Mateusz Morawiecki, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development, and Grzegorz Tobiszewski, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy, took part in the St Barbara's Feast held by Węglokoks Kraj on 4 December in the Rozbark Dance and Movement Theatre.
The feast was the highlight of several days of St Barbara's celebrations in the company. When welcoming the guests, which included employees, commercial clients and representatives of state and local authorities, Krystian Kozakowski, President of Węglokoks Kraj, pointed out that after the company bought the Bobrek and Piekary coal mines from Kompania Węglowa, both of which are considered among Poland's highest loss-making coal mines, the team at Węglokoks Kraj has made a tremendous effort to make the company profitable again.
“When we were buying the two companies, it looked like a joke or a haphazard move. However, Doctor Jerzy Podsiadło and myself, we knew that it was a great deal. And as it turns out, we were right.”
Before the participants began feasting, Mateusz Morawiecki, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development, thanked the entire coal-mining circle on behalf of Prime Minister Beata Szydło, and said that the new government, which backs Poland's coal-mining industry and coal-based power industry, takes office at the time of the lowest coal prices in years. “It is a shame the way things are, but we are not wringing our hands. Deputy Minister Grzegorz Tobiszewski, who is here with us, Minister Krzysztof Tchórzewski and I are developing various plans for the coal-mining industry. At the moment, we are trying to convince our EU partners to change their approach to allocating carbon emissions.”
In the Deputy Prime Minister's opinion, allocating CO2 emissions should correspond to CO2 consumption rather than CO2 production.
“For example, the British produce hardly any cement, and they source it in great quantities from Pakistan and India. Not only that, they import it from factories located several thousand kilometres away, which increases the amount of CO2 released into the air. And the sky is something we all share, so it does not really matter where carbon dioxide is produced and released to the atmosphere. Will we succeed in convincing our partners to change their way of thinking about carbon dioxide? We will certainly try!”
Mateusz Morawiecki made it clear that the government will do everything it possibly can to put the hard coal industry through the downturn “relatively unscathed”.
“We are well aware of the significance of this industry. I come from Lower Silesia and have many friends in Wałbrzych, so I know perfectly well that the labour market will not take in all miners dismissed from collieries. Unfortunately, restructuring does not work this way. I have friends who cannot find employment, even after 25 years since the shutdown of coal mines. That is why we look at the issue of coal mining as “communicating vessels”. We want to build a strong economy based, among other things, on an energy mix where coal has a major share. This is our commitment to coal mine workers.”
The first St Barbara's Feast since the acquisition of the two coal mines by Węglokoks Kraj was an occasion to present the Gold Gem Award (Złoty Skarbek) to people who made it possible for Węglokoks Kraj to become a modern, well-managed coal company. The Gold Gem was awarded to: Sława Umińska-Duraj, the Mayor of Piekary Śląskie, Damian Bartyla, the Mayor of Bytom, and Jerzy Podsiadło, President of the Węglokoks Capital Group (which includes Węglokoks Kraj).
After this brief official introduction, the feasting began. The event participants were entertained by two cabaret acts, Rak and Kabaret Młodych Panów, and two music acts, Marcin Wyrostek Band and Ligocianie.