On September 9 – 12, 2018, the 6th edition of the Opencast Mining School took place in Kościelisko near Zakopane. The conference is organized annually by the Chair of Opencast Mining of the Mining and Geoengineering Faculty of the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow. This year, the organizers were also: Foundation “Science and Mining Traditions”, Section of Mining Technology of the Mining Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Main Commission for Opencast Mining ZG SITG and Association of Polish Shot Engineers.

As we can read on the official website of the Chair of Opencast Mining, the conference was established in order to “spread the latest knowledge in the field of practical issues of opencast mining as well as to exchange experiences”. Initially, the conference was held at the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow, but from the last year this event was transferred to Kościelisko. This year’s edition of the School was attended by representatives of scientific and research institutions, open pit mines, mining offices and technical back-up companies, which in total amounted to over 200 participants.

The official start of the conference took place on Monday. During the opening, the appointments to the Section of Mining Technology of the Mining Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences were handed, as well as the “Friend of Opencast Mining” distinctions – given to those who support this industry. After the opening of the meeting, the first lecture was delivered by prof. Zbigniew Kasztelewicz, who in his speech raised the issue of the existence of the brown coal industry. Then, the presentations were presented by companies belonging to the group of Gold Sponsors of the conference. Among them were companies such as: Austin Powder Polska Sp. z o.o., Fuchs Oil Corporation Sp. z o.o., or Dolomite Mines S.A. in Sandomierz. The subject of the speeches on the first day of the meeting mainly concerned issues related to the latest legal regulations in opencast mining activities, as well as raised the issue of safety during mineral extraction. In the evening, the participants of the conference could rest to the sound of Alosza Awdiejew’s music.

On the second day of the meeting, the modern technical solutions used in the production of aggregates were presented, about, inter alia, geodetic measurements, transport process and drainage of open pit mines. The speeches were presented mainly by representatives of the Wrocław University of Technology, the Higher Mining Authority, as well as producers of mining machines such as: Caterpillar Poland and Liebherr Polska Sp. z o.o. On this day, the excavator’s simulator by Volvo was especially interesting, so everyone could try their hand as an excavator operator.

The second thematic block on this day was the issue of reclamation and revitalization of post-mining areas. One could hear about the achievements obtained in this field by the mines in Konin and Bełchatów. The last part of the debate was the hydrological block. BFirst.Tech company has also participated in this year’s edition of the Opencast Mining School. Our representatives represented the company on a specially prepared promotional position, among other companies promoting themselves at the conference.

On the last day of the conference, the issue of boulder stones in Poland was presented, as well as the subject of mining machinery used in opencast mining. On this day, the solutions used in the shooting technique were also presented.

During the conference, on the company’s stand was presented a demo version of the newest BFirst.Tech product, which will be used to test the efficiency of well wells.

WellsCtrl.Tech logo

The genesis of the WellsCtrl.tech project is related to the often encountered, not only in Poland poor state of underground water supply infrastructure. This condition translates in particular to the increasing energy consumption of groundwater abstraction and capital intensity resulting from the need to rebuild infrastructure of key economic and social importance. WellsCtrl.tech is an application dedicated to collective and individual users of deep wells. The purpose of the application is to assess the hydraulic efficiency of the technical facility, in particular the effectiveness of the well’s interaction with the aquifer – on the one hand, and the deep-well pump unit – on the other hand.

The emerging application, based on archival data and current operational parameters, will perform a diagnostic assessment of the deep water intake, including for example its possible damage or the severity of degradation processes. To improve working conditions and increase reliability, it will suggest to the user activities aimed at reducing the aging rate of a technical facility, and even preventing failures. In the case of advanced degradation of a technical facility, it will indicate the use of optimal remedies, or activities that increase the efficiency of production and reduce the nuisance to the natural environment. The effect of implementing the WellsCtrl.tech project is to increase reliability, reduce energy consumption and capital intensity in the water supply and energy industries. 

The project is carried out in cooperation with PhD Eng. Krzysztof Polak, an employee of the Chair of Opencast Mining. In addition to the presentation of the product at the promotional stand, it was also presented at the occasion of the speech by PhD Eng. Krzysztof Polak, who gave a lecture on the system for assessing hydraulic parameters of well wells. The speech was also attended by the BFirst.Tech CEO Tomasz Wilczyński, who familiarized the listeners with the operation of the product itself and the company’s current operations.


The Opencast Mining School is an excellent opportunity to meet various communities associated with the opencast mining industry. Thanks to this, it creates an opportunity to expand knowledge and sharing experiences in this field. Every year shows how many changes occur in opencast mining. It proves that only following technological progres and an innovative approach to mining is able to maintain the competitiveness of companies on the market.