|Coal is one of the most commonly used fuels both commercially and by the consumer market. A combustible sedimentary rock, coal formed over many millions of years from the accumulation of plant material kept under pressure by the earth's surface. In addition to its direct use, coal by-products include ammonia, light oils and tar; these, in turn, yield benzene, drugs, fertilizer and insecticides.
Approximately one-half of the world's total coal output is consumed by power stations to generate electricity; an additional 25 percent is used in iron and steel manufacturing (Galuszka, 1986, p. 47). During 1986, Australia produced more than 170 million tons of coal, making it the world's ninth-largest producer of black coal. More than half of this amount was exported, primarily to Asia and specifically to Japan. New South