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|INTRODUCTION The association of methane with coal has been known almost since coal was first mined and in general it has been considered the curse of underground coal mining. Historically, most of the effort to handle this methane has been directed at diluting it to a safe level and preventing an explosive mixture of methane and oxygen from forming in any part of the mine. This is generally achieved by in-mine activites. This approach has two principal drawbacks, the severity of which are dependent on local conditions. The first is that the activity associated with the handling of the methane is undertaken in the mine and there- fore competes with the mining activity for the limited space available. The second drawback is that the whole methane handling activity is generally a cost to the coal because methane is so diluted that it cannot be used. With the value of energy increasing thi; second drawback is gaining importance so th.u several mines in Europe and North America ;it,, now installing systems to recover the methane in a useful form. Two approaches are|