Integrated Report of KGHM Polska Miedź S.A.
and the KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. Group
for 2020

Waste management and implementation of the idea of circular economy

Striving towards a circular economy is one of the priorities of the KGHM Polska Miedź Group. It is connected with the Earth Overshoot Day indicator discussed above in this section.

The Group accepted the roadmap published on 24 September 2019 for the development of a circular economy in Poland, as well as the publication of the European Green Deal on 13 September 2019, which included the Sustainable Industry package understood as presented below:

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KGHM has for many years been pursuing the approach resulting from the circular economy (CE) and wants to join its development.

  1. The extraction of copper ore, followed by its processing at all stages of production, is inextricably linked to its impact on various aspects of the natural environment. The minimisation of this impact, made possible thanks to the implementation of circular economy, allows for protecting the environment and improving and developing KGHM industrial installations built in the past as well as pursuing new investments in this field, with simultaneous engagement in local, national, sector and international initiatives for the environment. In order to quantify the above, the KGHM Group constantly monitors data related to the environmental impact of its operations. The Group complies with all requirements resulting from regulations and best practice standards with regard to environment protection, and to a large extent takes proactive steps in this respect.
  2. KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. fully understands and implements the definition of circular economy, understanding it as the value of products, materials and resources in economy sustained as long as possible and waste production reduced to a minimum, aiming at the development of sustainable, low-emission, resource-saving and competitive economy. It also accepts and wants to pursue the European Union goals thanks to circular economy: savings in the amount of EUR 600 billion for firms from the EU, which accounts for 8% of their annual turnover, creation of 580 thousand jobs, reduction of CO2 emissions by 450 million tons by 2030.
  3. KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. wants to participate in the implementation of the Polish roadmap to achieve circular economy. Therefore, it wants to identify all possible activities in the Company aimed at increasing the efficiency of resource utilisation and reducing waste production. Key elements of building circular economy in KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. include:
    • innovation, strengthening of cooperation between the Company and science sector, and consequently implementation of innovative solutions related to circular economy
    • participating in the growth of the market for secondary metallic raw materials and increasing the share of such materials in production
    • minimizing the volume of post-production waste to residual waste levels
    • seeking and implementing solutions that allow utilisation of waste storage sites as secondary deposits
  4. The idea of creating circular economy is put into practice in the KGHM Group in the following groups of actions:
    • commercialisation of flotation waste towards recovering metal from such waste, as well as economic utilisation of rock forming minerals, as sealing material for the Żelazny Most Tailings Storage Facility, as filling in post-mining goafs, and material for applications in construction, road building and agriculture
    • development of the technology of recycling copper smelting in RCR furnace
    • closing the circulation of water in ore processing
    • full reclamation of post-production areas
    • development and implementation of environmentally-friendly flotation reagents and improvement of metal recovery from fine-grained feed
    • utilisation of heat energy contained in the mined deposit
    • development of the Company’s own research and development activity towards Circular Economy
    • development of the CuBR Joint Venture towards Circular Economy
    • research and development within the Horizon Europe program towards Circular Economy
    • development of the Company’s own investments towards Circular Economy
  5. KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. implements the requirements introduced by the amended Waste Act, which include: launching a National Waste Database (BDO), surveillance system for waste storage and disposal sites and measures to secure claims to cover costs of removing negative environmental effects. Compliance with the requirements of the amended act entails registration of waste in a way that is transparent to audit authorities, while mitigating its adverse effect on the natural environment.
  6. KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. has for many years conducted and will conduct a series of its own activities, not forced by legal regulations, aimed at the implementation of circular economy. An overview of these activities for 2020 is presented below in this section.

The aforementioned activities in three thematic groups related to natural environment protection and minimisation of inconvenience related to its operations are implemented in KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. thanks to the KGHM environmental policy and KGHM energy policy, which set the highest ecological and environmental standards for the Company.

