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Our pride – Mine-Smelter Emergency Rescue Division of KGHM Polska Miedź S.A.

The safety of the employees of KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. is monitored on an ongoing basis by the employees of the Mine-Smelter Emergency Rescue Unit who are ready to set off on a rescue mission at any time, both underground, on the surface, in the air and under water. The team includes height rescue specialists and divers. The responsibilities of the unit include disaster management and rescue operations in all divisions of KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. during emergency situations, such as fires, rock bursts, wall slides, floods, power and mechanical failures and engineering, chemical and environmental disasters, as well as carrying out numerous preventive duties to ensure reliable, trouble free execution of the technological processes.


Figure 5. Responsibilities of the Mine-Smelter Emergency Rescue Unit




The Mine-Smelter Emergency Rescue Division employs 114 persons, including 79 fire fighters and 14 professional mine rescue staff who are supported by approximately 400 perfectly trained mine rescue volunteers who on a daily basis work underground and have very good knowledge of the conditions which are found there. Candidates for the rescue service must have appropriate psychological and physical characteristics: perfect physical fitness, capability of quick decision making, leadership and organisation skills, high psychological resistance, particularly under stress conditions, ability to quickly analyse many different external factors and respond to them properly and – last but not least – excellent collaboration skills to ensure smooth interaction with other team members. The minimum age is 21 and at least one year of mining work experience in one of the Company’s divisions is required.


The Mine-Smelter Emergency Rescue Unit is on duty for 24 hours seven days a week. The basic team on duty includes:

  • At least 13 fire fighters in the Fire Service section;
  • 15 rescuers in the Mine Rescue Unit divided into three teams, the shift manager, the rescue equipment mechanic and a rescue physician. The Division has signed agreements with 11 physicians of different specialties including a surgeon, psychiatrist, cardiologist, occupational health specialist and general practitioners. The rescue physician with paramedics and any of the three mine rescue teams can get to the most distant shaft on the surface within 10–15 minutes and, subsequently, within 20–30 minutes reach the most distant site of work underground. The time needed to gather specialist rescue teams is below 60 minutes.



The Mine-Smelter Emergency Rescue Unit has two specialist sections. One of them is the height rescue section which employs people trained by the rescuers from the Mountain Volunteer Search and Rescue Service (GOPR) and the Tatra Mountain Volunteer Rescue Service (TOPR). The team conducts rescue operations in vertical shafts and shafts with steep incline. The other group are divers prepared to operate in the most difficult conditions under water. In addition to the rescue and prevention operations (including chemical, environmental and technological disasters, fire fighting and restoration of areas affected by fires, rock bursts, wall slides, fl oods and all kinds of power and mechanical failures), the rescuers are also responsible for a range of preventive maintenance duties to ensure uninterrupted, trouble free execution of the production processes. In 2012, the divers took part in the repair of breakdowns in the Ore Enrichment Division and Polkowice-Sieroszowice Mine and in replacement of the screens on water intakes from the Odra River in Głogów Smelter. Height rescuers are involved in preventive maintenance of holding tanks and shafts and inspection of casing.


In order to be capable of the most effective performance in the most difficult conditions, the Mine-Smelter Emergency Rescue Unit regularly replaces and upgrades the equipment used. In 2012, tests were carried out in the Rescue Division and in the underground mines of a new wireless communication system called RATRA, used to coordinate the activities of all rescue forces on the site of a disaster, mainly underground. The system can also be used on the surface, particularly when other means of communication fail or are unavailable.






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KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. is the winner of the Most Attractive Employer title in third edition of the Randstadt Award survey held in Poland. The high employment standards maintained in Poland will be implemented in all KGHM Group companies worldwide.