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|This paper firstly examines the pollu- tion potential of burning colliery wastes. A comparison of two means of estimating the pro- pensity for coal to combust spontaneously is next presented. The use of microwaves, as a new procedure, is discussed in detail, while a comparison of the results is made with a modi- fied adiabatic technique. A number of coals that are known to combust spontaneously was tested, as were some coals that are not consi- dered to have self heating potential.|