Methane gas and coal dust explosions have been ever present in the process of coal mining operation. The first reported explosions can be dated back to the 19th century. The risk of a methane gas and/or a coal dust explosion is still present in coal mining operation. In December 2018 an unsuppressed methane gas explosion killed 9 miners in a mine the Czech Republic. In April 2017 an unsuppressed methane gas explosion killed 8 miners at the Stepnaya mine in the Ukraine. In February 2016, 36 miners were killed by an unsuppressed methane gas explosion at the Severnaya coal mine in Vorkuta, Russia. In November 2016, 33 miners were killed due to an unsuppressed explosion in Jinshangou Coal Mine in Chongqing. The risk of a methane gas and/or a coal dust explosion is clearly still present in coal mining operations. Over the years a number of methods have been investigated and developed to either prevent or suppress a coal mine explosion.
South Africa's Mining Weekly interviewed Explospot Systems' CEO, Arend Späth, on the successful implementation of automatic explosion suppression systems on continuous miners at Exxaro's Forzando Mine.