Story: Coal and coal mining

Pat Suggate, coal scientist

Pat Suggate, coal scientist

Pat Suggate has been a leading New Zealand researcher into coal properties and coal rank. Educated at Oxford University, he migrated to New Zealand in 1947 to work for the New Zealand Geological Survey. Sent to Greymouth to work with Harold Wellman, Suggate conducted a major investigation of the coal resources in the Murchison area. In the 1950s his detailed mapping of the Reefton coalfield led him to explore the effect of coal rank on the properties of coal, culminating in his 1959 monograph, New Zealand coals.

In 1974 Suggate became director of the New Zealand Geological Survey, and he helped initiate the Coal Resources Survey following the oil shocks of the 1970s. After retirement in 1986, he continued to explore the relation of coal rank to hydrocarbon generation, and by studying coal rank in many countries, he was able to develop a general relationship between burial and coal rank, that has become known as the Suggate rank scale.

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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 12 April 2021)

Story by Alan Sherwood and Jock Phillips, published 12 Jun 2006, updated 7 Sep 2016