The coal-cutting technology group at the Bureau of Mines Twin Cities (Minnesota) Research Center is investigating ways to reduce primary dust generated by coal cutting. The progression of research within the program is from fundamental laboratory research, to fundamental field research, to field concept verification. Then the Bureau recommends warranted changes and/or prototype development to industry. Currently the group has several projects in each phase of research. The Bureau's current fundamental studies of bit characteristics are directed toward determining the effects of conical bit wear on primary respirable dust generation, energy, and cutting forces; establishing best conical bit mount condition to increase life by enhancing bit rotation; and comparing chisel-type cutters to conical-type cutters. Additionally, to establish a suitable homogeneous reference material for cutting experiments, a synthetic coal with a plaster base is being developed.