic matter. Forty to sixty percent of Au is contained in humic acids and the same content is in lignin. Bitumens, water-soluble and high-hydrolyzed substances contain no more than 1% of general gold quantity in peat. The conditions of accumulation of high gold concentrations were considered. The authors suggest that Au accumulation in peat and brown coals and the connection between anomalous gold concentrations and organic matter in low-ash coals and peat can explain a biogenic-sorption mechanism of Au accumulation. The sources of formation of Au high concentration were various Au-Sb, Au-Ag Au-As-Sb deposits that are abundant in the Southern and South-Eastern peripheries of the coal basin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-134
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Coal Geology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2006


  • Brown coals
  • Geochemistry
  • Gold
  • Peat
  • Russia
  • Western-Siberian platform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economic Geology
  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy
  • Fuel Technology

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