Methane emissions into underground coal mines in certain areas of the United States represent a serious hazard and contribute to lowering mining productivity. In order to reduce methane emissions into some of the deep south west Virginia Coal Mines an advance methane drainage program was developed. This paper gives a state of the art account of drilling long in-seam and slant holes into virgin areas of the Pocahontas #3 and #4 coalbeds. Directional drilling techniques are discussed. Methods to evaluate the drainage effectiveness of this program on the emissions in an operating mine are also covered. It is concluded that an effective methane drainage program can reduce methane emissions significantly thereby improving safety conditions in the mine. It also has the potential for increasing mining productivity. The recovered gas could also lead to a better utilization of our available energy resources.

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