After carbon dioxide, methane is the second most important greenhouse gas. The global warming potential of methane by weight is actually 21 times that of CO2.
Methane emissions from operational and abandoned coal mines are contributing to global warming. Methane explosions in underground coal mines can result in deaths and mine closures, causing huge and long-term social and economic losses.
On the other hand, however, methane as the principal component of natural gas is a valuable energy source. Profitable recovery and use of coal mine methane may therefore bring another revenue stream to coal mines.
To prevent accidents, decrease emissions, and harness an otherwise wasted energy source, UNECE has developed best practices in coal mine methane management.
News & Publications
12 March 2013 - Accident at China coal mine kills 21; 4 missing
China says 21 coal miners have been killed and four more are missing following an accident inside a mine in the southern province of Guizhou. China is the world's largest producer of coal, which generates about two-thirds of its energy needs.
29 March 2013 - Gas Explosion in China Coal Mine Kills 28 People 13 Others Rescued
A mammoth sized gas explosion ignited in a North East China coal mine, killing 28 people, according to state run media sources. According to official figures, 1,973 people died in coal mining accidents in China in 2011.
On 12-15 March Methane Expo 2013 was held in Canada at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Methane Expo 2013 was organized by the Global Methane Initiative (GMI), a voluntary, multilateral partnership that aims to reduce global methane emissions and to advance the abatement, recovery and use of methane as a valuable clean energy source. One of GMI's five subcommittees deals with methane emissions from coal mines. In 2010 GMI and UNECE published jointly Best Practice Guidance for Effective Methane Drainage and Use in Coal Mines.
11 February 2013 - An underground methane explosion at the Vorkutinskaya coal mine in Russia, killed up to 18 miners. About 250 people had been in the mine at the time of the explosion.
UNFCCC response to comments on the revision of methodology ACM0008 made by the Ad Hoc Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane
(Update received on 15 January 2013)
Technical Seminar: Practices and Technologies in Coal Mine Methane Recovery and Utilization in Ukraine (Donetsk, Ukraine, 21-22 September 2011)US EPA CMMws Agenda
The United States Environmental Protection Agency's Coalbed Methane Outreach Program organised a seminar on practices and technologies in coal mine methane in Donetsk. The seminar focused on the state of the coal industry in Ukraine and discussed best practices for methane drainage, capture and use, emission mitigation and ventilation air methane utilisation. After the seminar, on 22 September, UNECE held the workshop on the Best Practice Guidance for Effective Methane Drainage and Use in Coal Mines.
Group of Experts' comments on the ACM0008
UNECE/ M2M publication