The problem of coal fires
Coal fires are known from different coal fields world-wide. China, India, USA, Australia, Indonesia and South Africa are the
main countries affected by coal fires.
Normally, the mine workers and the people living in the surrounding area are affected by large amounts of aerosols and toxic
gases, like carbon monoxide or sulphur oxides. But also greenhouse relevant gasses are being released in large amounts and
affect the environment. Additional hazards include land-subsidence, contamination of drinking water and damage of flora and
fauna around the fires.
Protecting the economically valuable coal resources and the environment is of great relevance on a national and international
Protection of natural resources
Coal has been used as an energy reserve for centuries and it will be an important resource for the future. Besides other fossil
fuels it has remained indispensable for our energy demand. Coal fires not only destroy coal resources - particularly those
that could be easily exploited - but they also lead to blockage and devaluation of coal resources in the seams below, above
and around them.
Protection of climate and environment
The combustion of coal not only discharges a big amount of toxic gases e.g. carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, but also climate
active greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides, which may contribute to the heating of the atmosphere.
Therefore coal fires are a global issue and subject of international scientific cooperation.