Poland Industries and Mining
Mining riches. – According to sunglassestracker, the cession of the eastern lands to the Soviet Union led to the loss of the oil fields of Borysław-Tustanowice and Kołomyja, from which more than 80% of Polish oil came. This loss was very serious, as now only the minor and oldest deposits (which dates back to 1857) remain in Poland, namely those of Jasło. Production in 1946 was only 117,000 tons. (just over a fifth of that of pre-war Poland). In the same year there were 7 active refineries and they produced, among other things, 34,000 t. of gasoline, as well as refined petroleum, paraffin, petroleum jelly, mineral oils, etc. In the oil area, large quantities of natural gas are obtained which, however, represent just a quarter of the pre-war quantity.
For all other minerals, conditions in the new Poland have greatly improved, in comparison with those in pre-war Poland. The greatest mining product of the republic was, and still is today, coal. By now the Upper Silesian coalfield, one of the richest in Europe, is entirely, or almost entirely, in the possession of Poland, which also bought the small field of Wałbrzych (Waldenburg), which is rather difficult and expensive to exploit. ; in 1947 the total production of coal, coming for a third from the recovered territories, was 59 million tons, compared to 38 million tons in 1938. The workers employed in the coal industry from 80,000 in 1938, rose to 211,000 in 1947.
Despite the greater industrial development of the new Poland, coal production continues to largely exceed domestic consumption: and therefore, in large part, it is exported via Gdansk, Gdynia and Szczecin, especially to the countries of northern Europe; but also towards Czechoslovakia, Austria and Hungary.
Also for lignite, the new Poland is in much better conditions than the pre-war one, since it has acquired the numerous and rich deposits that lie immediately east of the Oder and western Nisa. In 1947 production reached the 3, 7 million tonnes.
Among the metal ores, zinc, lead and iron are particularly abundant. As for the production of coal, so for that of zinc, Poland is at one of the first places among the European countries. The richest deposits are the Upper Silesian ones (9/10 of the production which, in 1946, was 168,000 tons of ore: one third of that of 1938); other deposits are found in Lesser Poland.
Lead ores are also mined in Silesia and production (37,000 tons in 1946) is approaching pre-war production (44,000 tons in 1938).
As for iron ores, it should be noted that they have a rather low content and that their deposits (Silesia, Lesser Poland) are difficult to exploit; production (424,000 t. in 1946, half of that of 1938) is insufficient for industries, and therefore, as in the past, it is necessary to provide for a large import.
Of the large rock salt deposits that follow one another in the Carpathian region, the westernmost ones remain in Poland, which are the largest (such as the well-known deposits of Wieliczka and Bochnia); together with the Posnania (Wapno) fields they produced 274,000 t in 1946. of salt, which corresponds to almost half of that produced in 1938.
Industries. – Following the war and the German occupation, 14,000 industrial plants, out of the approximately 25,000 existing in the territory of the new Poland, had been destroyed or severely damaged. The reconstruction work proceeded with great energy and speed, as evidenced by the numerous production data contained in the Polish statistical yearbook of 1947.
The metallurgical industry, mostly concentrated in Upper Silesia, in 1946 produced, among other things, 725,000 t. of cast iron and 1,219,000 t. of steel, already surpassing the pre-war production.
The mechanical industry is recovering strongly, mainly engaged in the manufacture of locomotives and railway carriages (80% of the equipment of the Polish railways was destroyed during the war) and machinery for agriculture and for the textile industries and mining. The mechanical industry also has its main centers in Upper Silesia (Katowice, Dąbrowa, Górnicza, Sosnowiec, Chrzanów, Chorzów, Bytom, Gliwice, etc.), and then also in Warsaw, Poznań, Grudziądz, Łódź, Wroclaw, Szczecin, and in some towns of Lesser Poland.
The textile industry, like the metallurgical one, already has a production that equals, and for some articles exceeds, the production of pre-war Poland. In 1946, 464,000 q. Were placed on the market. of cotton yarns and 190,000 of wool, 373,000 q. of cotton fabrics and 127,000 of wool, as well as considerable quantities of linen and hemp yarns and fabrics. Although it has to import most of the raw material from abroad, the very ancient textile industry continues to have a leading position in Poland and Łódź remains, without comparison, the most important center (especially cotton mill); followed by Bielsko-Biala, Warsaw, Częstochowa, Białystok and numerous other centers of old Poland and then, in the recovered territories, the centers of the Silesian mountain range.
Upper Silesia and the Wałbrzych district are also the richest areas of chemical plants. The chemical industry has copious raw materials and must meet the strong demand of other industries, especially the textile industry: this explains its remarkable development. The largest production, in 1946, concerns fertilizers (347,000 tons), but the production of ammonia soda (85,000 tons), caustic soda, sulfuric acid, ammonia, etc. is also rapidly recovering. The large nitrogen compound factory in Mościce, near Tarnów, which was destroyed during the war, was rebuilt and started operating again in the summer of 1947: in the spring of 1948 it had again achieved pre-war productivity.
Among the food industries, sugar had and still has a position of primary importance: an importance, indeed, which has grown with the purchase of western territories, where, as we have seen, beet is widely cultivated and where there are numerous large sugar refineries.. Those that in the whole territory of the republic were put back into activity amounted, during the 1946-47 campaign, to 71, and produced 3.383.000 q. of raw sugar (in pre-war Poland, in 1929-30, 9 million quintals of sugar were produced).
There are large breweries especially in Warsaw; the alcohol industry, fueled by the huge production of potatoes, is particularly conspicuous in the Lublin voivodeship.
The rich forest heritage has led to the development of a thriving wood industry; sawmill production has already resumed making a strong contribution to exports; pulp (58,000 tons in 1946), cellulose (56,000 tons) and paper (148,000 tons) are also manufactured.
The enormous destruction that took place gave impetus to the cement industry, whose production in 1946 (1,399,000 t.) Was three times that of pre-war Poland and contributes greatly to the exploration.
It is estimated that the electricity industry has suffered destruction equal to 42%. By December 1946, 222 large power stations had resumed operation, with a monthly productivity of about 500,000 kWh, equal to 1/3 more than in 1939. Water energy is plentiful, but thermal power stations prevail, due to the great abundance of coal.
Divisions administrative. – Administratively it includes the two cities of Warsaw and Łódź and 14 voivodships, with 299 district (powiaty).