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About Coal Mine Methane

Work Plan 2014-2015

In 2014 and 2015 the Group of Experts on CMM will:

  • Disseminate electronically the Best Practice Guidance to all major stakeholders in the ECE region and beyond as recommended by ECOSOC (Decision 2011/222)
  • Prepare suggestions on how to develop, as appropriate, similar best practices guidance for aspects of CMM management that are not covered in detail by the current document
  • Prepare proposals for case studies, where appropriate and financed by extra-budgetary resources, on the application of best practice guidance in specific coal mines in different regions of the world
  • Facilitate the establishment by United Nations Member States of International Centres of Excellence in effective pre- and post-mining extraction and use of coal mine methane, abandoned mine methane, and ventilation air methane and suggest a rational distribution of labour between the Group of Experts and Centres of Excellence to ensure exchange of information and experience regarding the profitable methane recovery and use
  • Consider best practices on issues related to drainage, recovery, and usage of coal mine methane 

The work of the Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane (CMM) has a benefit for coal mine safety through improvements in the drainage, recovery and use of coal mine methane.


Background

Coal production, transportation, storage and use account for roughly 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Projections suggest coal use will increase in coming years due to growing demand for electric power. Greater focus is therefore being directed at minimizing the carbon footprint of the entire coal industry value chain from production through utilization.

One of the more effective near-term options at the production stage is the capture and use of methane from coal mines. This not only mitigates climate change, but delivers other important co-benefits including improvement of mine safety and productivity, localized energy production, and improvement in local/regional air quality. In addition, such projects can result in positive cash flows to the mine and serve as catalyst for investment.

The UNECE is active in facilitating the development and profitable recovery and use of CMM. With UNECE member countries producing 38% of the world’s coal and generating 40% of coal mine methane (CMM) emissions, successful project implementation will benefit the regional and global environment and the economies of the ECE region.


In this respect, the UNECE’s Committee on Sustainable Energy at its 14th session in 2005 established the Ad Hoc Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane. The Ad Hoc Group of Experts carries out, under the Committee’s guidance, activities related to development and profitable recovery and use of CMM and abandoned mine methane (AMM), with a specific focus on the three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. Recovery and use of CMM otherwise emitted mitigates climate change, improves mine safety and productivity, and generates revenues and cost savings.