A review of the available information on carbonaceous sedimentary rocks in the republics of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama reveals the presence of coal and lignite beds, but no commercial production has been developed in any of these countries. The oldest coal beds, with thicknesses up to 2.5 m, crop out in central Honduras in at least six localities. They are interbeds in the argillaceous Triassic-Jurassic(?) El Plan Formation. This unit is strongly folded and faulted and in some places is intruded by dioritic plutons. The outcrops—in Yoro Department, Honduras—appear to be less deformed.
In west-central Guatemala, near the border with Chiapas State, Mexico, coal beds are reported that possibly are correlatable with the El Plan Formation. Thin lignite beds in Cretaceous carbonate rocks in Guatemala do not seem to be important.
In Panama, Costa Rica, and Guatemala, many different lignite beds, some more than 1 m thick, are reported in argillaceous and sandy Miocene strata. In Panama, these lignite beds occur in the Gatún Formation, whereas in the Izabal region of Guatemala, they are associated with beds of Miocene to Pliocene age. In most places, these Tertiary rocks are folded and faulted. They were evaluated in Izabal by a private mining company in 1968. Associated with sedimentary rocks of volcanic origin and probably of Pliocene to Pleistocene age, many thin lignite beds of local extent are found in intermontane basins of the volcanic provinces of the Central American countries. Only a few localities could attain importance for mining for local consumption.