On 17 August 2009 PGE Kopalnia Węgla Brunatnego Bełchatów S.A. excavated the first ton of lignite from the "Szczerców" Field – one of the three fields in the Bełchatów lignite deposit. The reserves of this opencast equal 620 million tons.
Lignite's major buyer is PGE Elektrownia Bełchatów. The investment in the "Szczerców" Field has a long history. - The first decisions to build an opencast at the "Szczerców" Field were made in 1979. Although the construction process was started, stopped and resumed a few times, the investment was aborted definitely in 1991.
"We resumed works on the construction of the "Szczerców" opencast in 1998," says Jacek Kaczorowski, President of PGE KWB Bełchatów S.A. "Taking into consideration the current circumstances and demands of the power market, we estimate that the "Szcerców" Field will achieve a mining capacity of 36.5 million tons of lignite a year," adds Mr Kaczorowski. Currently the "Szczerców" Field covers an area of 673 ha, and the pit's depth reaches 120 m. Ultimately, the new opencast will cover an area of 2359 ha, and its depth will reach 330 m.
The total length of conveyor belts transporting lignite is 47 km. Before the commencement of mining operations at the "Szczerców" Field, a range of preparatory work had to be carried out. For the mining services, it was a great challenge to move the huge basic machines and the conveyor belt drive station from the "Bełchatów" Field to the area of the "Szczerców" Field.
The route along which the machines were moved is 20 km long, and the average speed of the "colossi" was from 1.8 to about 10 m/min. According to the plan, the reserves of the "Szczerców" Field will have been exhausted by the year 2038.
PGE Kopalnia Węgla Brunatnego Bełchatów S.A. is the leader of lignite mining in Poland. It has operated since 1975 and is the largest opencast lignite mine in Poland and one of the largest in Europe. Since 2007 it has belonged to the largest power industry group in Poland – PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna S.A. With about 7,000 employees, the Bełchatów Mine is also the biggest employer in the Łódź region. The Bełchatów Mine is renowned in Poland and Europe for its size, modern approach to mining technology issues and involvement in environmental protection. Lignite from the Bełchatów Mine is the cheapest fuel fired to generate the cheapest electricity in Poland.
Today PGE KWB Bełchatów S.A. excavates approximately 33 million tons of lignite a year, which constitutes 50% of the national production of this energy fuel. "Brown gold" from Bełchatów is used to generate about 20% of electricity in Poland.. PGE KWB Bełchatów S.A. is a modern, environment-friendly company which initiates many wide-ranging pro-ecological activities. This can be confirmed by numerous prizes and distinctions awarded to the company, e.g. the titles of the Leader of Polish Ecology or the Environment-Friendly Company.
PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna S.A. is the largest power engineering company in Poland and one of the largest such companies in Central and Eastern Europe. Thanks to the combination of its own fuel (lignite) resources, power generation and final distribution networks, PGE guarantees a safe and reliable power supply to 5 million households, businesses and institutions.
The company's net power generation amounts to about 56 TWh, which constitutes 42% of the national electricity output. The installed capacity equals 12.4 GW. The PGE Capital Group has operated under its current structure since 2007. The Group's major areas of activity comprise the mining of lignite and generation of heat and electricity from conventional sources, the wholesale trade of electricity and related products, the retail sales of electricity and heat, the distribution of electricity as well as the generation of electricity from renewable sources.
Contact for the media:
PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna
tel.: (022) 340 19 32
PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna
Public Relations Specialist
tel.: (022) 340 18 59