The team experienced the earliest morning wake at 5 am to reach the KGHM mines, Lubin and Rudna, which are approximately 2 hour drive outside of Wroclaw. The team was split into two groups of 15; the first group went to the Lubin mine while the other went to the Rudna mine.
The Lubin mine has been in operation for approximately 40 years with an estimated mine life of another 40 years. Based on the sedimentary sequential deposit, the Lubin mine utilizes the Room and Pillar mining method. From our tour, we were able to witness some high grade seams with approximately 2.6% Cu. However, the average grade of the mine is 0.87% and 40 g/t of copper and silver respectively. The working levels vary between the 350m to 850m with a typical drift height of 3 metres. During the mine tour, we were able to see various common underground mining activities such as loading of a underground haul truck with an LHD, installation of rock support with a bolter and dumping of ore into an ore pass. The end of the tour included a small presentation of the entire mine layout in order to give us a sense of the MASSIVE footprint of the Lubin mine.
Rudna celebrated 40 years of operation this year and the current mine plan is to continue till 2064. Using a Room and Pillar mining method the Rudna mine is massive. Mining copper and silver at a rate of 30,000 tpd at 1.6% Cu and 46 ppm Ag. It is the largest copper mine in Europe and one of the largest underground mines in the world. The mine has 514 pieces of equipment and employees 4,215 people, in which we got to see a few operate. After putting on PPE we walked into the cage and dropped 1km underground at 12 m/s, and then getting into a man carrier driving to one of the faces. When we got to the face we realized how hot it was. Approximately 30 degrees Celsius with 100% humidity, some of us were sweating more than others. The mine tour included witnessing scaling, rock bolting, loading explosives, loading and dumping of a haul truck. We were able to get up close and personal with the equipment in the underground mechanical shop. It was interesting to see the differences between Canadian and Polish mines.
Unfortunately, none of the underground photos were allowed to be posted.
Jason & Cameron