The coal deposits of southern Ecuador are in remnants of Tertiary basins now perched in topographic basins at elevations of 2,000 to 3,000 m. Recent mapping suggests that undisturbed coal beds may underlie broad areas, but they will remain untouched because the cover is thick. The known seams, exposed in narrow faulted belts, are steep, disrupted, and shattered. They are as thick as 5 m and contain mostly subbituminous coal and lignite, but have objectional amounts of shale, bentonite, and pyrite. Reserves in the exposed seams of the Malacatus and Loja basins are said to be roughly 1 million metric tons each; in the Cañar-Azuay basin, the reserves are said to be roughly 20 million metric tons. Little of this can be considered economically mineable, however, because an attempt at semimechanized underground mining was unsuccessful. Subterranean gasification may be required.