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|The spontaneous combustion of coal and the explosion of coal dust are two phenomena that were identified by the South African mining industry as requiring investigation. Research contracts were awarded to the G.P. Badenhorst Research Facility of the CSIR and the Department of Mining Engineering of the university of the Witwatersrand by the now defunct National Energy Council. Both projects entailed tests on numerous coal samples in specially designed apparatus. Since the completion of the project, attempts have been made to predict experimental results without incurring the cost of performing experiments. This paper describes predictive indices, based on routine laboratory tests, that were developed by the different research teams for their particular projects. A comparison of the results obtained by applying the spontaneous combustion liability index and the explosibility index to common coal samples indicates that, in general, propensity to spontaneous combustion and explosibility exhibit an inverse relationship. A brief overview is given of some major South African coal-mine disasters.|