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1963-1968 First ore, start of extraction*

First ore, start of extraction*
First ore, start of extraction*

As a result of the founding in January 1960 of the state enterprise called “Lubin mine under construction”, and subsequently “Copper Mining-Smelting Combine under construction” (Kombinat Górniczo-Hutniczy Miedzi w budowie, abbreviated to KGHM), further government decisions were taken with respect to the development of needed infrastructure for the newly-created Legnica-Głogów Industrial Zone. In January 1962 the Council of Ministers resolved to establish a program to include the construction of three mines: Lubin, Polkowice and Rudna. This decision wisely expanded the scope of investment of the newly-created enterprise, and in particular accelerated the schedule of construction of the first two mines, Lubin and Polkowice.

The sinking of shafts to extract the copper ore began in the New Copper Belt in November 1960 with the L-III shaft of the Lubin mine. The work was carried out by the enterprise Przedsiębiorstwo Budowy Kopalń Rud Miedzi w Lubinie (today PeBeKa S.A.), which was the general contractor for all of the 29 mine shafts built during the 50-year history of KGHM (another two shafts are currently being built). The first, historic L-III shaft, later renamed as the Bolesław shaft in memory of the engineer Bolesław Sztukowski, was completed in 1138 days. Due to difficult geological-mining conditions encountered during the sinking, it not only represented a pilot project, but also became a valuable training field to develop better methods for sinking the remaining mine shafts of KGHM.

Officially, the first copper ore was taken from the L-III shaft on 20 March 1963. In fact, miners had reached the copper-bearing seam several days before, at the depth of 610 m, thereby confirming the reality which gave rise to the present-day KGHM – the discovery in 1957 of the great Polish copper deposit.

Over 5 years later, on 19 July 1968, and after 8 years of construction, the first two mines – Lubin and Polkowice – were formally commissioned. Apart from the celebratory and momentous nature of this day, the mining system applied in the new mines was exceptional and innovative in the Polish mining industry. Modeled on French iron ore mines, the room-and-pillar mining system was based on two main factors: the use of roof bolting and the use of heavy vehicles with combustion engines for all tasks involving the extraction and haulage of copper ore. Contemporary Polish industry acquired a new, particularly valuable significance…

* Text based on material from the 50-year Chronicle of PeBeKa, I Edition, Lubin 2010 and the KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. Monograph, II Edition, Lubin 2007.

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