Adiabatic self-heating tests have been conducted on subbituminous coal cores from the same seam profile, which cover a mineral matter content range of 11.2-71.1%. In all cases the heat release rate does not conform to an Arrhenius kinetic model, but can best be described by a third order polynomial. Assessment of the theoretical heat sink effect of the mineral matter in each of the tests reveals that the coal is less reactive than predicted using a simple energy conservation equation. There is an additional effect of the mineral matter in these cases that cannot be explained by heat sink alone. The disseminated mineral matter in the coal is therefore inhibiting the oxidation reaction due to physicochemical effects. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.