Pit closures could cause loss of over 75,000 mining related jobs

The closure of hard coal mines over the next three decades could lead to the elimination of up to 75,900 jobs in the mining-related sector, according to a new report.

The possibility of layoffs were outlined in a report published by the Polish Mining Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GIPH), which was based on the work of the Research and Development Centre of the University of Economics in Katowice.

It highlighted the potential consequences of the liquidation of hard coal mines on the mining-related sector, as well as on the socio-economic situation in Silesia, the heartland of Polish mining.

The government plans a gradual phasing out of coal as Poland’s chief energy source over the coming decades as the country moves towards a greener future.

In the worst-case scenario outlined by the report up to 75,900 jobs in mining-related companies could go over the next 30 under the transformation, while the best-case scenario puts redundancies at 26,6700.

But economists believe that most probably 50,600 jobs may be eliminated.

"Employment in companies servicing the mining sector stands at 400,000," said the report, adding that companies surrounding the sector should also be taken into account, as they largely ensure the livelihoods of nearly half of the population of Silesia.

"The liquidation of jobs may lead to a significant increase in unemployment, mainly in Silesia, but also in other parts of the country," said Janusz Olszowski, GIPH president.

Given this the GIPH said that companies dependent on the mining sector will need support

"Being responsible businessmen, we must find new development directions using local know-how and development potential," said Olszowski. "Work has already started. We hope that we will be able to share its results with the government. And we are waiting for the government to start talks."

According to the results of a poll carried out last autumn on a sample of 207 companies cooperating with the mining sector, 82 percent had recorded a drop in their turnover with the mining industry, and 64 percent had suffered financial liquidity problems stemming from the financial condition of mines and mining companies.