In Poland, almost 74% of all hard coal balance resources is steam coal, while coking coal makes around 26% of it. They are located in three basins: Upper Silesian Coal Basin (GZW), Lublin Coal Basin (LZW) and Lower Silesian Coal Basin (DZW), however the last one is currently not operated due to the difficult and expensive mining conditions (coal exploration operations were shut down there in 2000).
GZW is the main Polish coal basin with 80% of all balance resources and variety of coal: steam (61%) and coking with different quality parameters. In LZW majority is taken by steam coal (78%). On the other hand, LZW deposits are more attractive for the investors due to the geological structure of them, enabling cost reduction (Australian company Prairie Downs Metals is running a research project in this region and planning to set up mining operations in the following years).
Polish natural resources classification divides deposits to balance resources and off balance resources. The second type are all of the resources, that are impossible to explore at the moment due to its location, but they might be explored in different circumstances. Balance resources (suitable for exploration) are divided to nonindustrial (exploration is not impossible due to the economical, technical or environmental issues connected with the given project) and industrial, which are ready for exploration because of the economical and technical advantages. Industrial resources are reduced by the total loss, which is generated during the exploration. When it comes to accuracy of collecting data, Polish geologists divide balance resources to five categories: A (best recognized and documented), B, C1, C2 and D (considered as promising, but not very well recognized yet). Table bellow shows Polish coal geological resources accounted for XII 2013 (in million tonnes)
Due to the process of shutting down operations in more and more mines and changing criteria, balance resources have shrunk in last two decades. Nevertheless, experts from Central Mining Institute (GIG) state, that with annual production of 90 million tonnes Polish hard coal resources should will suffice for next 30 or even 40 years, if coal mining will go trough serious infrastructure development. Similar forecasts come from Industrial Development Agency (ARP), which estimated that coal resources will be sufficient for the next 25-30 years (2010).