Coal bursts are a serious dynamic hazard for underground coalmines, and they attract the extensive interest of studies from mining and geotechnical researchers worldwide. More recently, coal-burst incidents were reported in some Australian coalmines as a result of inadequate geological assessment of coal-burst hazards. The coal-burst process is closely associated with the accumulation of elastic energy and the rapid dissipation of kinetic energy. This paper introduces the essential geological conditions for energy accumulation, and the likely precursors for rapid energy dissipation leading to coal burst, which can be used by Australian coalmines to determine their coal-burst risk accordingly. Different energy forms and their transformations during the coal-burst process are introduced in detail in this paper. The dominant geological factors resulting in the accumulation of massive energy are analyzed, and the likely precursors associated with the instant release of elastic energy are discussed.