HISTORICAL OVERVIEW ON POLISH MINING INDUSTRY

During the period of economical reforms in 1990s, coal mining industry restructuring was one of the most problematic subjects. The main goal was to adjust coal sector to the conditions of market economy and make it profitable and competitive against international coal markets. In communist era coal was produced to fulfill the domestic demand and the demand from Eastern Bloc countries. Under the new economical conditions coal mining sector had many problems to meet the requirements of new environment.

Between September 1991 and April 2004 every government was introducing the new programme for reforming the hard coal mining industry, giving the average of one new programme per year. Frequency of changes was caused by changing internal and external situation on the coal market while executing every next restructuring strategy, so in the end every programme had to be amended or replaced with the new one.

One of the followed models of restructuring Polish coal industry was changing the entire organizational structure. In 1990 government decided to establish 70 independent state-owned mines (including five already unprofitable and assigned for liquidation). This model was working until 1993, when government decided to consolidate mines. At the beginning there were 6 coal producing companies (Nadwiślańska, Bytomska, Rudzka, Gliwicka, Rybnicka, Jastrzębska), later, in July 1993 there was established coal holding – Katowicki Holding Węglowy (KHW). Also, at the same time seven mines were assigned for liquidation and two remain as independent companies (KWK Budryk and KWK Bogdanka in LZW).

In 2000 government established Mines Restructuring Company (SRK), which was assigned to organize liquidation of unprofitable mines. SRK was following two strategies: direct liquidation and indirect, which was based on merging unprofitable mines with prospective ones. Between 1990 and 2013 forty-four mines were forced to shut down their operations. Overproduction, work inefficiency and replacing coal with other sources of energy led also to employment reduction. Almost 75% of employees were fired from coal mining sector in the abovementioned period (from 415,704 people employed in 1990 there were only 106,693 left in 2013).

In 2003 twenty-three mines clustered around five independent companies were reorganized and incorporated into newly established company – Kompania Węglowa (KW). Katowicki Holding Węglowy with its 8 mines and separate mine Kazimierz-Juliusz formed Katowicka Grupa Kapitałowa (KGK). Apart from them, there were created: Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa which was producing coking coal in its 5 mines (later in 2008 KWK Budryk was incorporated into JSW structure), Lubelski Węgiel Bogdanka (privatized in 2009) and private company Zakład Górniczy SILTECH. In 2005 due to a merger of two mines owned by energy production company PKE there was established Południowy Koncern Węglowy (in 2014 rebranded to Tauron Wydobycie). In 2014 Kompania Węglowa sold KWK Knurów-Szczygłowice to Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa and in 2015 KWK Bobrek and KWK Piekary to Węglokoks Kraj.

Another set of moving mines to SRK for liquidation started between 2014 and 2015. On 4th May KWK Makoszowy and KWK Brzeszcze were sold by Kompania Węglowa (both still producing coal), few days later the list was enlarged by KWK Centrum (with all the operations already shut down). By the end of May KWK Kazimierz-Juliusz (previously owned by KGK) produced the last tonne of coal and two days after was moved to SRK for liquidation.

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