Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa (JSW) has launched its newest underground coal mine, Bzie-Dębina, located in Jastrzębie-Zdró, Poland.
The new mine consists of the renamed John Paul shaft (previously 1-Bzie) and new buildings, including the winding engine and the temporary administrative building. Subsequent buildings will be built over the upcoming year, JSW said, adding that there were also plans to sink another shaft, a ventilation shaft, in the nearby community of Zebrzydowice. The company intends to invest PLN3 billion ($748 million) in its newest mine by 2033.
“Twelve years ago, this site consisted of just mud, a meadow and barren land. My colleagues from the management board and I visited this spot in January 2007 and we said: ‘There will be a mine here.’ And that is exactly what has happened,” Włodzimierz Hereźniak, President of the Management Board of JSW, said this week at the mine’s opening ceremony, adding that the company planned to spend roughly PLN922 million in capex on this mine in 2019-2022.
Poland Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, who participated in this week’s ceremony (pictured, speaking), said no modern economy can exist without steel, and, with that, coking coal. “This highly modern mine will be needed in Poland and across Europe,” he said. “It should be pointed out that coking coal is recognised by the European Union as a strategic raw material. That is why we should be glad that we are expanding its capacity.”
The new mine’s recoverable coal reserves are estimated to be approximately 180 Mt. Some 95% of these reserves comprise hard coking coal located in two deposits: Bzie-Dębina 1-Zachód (71.4 Mt, concession valid until the end of 2051) and Bzie-Dębina 2-Zachód (106.4 Mt, concession valid until the end of 2042).
Extraction from the first longwall may commence in 2022, according to JSW, with Seam 404/1 being the first operational seam. Ultimately JSW intends to establish four operational longwalls prior to 2030, with the extracted material transported to the modernised coal preparation plant in the Zofiówka Section of its operations.
At full tilt, the mine is expected to extract around 2 Mt/y of coking coal, with a life of mine estimated to be at least 30 years. JSW said: “In this way, it is perfectly aligned to JSW’s growth strategy, which calls for growing its run rate, chiefly of coking coal, to 18 Mt/y in 2030.
Bzie-Dębina, at present, has more than 230 employees, with the majority of miners having been transferred from other mines within the group. They are mostly working at the preparatory works unit and the electrical and machinery units, with work primarily consisting of tunnelling work to setup mine faces. By the end of this year the mine will have 300 employees, but some 2,000 people will eventually be employed at the mine.
The decision to spin off a new mine from the integrated Borynia-Zofiówka-Jastrzębie operation was made by the JSW Management Board at the beginning of this year. Until now, the newest Polish hard coal mine had been the Budryk coal mine in Ornontowice, which began to extract coal in March 1994.