Poland looks to Australia for METS safety and efficiency solutions

15 December 2022

Poland is stepping up its transition to clean energy to reduce emissions to zero and meet urgent energy demand from neighbouring countries.

Under the European Union Green Deal, the bloc is aiming to achieve net zero by 2050. Poland will have to triple its rate of decarbonisation over the next decade compared with the previous 30 years. 

Poland is now accelerating its energy transition. The country is reducing its reliance on coal, and building infrastructure for clean energy sources. These include renewable energy, nuclear energy, wind farms and natural gas.

There are opportunities for Australian mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies to offer solutions. The Polish resources and energy sector wants to make mining processes more efficient, productive, sustainable and safe.

Seeking solutions to improve occupational safety in mines

Poland and Australia share a long history of mining. Polish miners hold Australian suppliers in high regard for their work health safety (WHS) and safety management systems. 

Polish mining companies need robust WHS solutions to manage complex geological and mining conditions. Over 70% of Poland’s underground mining is at risk of hazards. These include methane concentration, coal dust explosions, rock bursts, ground subsidence, fire and flooding. 

Australian METS has a reputation in Poland as a supplier of unique technologies with high safety standards. For example, NLT Digital offers real-time extraction data, tracks underground operations and offers two-way communication. This helps keep miners safe by telling them to evacuate in a dangerous situation. It also alerts above-ground staff when machinery needs repairing.’

The Polish mining industry is looking for products and services such as:

  • underground communications and GPS staff tracking systems 
  • head lamps 
  • personal methane and O2 gas sensors 
  • self-aspiring gas masks and air purifying respirators 
  • climate control 
  • refuge chambers 
  • bat bags (rock dust) for coal dust explosion suppression 
  • general safety practices, such as rescue training. 

Modernising existing facilities to meet increasing demand 

Polish mining companies are seeking solutions to drive efficiency, price competitiveness, environmental protection and scientific development. They aim to install these solutions at facilities in the Silesian and Lublin coal basins.

COVID-19 quickened the digitisation of mining operations. However, there is ongoing demand for remote control, remote sensory and autonomous solutions. 

The following solutions are in demand: 

  • IT solutions for mine planning, deposit assessment and asset control. 
  • Efficient coal-bed methane extraction, collection and utilisation. 
  • Roof bolting (strata control) expertise, technologies and equipment. 
  • Improved drilling technologies, especially directional drilling and navigation capabilities. 
  • Equipment and services to support modernisation, including predictive maintenance and automation. 
  • Sparkless underground communication systems. 
  • Autonomous vehicles. 
  • Coal washing and coal blending plant upgrades. 
  • Personnel management, including individual worker and staff tracking systems, work cycle management and payroll systems.

Demand is concentrated in basins surrounding Katowice, Konin and Belchatow. These are areas where Poland has significant deposits of lignite, copper, zinc, lead and sulphur. 

Specialised services needed to decommission closed mine sites 

Poland has earmarked €3.8 billion from the European Union Green Deal fund to manage the closure and decommissioning of mine sites. These funds will mostly go to the Silesia and Lesser Poland voivodships. A voivodeship is the highest-level administrative division of Poland, similar to a province.

This offers opportunities for Australian METS companies with expertise in: 

  • decommissioning mines 
  • land remediation and decontamination 
  • backfill technologies 
  • shaft filling 
  • water table analysis.

Entering Poland’s mining market 

Working with a local partner or appointing a distributor are the most common ways to enter the market. 

Most Polish mining companies are state-owned. This means Australian companies must go through a public procurement process in most cases. Each tender will outline the specific procedure and documentation needed.  

Imported mining equipment must have the required EU certification and associated documentation. Austrade can assist Australian companies who are new to the Polish market or the EU. We can help clarify certification and safety testing requirements with the following institutions: 

Go further, faster with Austrade

Contact Austrade Warsaw to learn more about opportunities in Poland’s resources and energy sector.