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|ignitions caused by cutting tools have occurred at a rate of some 14 per year in UK coal mines since 1965, mostly on the coalface. The rate has held steady despite reducing output and number of collieries. Investigations were carried out over this period into factors affecting both the concentration of firedamp in the cutting zone and the igniting source. A study into detecting and suppressing ignitions on shearers has been undertaken and it is feasible to prevent certain ignitions from spreading outside the cutting zone. Practical measures have been adopted by British Coal to identify frictional ignition sites and to lay down working procedures to minimise risk.|