The concentration of trace elements and their distribution in the late Permian coal in the Heshan coal field, Guangxi Autonomoous Region, were analysed in this paper. The late Permian coal of the Heshan mining district was developed in a low energy and shallow, confined carbonate platfrom. Heshan coal is a low volatile bituminous coal characterized by a high sulphur content, ranging between 2.0% and 8.2%. Compared with the worldwide average content of the trace elements in coal, the content of some trace element in the sutdy coal is markedly high (Bi, Ce, Cr, Cs, Cu, Ga, Hf, Sr, Ta, Th, U, V, W, Y, Zr, La, Mo, Nb and Sc).

The trace element associations were investigated by means of intracorrelation analysis. Some elements, such as Cl, F an Sr are found in coal in association with the carbonate minerals. V, Cr, Zn, Mo, Ni and As contents in coal vary significantly amongst the coal samples. They are mainly concentrated in the lower part of the coal #4 upper of Suhe and Lilan mines and the coal #4 lower of Dong mine, and these possibly occurring in minerals such as arsenide and sulphide. The content of U in Heshan coal is high and is mainly concentrated at the upper and the lower parts of the coal seam and it is associated with mineral assemblages with Ba, Mo, V, Ni, Zn, Rb and cr. Furthermore, La and Ce are highly correlated with those found in phosphate minerals and Pb, Sc, Ga, Th, Y and Sn to shose in aluminosilicate minerals. The enrichment of some elements such as V, Cr, Zn, Mo, Ni, Rb as well as total sulphur and iron in the lower part of most coal seams might be associated with the formation of soil horizon before the accumulation of peat in the basin. Some other elements such as Cl, F, Sr and Ca are locally concentrated in the top of specific coal seams as a result of the leaching from overlying carbonates.

Keywords : trace elements, Permian, Heshan coal field, China