Use of raw materials being waste

Every year KGHM makes attempts to introduce effective solutions to manifest its efforts to operate in line with the idea of circular economy. One of the components, which are excellent manifestations of circular economy, is production of road aggregates from copper slag. Slag is a waste (by-product) of the production process in smelters. Every year Legnica Copper Smelter and Refinery produces approx. 200 thousand and Głogów Copper Smelter approx. 450–500 thousand tons of slag and about 450 thousand tons of granulated slag. Thanks to our knowledge and technology, this material is not dumped on a landfill site but it is given a second life. Owing to the technologies at the disposal of KGHM Group companies, the waste is converted into a full-value product used in road construction: high quality aggregate. In this way, it is possible to manage the entire copper slag produced by KGHM. Furthermore, the process of aggregate production based on the material supplied by KGHM’s smelters also permits a reduction of dust and gas emissions that would be released during the traditional process of aggregate creation. Over the past 10 years, KGHM Metraco S.A., a KGHM subsidiary, has managed approx. 10 million tons of slag, which means that it was not necessary to obtain this amount of raw material from natural deposits, and at the same time such a huge waste volume was not dumped on landfill sites.

Aggregate produced by the KGHM Group were used for the execution of such projects as the construction of S3, S5, S6 or S11 express road, which is in progress at present. Material coming from smelters after an appropriate production process was used also for the expansion of the southern quarter of the Żelazny Most Tailings Storage Facility. Considerable volumes of material of this type are also used by local buyers executing infrastructure projects commissioned by local authorities. The primary consumers are the largest construction companies specializing in road construction.

Scrap management

A high-quality copper scrap processing plant was installed within the core production line of the Legnica Copper Smelter and Refinery, which is the first stage for the Hybrid Smelter being designed in Legnica. Ultimately, it will be supplemented with the Scrap Trading Base, where the feedstock will be prepared for the successive furnace for the remelting of the remaining copper-bearing materials coming from recycling.

As part of the first stage of the Hybrid Smelter in Legnica, the copper scrap processing technology with the use of a Revolving Casting-Refining (RCR) furnace was applied. The applied RCR furnace permits remelting copper scrap with the average 95% Cu content with the efficiency of at least 80 thousand tons of anode copper per year. The total production of anode copper at the Legnica Copper Smelter and Refinery in 2020 was 167.6 thousand tons, including 58.8 thousand tons produced by the RCR furnace.  In 2020, a total of 91 thousand tons of scrap were processed by the Legnica Copper Smelter and Refinery, which were thus returned to use in line with the idea of circular economy and did not become waste that would require disposal.

Electromobility and low-carbon mining machines

One of the primary infrastructure-related obstacles in the development of electromobility is currently the deficit of fast charging points, whose range would cover the incomplete road network in Poland and whole Europe. The rapid development of transport based on electricity will pose an enormous challenge for electricity producers and distributors but will also give them an even 20% increase in the market of consumers. Bearing the above aspects in mind, KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. commenced decisive actions towards broadly understood electromobility in 2018 through the gradual and consistent replacement of own transport fleet with zero-emissions electric vehicles, but above all through the development of ultra-fast charging stations available to the public in the LGOM area. The first station was created at the KGHM Head Office already in December 2018 and it was followed in 2019 by successive ones at the Głogów Copper Smelter, Legnica Copper Smelter and Lubin Mine Divisions. Each “charger” has three types of connectors, which ensures full compatibility with the vehicles that are available on the market. The stations are included in the IT system of Tauron Dystrybucja Serwis. The support for the electromobility development program provides for free charging for the users, which is beneficial to the environment and climate.

In addition, as part of actions for protection of the environment and climate as well as health and working comfort of the employees, KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. performs works aimed to reduce dust and gas emissions from mining machine engines, in particular of nitrogen oxides and solid particles. The objective is to reduce employees’ exposure to nitrogen oxide at workplaces and to achieve concentrations below 2.5 mg/m³ and to reduce the exposure to carcinogens to the level of 0.05 mg/m³ in terms of elemental carbon.

At present, KGHM pursues an investment process related to the purchase of machinery, as part of which engines according to the Stage IV and V are gradually introduced, which enables several-fold reduction of emissions. Currently (in 2020), about 10% out of 1,261 machines used at KGHM are low-emission. All new machines are purchased complete with engines complying with strictest flue gas purity standards. Replacement of all the machinery will be possible at the end of 2026.

KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. also cooperates with external manufacturers on testing the functionality and effectiveness of mining machines with a battery-powered electric drive. The effects of these measures include tests of a battery anchoring car at the Lubin Mine. A drilling car and a self-propelled electric transport vehicle will be delivered for testing in Q2 2021. Moreover, determinations concerning the commencement of testing of an electric charger at the Rudna Mine are at an advanced stage.

