In general, the coal deposits of Argentina fall into four groups on the basis of their predominant geologic ages: Neogene, early Tertiary, Jurassic, and Triassic. These four groups are related to the tectonic and stratigraphic framework of the country.
Neogene coals are mainly allochthonous lignitic coals of limnic origin; they have large amounts of ash. Predominating in the deposits of early Tertiary age are subbituminous, high-volatile coals of both limnic and paralic origins, locally with some coking properties. The Jurassic and Triassic provinces have bituminous coals with agglomerating and coking properties. The Jurassic coals were deposited mainly in a paralic environment; the Triassic coal-bearing strata mainly represent a limnic environment.
A total reserve of 483,921,000 metric tons is estimated on the basis of very scanty data. Only the Paleogene Río Turbio and Pico Quemado deposits of southern Argentina have been studied in some detail. The coal-bearing early Tertiary Río Turbio deposit contains 99 percent of Argentina’s established reserve.
Increased study of the Argentine coals will be pursued as a result of the world energy crisis. It is hoped that much larger reserves than those currently known will be established. During 1974, a total of 625,647 metric tons was produced, and it is hoped that production will be increased to 3,000,000 metric tons peryear.