Colin Ward
Professor Colin Ward
Emeritus Professor
Field of Research: 
Coal geology; Sedimentary mineralogy
Contact details:
+61 2 9385 8718

Room 550
Biological Sciences North (D26)
UNSW, Kensington 2052

Research & Current Projects


Coal geology; applied mineralogy


Use of core scanning and hand held X-ray fluorescence analysis in coal quality assessment (ACARP funding – 2015-2017)

Minerals and trace elements in Chinese coals (Collaborative program with China University of Mining and Technology)

Mineralogy of selected coals and coal ashes from Portugal (Collaborative program with University of Porto)

Assessment of pyritic coal dust induced pneumoconiosis (ACARP-funded sub-contract with B3 Mining Services)

Mineralogy of Australian coals and associated strata (UNSW Commercial Activity)

DSc Award, UNSW, 2017

Research Team

David French

Ian Graham

Sarah Kelloway (UNSW Analytical Centre)


Lei Zhao (PhD, 2012) - Mineralogy and geochemistry of Permian coal seams of the Sydney Basin, Australia, and the Songzao Coalfield, SW China.

Kaydy Pinetown (PhD, 2011) - Geological controls on coal seam gas distribution in the Hunter Coalfield, Sydney Basin, NSW.


Recent Publications


Zhao, L., Ward, C.R., French, D., Graham, I.T., Dai, S., Yang, C., Xie. P., Zhang, S.., 2018. Origin of a kaolinite-NH4-illite-pyrophyllite-chlorite assemblage in a marine-influenced anthracite and associated strata from the Jincheng Coalfield, Qinshui Basin, Northern China. International Journal of Coal Geology 185, 61-78.

Dai, S., Nechaev V.P., Chekryzhov, I.Y., Zhao, Lixin, Vysotskiy, S.V., Graham, I., Ward, C.R., Ignatiev, A.V., Velivetskaya, T.A., Zhao, Lei, French, D., Hower, J.C., 2018. A model for Nb-Zr-REE-Ga enrichment in Lopingian altered alkaline volcanic ashes: Key evidence of H-O isotopes. Lithos 302–303, 359–369.

Liu, J., Ward, C.R., Graham, I.T., French, D., Dai, S., Song, X., 2018. Modes of occurrence of non-mineral inorganic elements in lignites from the Mile Basin, Yunnan Province, China. Fuel 222, 146-155.

Dai, S., Guo, W., Nechaev, V.P., French, D., Ward, C.R., Spiro, B.F., Finkelman, R.B., 2018. Modes of occurrence and origin of mineral matter in the Palaeogene coal (No. 19-2) from the Hunchun Coalfield, Jilin Province, China. International Journal of Coal Geology 189, 94-110.

Ward, C.R. Kelloway, S.J., French, D., Wainwright, I.E., Marjo, C.E., Cohen, D.R., 2018. Profiling of inorganic elements in coal seams using laboratory-based core scanning X-ray fluorescence techniques. International Journal of Coal Geology 191, 158-171.

Ward, C.R., Kelloway, S.J., Vohra, J., French, D., Cohen, D.R., Marjo, C.E., Wainwright, I.E., 2018. In-situ inorganic analysis of coal seams using a hand-held field-portable XRF analyser. International Journal of Coal Geology 191, 172-188.


Gómez-Fernández, F., Herrero-Hernández, A., Ward, C.R., Castañón, A.M., 2017. Discussion of ‘‘Roofing slate standards: A critical review” by V. Cárdenes et al. [Construction and Building Materials 115 (2016) 93–104]. Construction and Building Materials, 133, 543-544.

Nagra, G., Burkett, D., Huang, J., Ward, C.R., Triantafilis, J., 2017. Field level digital mapping of soil mineralogy using proximal and remote-sensed data. Soil Use and Management (in press).

Djokic, T., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Campbell, K.A., Walter, M.R., Ward, C.R., 2017. Earliest signs of life on land preserved in ca. 3.5 Ga hot spring deposits. Nature Communications 8, 15263, 8 pp., doi:10.1038/ncomms15263.

Dai, S., Xie, P., Ward, C.R., Yan, X., Guo, W., French, D., Graham, I.T., 2017. Anomalies of rare metals in Lopingian super-high-organic-sulfur coals from the Yishan Coalfield, Guangxi, China. Ore Geology Reviews 88, 235-250.

Hower, J.C., Groppo, J.G., Graham, U.M., Ward, C.R., Kostova, I.J., Maroto-Valer, M.M, Dai, S., 2017. Coal-derived unburned carbons in fly ash: A review. International Journal of Coal Geology 179, 11-27.

Zhang, C., Canbulat, I., Hebblewhite, B., Ward, C.R., 2017. Assessing coal burst phenomena in mining and insights into directions for future research. International Journal of Coal Geology 179, 28-44.

Hower, J.C., Henke, K.R., Dai, S., Ward, C.R., French, D., Liu, S., Graham, U.M., 2017. Generation and nature of coal fly ash and bottom ash. In: Robl, T., Oberlink, A., Jones, R. (eds), Coal Combustion Products (CCP’s): Characteristics, Utilization and Beneficiation. Woodhead Publishing, Duxford, UK, pp. 21-65. ISBN: 978-0-08-101047-1 (on-line).

Dai, S., Ward, C., Graham, I., French, D., Hower, J., Zhao, L., Wang, X., 2017. Altered volcanic ashes in coal and coal-bearing sequences: A review of their nature and significance. Earth-Science Reviews 175, 44-74.