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|Worldwide, hard coal mining is being carried out at ever increasing depth, and has, therefore, to cope with correspondingly increasing methane emissions. About seven per cent of global methane emissions are caused by coal mining. Beside carbon dioxide, chloro-fluorocarbons (CFCs) and nitrogen oxides, methane is one of the most significant `greenhouse' gases. It is mainly through the release of such trace gases that the greenhouse effect is brought about. Reducing methane emissions is therefore an important problem to be solved by the coal mining industry. This paper begins by highlighting some of the fundamental principles of methane in hard coal mining. The methane problem in German hard coal mining and the industry's efforts to reduce methane emissions are presented. The future development in German hard coal mining is illustrated by an example which shows how large methane volumes can be managed, while still maintaining high outputs at increasing depth.|