The distribution of trace elements in the lower Eocene coal seam mined in the Yeniceltek, Kucukkohne and Ayridam coal mines from the Sorgun Basin was investigated in relation to ash content and maceral composition. The coal seam is mainly composed of huminite. in the present study, 35 samples from five seam sections were collected on the basis of megascopic characteristics. Results were determined using an energy dispersive polarised X-ray fluorescence (EDP-XRF) spectrometer on a whole-coal dry basis. Most of the major and trace elements studied are enriched in high-ash samples, while Ba, Br, Mn and W show relative enrichments in low-ash samples. Most of elements studied, such as Ga, Ce, La, Th, Nb, Rb, Zr, V, Cu, U, Pb, Sb, Cs, Sn, Cr, Se, Y and Zn, are primarily associated with mineral matter (clay minerals). Arsenic and a part of Zn, Se and Sb are probably concentrated in pyrites in the samples. Element concentrations show statistically significant negative correlations with many macerals and positive relationships with only attrinite that is mainly mixed with mineral matter (clay minerals and small quartz grains) in the samples. Nine trace elements (As, Cr, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sb, Se, Th and U), considered as potentially Hazardous Air Pollutants, are present in low to moderate concentrations. The mean values of trace element concentrations display relative enrichments in Se (2.8 ppm), Th (21 ppm) and W (26 ppm) in the investigated samples in comparison with other coals in the world. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.