Zarys historii poszukiwań, badań i górnictwa węgla brunatnego w Polsce oraz udział w niej Państwowego Instytutu Geologicznego

Edward Ciuk


Historię poszukiwań, badań i górnictwa węgla brunatnego na ziemiach polskich ujęto w okresy: sprzed 1860 r., lata 1861-1918, 1919-1939, 194-1944 i po 1945 r. Najbujniejsze okresy rozwoju przypadają na lata 1860-1918 oraz po 1945 r. Ten ostatni okres cechuje szeroki zakres badań geologicznych, w wyniku których doszło do odkrycia wielu nowych złóż węgIa brunatnego oraz znakomitego rozpoznania stratygrafii i geologii trzeciorzędu na Niżu Polskim. Nastąpił niespotykany dotąd rozwój górnictwa tej kopaliny, osiągając poziom wydobycia ponad 75 min t rocznie.


In the history of exploration, examination and mining of brown coal in Poland it is possible to distinguish several periods:

The period before the years 1860 is accepted as a date of the beginning of industrialization of the countries in the Western Europe, including Poland. The annals of the chroniclers from the years 1692-1693 give hints about brown coal in Żytawa Trough (the environs of present time Bogatynia -fire in the outcrop of coal), and from the years 1740-1780 about the exploitation of this mineral product in the vicinity of Zatoń near Turoszów and Krzelków near Ząbkowice Sląskie in Lower Silesia. Some indications are existing, according to which brown coal was known in central Poland already in the XII-th century.

The period of the years 1861-1918 when brown coal,being considered the significant natural resource, became the important mineral product, mainly in the western area. Several important mining districts fanned there, as for instance: the district of the area near Lubusz, Żary - Zielona Góra district, Zgorzelec district and in the lesser degree Opole district and in single cases in the vicinity of Orłowo in Olsztyn district, Sieraków in the district Poznań, Mogilno in the district Bydgoszcz, and others. It is estimated, that in Poland existed about 130 small, shallow, underground mines of brown coal. Their existence was preceded by the intensive geological surveying, what is shown by the scientific papers, published at that time. In the parts of Poland which Russia and Prussia took during the dismembering of that country, the development of the mining of brown coal was decidedly smaller because of more difficult conditions of the occurrence and discovery of deposits. The geological surveys were made in the regions of Zawiercie, Góry Świętokrzyskie Mts and in the south-eastern region.

The period 1919-1939. The surveying and investigations of brown coal were beeing made in Poland and in the areas belonging then to the German III-rd Reich. The development of brown coal mining was different. In the western areas of Poland under the Prussian (Hitlerian) occupation the mining reached the value of 4-5 million tons in 1937; in Poland it was diminishing systematically from the initial value of 270 thousand tons to 10 thousand tons in the end of the period between wars. The cheap and far better black coal from Upper Silesia and Dąbrowa Basin was the strong competition for brown coal.

The period 1940-1944 was relatively good for the development of the mining of brown coal in the terrains of Poland. In the western area the production of brown coal was at the former level. One great opencut mine in Turów and about 15 underground mines were active. In Poland Germans, adapting the results of the investigations of A. Sarjusz-Makowski, from the years between the wars, began the intensive surveying and geological examinations in the area of Konin, Uniejów, Tuchola and Wronki, where the opencut mine in Morzysław and the briquetting plant in Marantów were built. The project of the power plant near Konin (present-time power plant in Gosławice) was prepared, and further geological prospecting and surveying works were beeing made very intensively in the area of Niesłusz, Gosławice and, further to the north, near Pątnów, Jóźwin and Kazimierz.

The period after 1945. The quick revival of the mining of brown coal, together with the unusual increase of its productions, is actual till the present day. Over 30% of Polish electric energy is produced using the brown coal. After the World War II the industry of brown coal, devastated in the great degree, was taken over by the Polish government. The mobilisation of the mines took part in the years 1945-1950. The mine in Turów was taken over in 1947 ready for the exploitation. The beginning of the development of Konin Basin took part in the years 1953-1971; Turek Basin was built in the years 1964-1977. The exploitation of Bełchatów mine has begun in 1982. In the year 1960, the output of brown coal in Poland amounted to 9.3 million tons, while in 1965 -22.6 million tons, in 1980-36.8 million tons, and in 1990 -75.4 million tons. And the same time, the surveying and examination of brown coal deposits was developed on the scale not known before, mainly by State Geological Institute and some other institutions. Very many research works concerning the geology of brown coal and the geology of Tertiary on the Polish Lowland, and thousands of scientific papers, were elaborated and published. While formerly the capacity for the resources of brown coal has been estimated at 2-3 thousand million tons, present documented reserves are evaluated at about 36 thousand million tons, with the summary geological resources of about 230 thousand million tons. These resources exists in over 160 proved deposits and coal fields. They situate brown coal in the national balance of solid raw materials for the production of energy at the position of the very important, if not fully appreciated primary energy carrier.

This unusual development of the geology and mining of brown coal in Poland after the World War II ensued as the result of the initiative of State Geological Institute together with the institution connected with coal industry.

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