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Anthracite is the highest rank of coal, and is typically used for residential and commercial space heating. It is a hard, brittle, and black lustrous coal, often referred to as hard coal, containing a high percentage of fixed carbon and a low percentage of volatile matter.

The moisture content of fresh-mined anthracite generally is less than 15 percent. The heat content of anthracite ranges from 22 to 28 million Btu per ton on a moist, mineral-matter-free basis. The heat content of anthracite coal consumed in the United States averages 25 million Btu per ton, on the as-received basis (i.e., containing both inherent moisture and mineral matter).

Since the 1980s, anthracite refuse or mine waste has been used for steam electric power generation. This fuel typically has a heat content of 15 million Btu per ton or less.

see Coal mining

Further reading

  • Chandler, Alfred. "Anthracite Coal and the Beginnings of the 'Industrial Revolution' in the United States," Business History Review 46 (1972): 141-181. in JSTOR
  • Dublin, Thomas and Walter Licht. The Face of Decline: The Pennsylvania Anthracite Region in the Twentieth Century (2005)
  • Lauver, Fred J. "A Walk Through the Rise and Fall of Anthracite Might," Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine 27#1 (2001) online edition
  • Winpenny, Thomas R. "Hard Data on Hard Coal: Reflections on Chandler's Anthracite Thesis," Business History Review, Vol. 53, No. 2, (Summer, 1979), pp. 247-255 in JSTOR