Energy from own sources and RES

Energy development program, including RES actions in 2020

Development of renewable Energy sources
  • A contractor was selected for the project „Design for a PV power plant together with obtaining a construction permit” for the Obora Sandpit and HM Głogów I-III sites1)​
  • The terrain use concept adopted foresees an increase in installed capacity to:​
    • 8 MWp from 5 MWp for the Obora Sandpit​
    • 6.5 MWp from 4 MWp for the HM Głogów I-III site​
  • Applications were submitted to alter the urban planning documentation to enable the siting of a PV installation with a capacity of over 100 kW on terrain belonging to KGHM in:​
    • The Lubin municipality with a potential installed capacity of approx. 20 MWp​
    • The Warta Bolesławiecka municipality for
      a site with a potential of over 50 MWp​
Optimisation and development of conventional sources
  • The simultaneous pilot start-up of two gas-fired turbines at the gas-steam block in Głogów​
  • This increase in electricity production by approx. 16 GWh, resulted in:​
    • A lower cost to obtain power by approx. PLN 1.8 mn​
    • Avoiding of more than 4 kt of CO2 emissions​

1) The numerical designation HM Głogów I-III refers to the plot numbers

By 2030 the increase in share of res will lead to a substantial reduction in CO2
Emissions CO2

Share of power source in supplies to KGHM Polska Miedź S.A


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Own generation sources covered 22.42% of KGHM’s total power needs in 2020
(almost 1.5% more than in 2019

100% of electricity

to be generated by RES in the Sierra Gorda mine from 2023

Implementation of the „Development of Energy generation, incl. RES” Program alongside changes in the national energy system structure will enable the avoidance of approx. 900 kt of CO2 annually

In 2020, KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. achieved a record high production of electricity from Combined Cycle Units of the KGHM Head Office. The units generated in total over 0.5 TWh of energy, i.e. almost 16% of KGHM’s total electricity demand. This significant share of cheap and ecological (compared to the burning of coal) energy from the units in KGHM Polska Miedź S.A.’s portfolio will allow the Company to both generate environmentally friendly energy and achieve savings of several dozen million PLN. The energy is used by: the ZG Rudna Mine, ZG Polkowice-Sieroszowice Mine and Głogów Copper Smelter and Refinery. Electricity in Combined Cycle Units is generated by 4 Titan 130 gas Turbines, of the capacity of 14.7 MWe, and 2 Steam Turbines, each of the capacity of 12.3 MWe.

KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. also has other in-house energy sources, which together with the Combined Cycle Units mentioned above covered 22.42% of KGHM’s total energy consumption in 2020 (almost 1.5% more than in 2019).  The graph below presents a detailed breakdown of energy from own sources in 2020:

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In 2020, KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. also undertook a number of measures to develop renewable energy capacity, namely:

  • Applications for modifications in the urban design documentation have been submitted in order to commission photovoltaic units of the capacity of over 100 kW, located on land owned by KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. in:
    • Lubin Municipality, of installed capacity of about 20MW
    • Warta Bolesławiecka Municipality, of installed capacity of over 50 MW.
  • A pilot concurrent operation of two gas turbines in a combined cycle unit in Głogów was conducted, generating 16 GWh of electricity more than in the originally planned generation schedule, which contributed to:
    • Lower electricity production costs by about PLN 1.8 million
    • Lower CO2 emissions by over 4 thousand tons.

KGHM Zanam S.A, a subsidiary of KGHM, commissioned a photovoltaic plant with the peak capacity of 3.1 MWp.

The first photovoltaic power plants projects

PVPP Piaskownia Obora

Installed power 8 MW

Estimated production 8.5 GWh

Projected avoided emissions over 25 years:

  • CO2 – more than 80 kt
  • SOX – more than 70 tonnes​
  • NOX – more than 70 tonnes
  • CO – more than 30 tonnes
  • PM – more than 4 tonnes​

PVPP HMG I-III complex

Installed power 6.5 MW

Estimated production 6.9 GWh

Projected avoided emissions over 25 years: 

  • CO2 – more than 70 kt
  • SOX – more than 60 tonnes​
  • NOX – more than 60 tonnes
  • CO – more than 25 tonnes
  • PM – more than 3 tonnes

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