With regard to underground mining, methane is a gas that, on the one hand, poses a threat to the exploitation process and, on the other hand, creates an opportunity for economic development. As a result of coal exploitation, large amounts of coal enter the natural environment mainly through ventilation systems. Since methane is a greenhouse gas, its emission has a significant impact on global warming. Nevertheless, methane is also a high-energy gas that can be utilized as a very valuable energy resource. These different properties of methane prompted an analysis of both the current and the future states of methane emissions from coal seams, taking into account the possibilities of its use. For this reason, the following article presents the results of the study of methane emissions from Polish hard coal mines between 1993–2018 and their forecast until 2025. In order to predict methane emissions, research methodology was developed based on artificial neural networks and selected statistical methods. The multi-layer perceptron (MLP) network was used to make a prognostic model. The aim of the study was to develop a method to predict methane emissions and determine trends in terms of the amount of methane that may enter the natural environment in the coming years and the amount that can be used as a result of the methane drainage process. The methodology developed with the use of neural networks, the conducted research, and the findings constitute a new approach in the scope of both analysis and prediction of methane emissions from hard coal mines. The results obtained confirm that this methodology works well in mining practice and can also be successfully used in other industries to forecast greenhouse gas and other substance emissions.
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