Welcome to Poland
Overview of Resources
Welcome to Poland
Poland is located in Central Europe with Germany to the west. The total area of the country is 312,685 km2 and it has a population of 38,415,284 as of July 2012. The country’s climate is mostly temperate.
|The national flag of Poland.
Image Credit: CIA Factbook.
Although Poland was under communist rule for a long time, today it is a democratic, market-based nation. To form closer ties with its neighboring countries, Poland became a part of the European Union (EU) in 2004. Since 1990, the country has practised economic liberalization. Despite its GDP per capita being below the EU average, Poland was the only country in the EU to avoid recession during the financial crisis of 2008-2009. The GDP of the country in 2011 was reported to be $781.5 billion.
Poland’s natural resources include coal, silver, copper, natural gas, lead, salt, sulfur, and amber. The country has abundant mineral reserves. However, it is also dependent on the import of mineral commodities for domestic consumption.
Overview of Resources
In terms of world production of mineral resources as of 2010, Poland is
- The fourth largest producer of rhenium
- The ninth largest producer of silver
- The tenth largest producer of mined copper
In 2010, bituminous coal, copper, and cement accounted for about 66% of the value of mineral production. The other industrial minerals produced in the country were lime, salt, feldspar, gypsum, and sulfur.
The map of Poland. Image Credit: CIA Factbook
In 2010, the only copper mining and producing company in Poland was KGHM Polska Miedz S.A. It was one of the top producers of copper and silver in the world with about 3% and 5% of the world’s total production of copper and silver, respectively. The company owned two copper smelters and three mines with reserves estimated at about 1.4 billion Mt (Gt) of ore that contained 25 million Mt of copper. The company has plans to increase its future production to about 700,000 Mt/yr compared to 425,000 Mt in 2010 by investing in more exploration and mining operations.
KGHM Polska Miedz is currently involved in the construction of Europe’s largest copper mine at Kwielice by investing about €171.6 million.
Similarly, KGHM Ecoren S.A. was the only European producer of ammonium perrhenate (APR) and metallic rhenium. In 2010, KGHM Ecoren produced about 9% of the world’s total rhenium.
Since 1990, iron ore production in Poland has been stopped and the country relies on imported iron ore and concentrates for domestic pig iron production. It imported 6.5 Mt of iron ores and concentrates in 2010.
Coal has been Poland’s major fuel for years, and the government has considered coal as a very significant component for its energy security. In 2009, bituminous coal production accounted for 76% of the value of mineral fuels production. As it is a cheap source of fuel, the country hopes to use it to generate electricity until 2030. However, owing to the growing environmental concerns around the world and pressure from the EU’s carbon dioxide emission regulations, coal reserves are not expected to be expanded further.
As of 2010, Poland’s top producer of oil and gas was PGNiG, which accounted for 75% of natural gas production and 73% of crude petroleum production. In the same year, the country produced 5.7 billion m3 of natural gas and 5.1 (Mbbl) of crude oil and imported about 160.8 Mbbl of crude oil. The company has also acquired more than 70 exploration licenses for shale gas and tight gas deposits from the Ministry of the Environment.
According to experts, Poland's economic progress can reach greater heights if the following issues are tackled by the government:
- Rigid labor code
- Deficiencies in road and rail infrastructure
- Inefficient commercial court system
- Bureaucratic red tape
- Heavy taxation
- Low-level corruption in private sector
Many of Poland’s important mineral producing companies are state-owned and there has not been an increase in privatization in this sector. The current government has however formulated more deficit-reducing reforms and has plans to enact new business-friendly reforms.
A new mining tax bill has come into effect since March this year. According to end-June budget realization data, the Polish finance ministry has collected PLN 261.17 million budget receipts in the form of mining tax.
Owing to the increasing amount of mining waste, the Council of Ministers has accepted a draft of an amendment to the Act on mining waste. In 2009 alone, over 60 million t of mining waste was generated. The new regulations would now require mining companies to take care of its mining waste in a safe and environmentally-friendly manner.
Domestic demand combined with demand from Poland’s trade partners in the EU will ensure that the mining industry is active in the coming years. Experts believe that coal and copper will continue to be the top mineral products in terms of value. This fact is further reiterated by many of the government’s efforts listed below:
- Ensuring proper usage of coal and lignite resources
- Providing for advancement in geologic research relating to coal and lignite
- Removing legal obstacles to the development of coal and lignite reserves
- Ensuring easy access to coal and lignite reserves without any blockage issue due to land development plans
Disclaimer: The Author of this article does not imply any investment recommendation and some content is speculative in nature. The Author is not affiliated in any way with any companies mentioned and all statistical information is publically available.