About the Region
Lower Silesia is the north-western part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia and is one of Poland’s sixteen provinces. The region is located in the south-western part of Poland, occupying 6.4% of its total area (19 946,7 km²), and is bordering with the Czech Republic in the South and with Germany (Saxony) in the West. The population in the region amounts to almost 3 million people. More than 30% of the region’s population live in the region’s four largest cities of which Wrocław, the capital of Lower Silesia, by far is the most significant one with about 640,000 inhabitants. The other three major cities are Wałbrzych, Legnica and Jelenia Góra.
The region of Lower Silesia is one of the most diversified regions in Poland in terms of nature, landscape and culture. It is also one of the most industrialised regions in Poland. The leading economic sectors in Lower Silesia are motor vehicles, electronics, power and construction, chemical and food processing industries, information and communication technology, mining, and furniture and textile.
The Mining and Metallurgy Industry
The region has a long history of extraction of metals such as gold, silver, lead, copper, iron and tin. Industrial raw materials also constitute a significant group of minerals in Lower Silesia with a long extraction history. Nowadays, minerals from each group occur in the region of Lower Silesia: metallic, chemical, industrial, energy, as well as brines, healing and thermal waters. Some of the minerals, such as copper ore, silver, nickel, gold, whiteware ceramic clays, quartz veins, magnesites, quartz rocks and kaolin, are unique on a national scale. Lower Silesia is a leader in the mining of road and construction stones, refractory clays and natural aggregates.
An important part of the economy in the region is the exploitation of copper and silver ore in the Legnica-Głogów Copper District. The copper deposit in Lower Silesia is one of the largest in the world and is exploited in three underground mines: Lubin, Polkowice-Sieroszowice and Rudna. The extracted materials are enriched in the concentrator plants, while the production of copper, silver, gold, lead and other metals takes place in the three smelters: Głogów, Legnica and Cedynia. Tailings from copper processing are stored in Żelazny Most Tailing Dump – the largest of this type structure in Europe. The company KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. operates the copper deposits and is also the owner of the plants.
Mineral Deposits and Metallurgy Production Sites
The most important part of the economy in the region is the exploitation of copper and silver ore in the Legnica-Głogów Copper District. Copper ore output in 2017 amounted to 31,185 thousand tons (1.50% Cu and 47,8 g/t Ag), containing 467 thousand tons of metallic copper and 1 490 tons of silver. In addition, 3648 kg of gold, platinum and palladium and 10.93 tons of rhenium were produced, both from own and foreign concentrates.
Lower Silesia is the leader among the Polish voivodships when it comes to the total area of rock mining (22 496 ha). Total output of rock minerals in 2017 was almost 80 000 kt. Lower Silesia is also a Polish leader in the mining of road and construction stones, refractory clays and natural aggregates. These areas represent a significant percentage of total rock mining areas in Poland (25%).
Lignite mining in 2016 amounted to 7,53 million tonnes, which accounted for 12.5% of the domestic production and has remained stable in the last three years. Natural gas production from deposits located in Lower Silesia is 973.41 million m3 and accounts for 18-19% of the domestic production.