There is a growing trend of characterizing coal and coal wastes in order to study the effect of clays present in them during coal washing, Coarse wastes from the Zonguldak Coal Washery, Turkey, were characterized and found to contain kaolinite, illite, and chlorite, These three clays, obtained in almost pure form from various locations in Turkey, have been subjected to X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis to assess their purity and zeta potential measurements in order to evaluate their properties in terms of their surface charge and point of zero charge (pzc) values. It was found from XRD data that these clays were almost pure and their electrokinetic potential should therefore be representative of their colloidal behavior. All three clay minerals were negatively charged over the range from pH 2.5 to 11. Chlorite and illite have pzc at pH 3 and pH 2.5, respectively, whereas kaolinite has no pzc, The effect of these clays in Zonguldak coal, wastes, and black waters on coal flotation was studied by floating artificial mixtures of Zonguldak. clean coal (4.5% ash) and individual clay. The flotation tests on coal/individual clay revealed that each clay influences coal flotation differently according to its type and amount, Illite had the worst effect on coal floated, followed by chlorite and kaolinite. The loss of yield in coal was found to be 18% for kaolinite, 20% for chlorite, and 28% for illite, indicating the worst effect of illite and least for kaolinite during coal flotation. (C) 1996 Academic Press, Inc.