KGHM’s R&D activities are aimed at:
- developing new innovative solutions and technologies improving the efficiency of the KGHM Group,
- improving the safety of employees,
- increasing productivity at individual stages of the production process,
- optimizing costs,
- improving environmental protection, and
- implementing solutions which support sustainable development.
Geological conditions in KGHM’s copper mines in Poland are unique on a global scale. For this reason KGHM constantly strives to improve the technology employed to enable the mining of deep underground deposits under increasingly difficult conditions, with the subsequent processing of extracted ore through to the final products, in accordance with the best global standards.
The company develops and implements solutions which enable, among others, the automation of production processes, making working conditions physically easier and improving production efficiency. The company also focuses on developing employees by stimulating their intellectual potential. KGHM uses the latest global solutions related to Industry 4.0 solutions, such as BigData and predictive maintenance, in support of which KGHM created a dedicated 4.0 R&D program.
Every year, the company advances dozens of innovative initiatives, from those at the initial conceptual stage to highly developed projects. Their realization materially contributes to the company's development.
KGHM carries out research and development activities both in cooperation with the largest Polish universities and research institutes and other entities from the industrial sector, as well as with international partners.
KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. is facing a number of challenges whose successful mastery is crucial for the current and long-term activities of the company. These include:
- the mining of deposits at ever greater depths, exceeding 1300 m,
- increasing the efficiency of recovering copper and accompanying elements at each stage of the production chain (mining, ore processing, metallurgy, waste management),
- minimizing and reducing risks associated with working conditions,
- new possibilities for the comprehensive management of copper industry waste,
- challenges connected with closed-circuit operations,
- intensification of copper production, and
- enhancing environmental protection.
The scale and cross-section of the implemented initiatives are diverse and include both small projects and large undertakings. In 2012, representatives of KGHM and the National Centre for Research and Development (NCRD) signed an agreement under the auspices of the Polish Minister of Science and Higher Education which provides for the joint support of scientific research and development activities on behalf of the non-ferrous metals industry (under the acronym CuBR). The total budget of the program is up to PLN 200 million and is spread equally between KGHM and NCRD.
The aim of the project is to increase the competitiveness of the Polish economy and to support the development potential of Polish science and industry. Implementation of projects related to challenges associated with the core business of KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. by scientific and industrial consortia will aid in the selection of ideas that offer the promise of developing breakthrough technologies for the Company or developing innovative devices that improve its production, or else will allow the development of new materials and products which are cost-effective for KGHM Polska Miedź S.A.
In the first half of 2015, the Industrial Development Agency and KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of implementing innovative projects. Building an innovative economy, intelligent development and increasing the competitiveness and attractiveness of Polish industry are key tasks for both partners.
The signed agreement aims at commercializing jointly developed technological solutions, including those based on the use of renewable energy sources, developing and disseminating know-how in the field of material engineering, as well as undertaking mutual work and analyses related to innovation. The decision of KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. and ARP to cooperate in this respect is in line with the strategic goals of both companies. In addition, implementation of the solutions developed in an industrial environment will be co-financed. The partners have declared their intention to jointly seek financing, including European funds, intended for the implementation of significant aspects of the signed agreement.