The ignition temperatures of a Loy Yang brown coal and a Datong bituminous coal were investigated in a wire-mesh reactor where the secondary reactions of the evolved volatiles were minimised. An increase in the average particle ignition temperature of 21 A?C was observed for the brown coal when air (21 O2 + 79 N2) was replaced with a mixture of 21 O2 + 79 CO2. Combustion was also carried out in the mixtures of 21 O2 + 79 argon and 21 O2 + 79 helium in order to determine the effects of heat transfer on the observed particle ignition temperature. It is concluded that the thermal conductivity of gas atmosphere surrounding the particles greatly influences the observed particle ignition temperature while the effects of the heat capacity of the gas atmosphere was very minor under our experimental conditions. The structure of char and the reactions involving the char (char-O2 and char-CO2) can greatly affect the observed particle ignition temperature. In particular, the char-CO2 reactions were largely responsible for the observed difference in particle ignition temperature in air and in 21 O2 + 79 CO2. Alkali and alkaline earth metallic (AAEM) species in the brown coal also significantly affect the observed particle ignition temperature.