Story: Coal and coal mining

Types of coal

Types of coal

These six examples of New Zealand coal show how the appearance of coal changes with its rank. The two examples at right are of low rank, with considerable moisture and relatively little carbon, and are dull. The bottom right example, from Waimamaku Beach in Northland, contains a fossilised broadleaf. The top right example is lignite, also from Northland. The example at bottom centre is sub-bituminous coal from Huntly. It is blacker and contains less moisture. The two examples at top centre and left are both bituminous coal from the West Coast, while the shiny, fractured coal at bottom left is anthracite from the Fox River on the West Coast. Anthracite, the highest-rank coal, has little moisture and its metallic lustre contrasts strongly with the dull, lower-ranked coal at bottom right.

Using this item

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photograph by Alastair McLean

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Alan Sherwood and Jock Phillips, 'Coal and coal mining - The nature of coal', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 13 July 2024)

Story by Alan Sherwood and Jock Phillips, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 14 Apr 2021