OKD is also looking for miners in Poland. See what it looks like underground now

This is a bit of a paradoxical situation, but it is a harsh reality. Mining company OKD, which knows it will likely end coal mining for good by 2025, is actively looking for new employees about two and a half years before the mines close.

ChSM mine, the last mine in the Czech Republic where hard coal is still mined, August 16, 2023, Stonava.

| Photo: Denik/Lukas Kabon

Since, according to initial assumptions, mining was supposed to end this year, new applicants for underground work did not submit applications. But now, after the end of the extraction was delayed, people are missing. In particular, skilled workers are leaving us, whether they are electricians, craftsmen or combine operators. The reason is often retirement age, depleted dustiness, and the like,” says Roman Yanulek, head of logging at the CSM mine.

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The company currently has about 3,300 employees, and due to the retirements mentioned above, as well as employee turnover, recruiters will need to hire at least a hundred people by the end of the year.

Preference is given to those who already have experience working underground. However, they left the mines many years ago out of fear of losing the prospect of working underground. But some of them returned.

As Roman Janulek adds, finding new employees is difficult. “If, thanks to some kind of recruitment, it is possible to recruit twenty people a month, this will cover about twenty percent of the dropouts. Miners continues to decline,” he said.

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Personnel situation according to the Chairman of the Board OKD Roman Sikora is so desperate that even if production is theoretically extended until 2025, no one should mine it, although the country still has recoverable coal reserves.

OKD is also looking for suitors in Poland

That is why the OKD HR department pays attention to Poland, where mining is planned for at least another two decades and there are more miners than in the Czech Republic. OKD so he’s trying to reach out to retired miners and see if they want to make more money with OKD. A few years ago, there were even billboards at the border that the OKD would accept miners from Poland.

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According to OKD spokeswoman Barbora Cerna Dvorzhakova, the problem with recruiting is that only a quarter of the total number of applicants usually meet the requirements for in-demand mining professions. “Some of those who are interested in working in the OKD do not have previous mining experience or the required qualifications, others do not pass a medical examination,” a company spokeswoman said.

At the same time, OKD has many years of experience working with employees from Poland. “Currently, we have more than eighty permanent employees from Poland, and about five hundred more work for us through supplier companies and agencies,” said Barbora Cherna Dvorzhakova.

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Black coal is mined in the Czech Republic at the last operating ČSM mine in Stonava. Mining company OKD ended 2022 with a net profit of 5.1 billion crowns, the highest since 2011. The volume of production amounted to 2.1 million tons of coal, and sales increased to 14.1 billion kroons. Operating profit (EBITDA) before provisioning operations amounted to 6.4 billion kroons. 1.8 billion crowns of the profits will be paid to the state in the form of dividends.

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