The ICCP is a professional organization of more than 200 scientists representing more than 35 countries. Its members are engaged in many different branches, fundamental and applied, of coal and organic petrology. These sciences involve the study, mostly under the microscope, of the organic constituents of coal and other rocks. Their efforts have resulted in major contributions to the understanding of the origin of coal, the behaviour of coal in industrial processes, the exploration for petroleum, and the thermal/burial histories of sedimentary basins.
Coal and organic petrology provide a unique way of studying carbonaceous materials, for only under the microscope can one see and quantify the component materials, called macerals, each of which makes an individual contribution to the overall chemistry and technological behaviour.
Although the ICCP may hold symposia or technical sessions at its annual meetings, the main proceedings consist of discussions held in active Working Groups. Exercises may also be conducted during the course of the year between meetings. All of these activities are designed to resolve common problems and to establish uniform terminologies and analytical procedures for the microscopic investigation of organic materials in coals, oil shales and sedimentary rocks. Consequently, the decisions reached at these meetings have important implications for coal and organic petrologists throughout the world. The ICCP has begun a program of Standardization, Training and Accreditation through which laboratories can obtain ICCP accreditation in petrographic analysis.
The Working Groups of the ICCP are organised within three main Commissions, namely General Coal and Organic Petrology, Geological Applications, including the prospecting for oil and gas, and Industrial Applications.
Since its founding in 1951, the ICCP has formalised coal petrographic nomenclature, which is now employed in all branches of coal science and technology. The Committee has published a fundamental handbook of terms covering the constitution and analysis of coal as seen under the microscope. These definitions form the basis of standards established by national and international organisations such as ISO. The handbook also incorporates descriptions of the analytical methods employed by coal and organic petrologists. Copies of the Second Edition of the International Handbook of Coal Petrography and its supplements may be purchased from the ICCP.
Full Members of the ICCP are experts with longstanding experience in the field and demonstrated participation in ICCP activities. A minimum of five years experience in organic petrology is required before an Associate Member may be elected to Full Member.
Any practicing coal or organic petrologist may apply for Associate Membership of the ICCP. An Application Form is contained in Application for ICCP Membership.