Barbórka, or Miner's Day, celebrated on December 4th , is an important holiday especially in Silesia - an expression of respect for the local mining tradition. This year, the Faculty of Mining, Safety Engineering and Industrial Automation organized a two-day celebration of the holiday, which began on November 23rd.
The Miner's Day began at the Silesian University of Technology with scientific events. Representatives of the most important institutions related to mining met at the Faculty of Mining, Safety Engineering and Industrial Automation. Together with scientists, they took part in a conference entitled “Sustainable Mining”. The conference was an opportunity to present the achievements of the scientific and industrial communities. The topics of the meeting concerned current and key issues of contemporary underground, open-pit and borehole mining. In addition to issues related to the hard coal mining industry, the participants also discussed topics related to the development of nuclear energy, energy storage and renewable energy sources.
– Mining is constantly changing; it can be said that it is in a constant process of transformation. When it comes to the Upper Silesia region, we are talking about several hundred years of exploitation. However, today we have very limited possibilities in this area. We must remember that exploitation is carried out in a highly urbanized area, and there is also the issue of deposit availability. Mining is carried out in increasingly difficult conditions, at great depths, which in turn involves greater natural hazards - said prof. Stanisław Prusek, director of the Central Mining Institute - National Research Institute. – European climate policy is an additional challenge for the Polish economy – added the professor.
– The problem of hard coal mining is very important because there is no alternative to coal yet. There is talk of nuclear energy, but this is quite a distant prospect, because the construction of large reactors will take many years - said prof. Franciszek Plewa, Dean of the Faculty of Mining, Safety Engineering and Industrial Automation.
The conference was accompanied by international mining-related workshops attended by scientists from France, Germany, Greece and Slovakia. The topics of the workshops were related to broadly understood mining and the problems this industry is currently struggling with.
The next day was full of ceremonial events. The celebration of Barbórka began traditionally with a holy mass, after which the participants marched through the campus of the Silesian University of Technology to lay flowers at the monument of St. Barbara. They were accompanied by the KWK Sośnica brass band, which also gave a concert in the hall of the GIBiAP Faculty (Faculty of Mining, Safety Engineering and Industrial Automation).
– The Miners' Festival is an extremely important event at the Silesian University of Technology. Mining has been one of the main areas of our scientific and teaching activity for many years. Today we are talking about mining engineering, i.e. mining not only hard coal, but all natural raw materials. New technologies are based on products derived from the processing of raw materials that are mined in various parts of the world. Therefore, mining engineering will develop - said the rector of the Silesian University of Technology, prof. Arkadiusz Mężyk.
This is also evidenced by the growing interest in the fields of study conducted at the Faculty of Mining, Safety Engineering and Industrial Automation from year to year, as reminded by the dean of the faculty. Prof. Plewa also emphasized the importance of extensive cooperation of the department with schools and even kindergartens by organizing events and workshops aimed at children and youth.
The program of the all-day Miner's Day celebrations also included a ceremonial St. Barbara's Day academy, during which there was a traditional "leather jump", symbolizing the admission of young adepts to the mining profession. This custom came to Silesia from Austria after World War II and is still cultivated at the Silesian University of Technology.
St. Barbara's Day, celebrated on the day of the patron saint of miners, is also a holiday for geologists and all those engaged in professions related to the search for fossil fuels.