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The main products of KGHM are copper and silver. In recent years, the annual output of copper stabilized at the level of 500–550 thousand tonnes. Copper is offered to clients mainly as refined (cathode) copper, wire rods (for production of cables and wires), and round billets as well as oxygen-free copper wire. In 2011, KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. was the eighth largest manufacturer of electrolytic copper worldwide (Copper Survey 2012). In 2011, the volume of sales of copper and copper products on the domestic market accounted for 21.4% of total sales thereof, and export sales accounted for 78.6% of total sales of these goods. In this period, the largest foreign recipients of copper manufactured by the Company were: Germany, China, Italy and the Czech Republic.

The Company also manufactures more than 1 200 tonnes of refined silver annually. It is sold as pigs (slabs) and granulate. Silver is used not only in jewellery, but also in the electronics and electric industry, as well as in photography. It is traded on several forward markets globally – inter alia, London Bullion Market Associations. In 2011, KGHM was the largest manufacturer of refined silver worldwide (Silver Survey 2012). In 2011, sales to the domestic market accounted for 2.7% of total sales of silver, and exports – 97.3%. The largest foreign recipients of this metal were: the United Kingdom, USA and Belgium.

The Company’s main products (electrolytic copper and refined silver) are characterized by very high quality which has been confirmed by international certificates (for more information, please see Chapter IV). Since the start of the production process, the Company has put on the market more than 16 million tonnes of copper and 20 thousand tonnes of silver.

Halite, or rock-salt, is a non-standard product of copper mines, and has been extracted in the Polkowice-Sieroszowice mine since September 1991. It is used in the chemical, foodstuffs, heating, dying and tannery industries, for food processing purposes, for production of animal feed and for maintenance of roads in winter. The Company extracts 457 171 tonnes of salt annually. Its offer also includes other industrial and precious metals: very rare rhenium (annual output of 5 tonnes ranks the Company as the fifth worldwide), raw and refined lead (output of approximately 25 thousand tonnes annually), nickel (0.6 thousand tonnes), gold (23 thousand ounces), platinum and palladium (3 thousand ounces), as well as selenium (85 tonnes). The Company also manufactures more than 630 thousand tonnes of sulphuric acid annually.

 Manufacturing activities of KGHM

Many of these products are derived in connection with waste management. Once gold is recovered, small amounts of rich platinum and palladium concentrate remain which are delivered to other refining plants. In the production of ammonium perrhenate, sewage water arising from gases treated during the production of copper is used. Ammonium perrhenate contains approximately 69.4% of pure rhenium.

In the production of refined lead the materials generated in the initial phases of copper melting are used. Sulphuric acid is produced from recycled gases containing sulphur dioxide, generated in the process remelting copper concentrates in the fluidization process and in melting copper from copper matte. In turn, copper sulphate and nickel sulphate are recovered from the used electrolyte derived from the process of electrorefining copper. Road building materials are manufactured from smelter slag generated in the process of melting copper in shaft furnaces. In addition to economic benefits, the economic utilization of wastes from copper production is of key importance for environmental protection.


Raw materials / materials used – weight and volume



Total use of materials, together with materials purchased from external suppliers and obtained internally (production for internal purposes, extraction, etc.)

Extraction of copper ores:
30 805 183 Mg

Extraction of copper ores:
31 240 837 Mg


Annual output


Production output in 2011

Copper cathodes

  571 041 Mg

Cu-ETP wire rods

  226 235 Mg

Cu-OFE wire

    15 225 Mg

CuAg wire

      1 198 Mg

Copper billets

    20 320 Mg

Refined silver (granules and billets)

1 259 566 kg

Technical sulphuric acid

  636 248 Mg


  457 172 Mg

Granulated copper

      2 260 Mg

Copper sulphide

      5 533 Mg

Nickel sulphide

      2 481 Mg

Technical selenium

     84 674 kg

Metallic gold

   703,767 kg

Raw lead

    30 010 Mg

Refined lead

    25 234 Mg


Report on shortcuts
Jan Kochanowski (1530­-1584) – poet and playwright of the Renaissance period, graduate
of the Kraków Academy and the Universities of Koenigsberg and Padua, secretary to
King Zygmunt II August of Poland. Considered one of the most outstanding authors of the
Renaissance in Europe and the most eminent Slav poet who contributed to the development of the Polish literary language.
Teresa Bałuk-Ulewiczowa, Ph.D.
Insitute of English Philology
Jagiellonian University in Kraków