|Abstract:Harmful trace element in coal is one of the important topics in the fields of coal geology, geochemistry, energy and environment. Through the investigation of domestic and foreign literature, this paper systematically summarizes the progress and conclusions of various research contents within the research framework. Compared with the world coal, the average concentrations of Co, Mo, Pb, Sn, Th, U, V and Zn in Chinese coal are higher, while those of As, B, Ba, Cr, Ni and Tl are relatively low. The spatial distribution of harmful trace elements in coal is very uneven, and the distribution characteristics of various element are different. The content of harmful trace elements in Chinese coal generally presents the distribution characteristic of gradual increase from north to south, and there is local abnormal enrichment. The spatial distribution pattern of harmful trace elements in coal is the result of the joint action of multiple factors, such as the source rock, biological sedimentation, hydrothermal action, groundwater action and so on. The occurrence mechanism of harmful trace elements in coal is very complex, which is the fundamental reason affecting the removal of harmful substances, the migration and transformation of elements. As an important supplement to scientific methodology in the new era, coal-big data has important potential value for the research of harmful trace elements in coal. The occurrence state and specific chemical forms of harmful trace elements, the environmental effects of harmful trace elements, and the data management of harmful trace elements in coal are still the key research contents in this field in the future.