Artykuł, na tle uwarunkowań krajowych, przedstawia proces likwidacji kopalń węgla kamiennego w Dolnośląskim Zagłębiu Węglowym oraz próby przeciwdziałania jego skutkom społecznym: bezrobociu, emigracji pracowników i starzeniu się społeczeństwa.
In 1989, by way of several decisions, the first post-communist government introduced an econo- mic reform based on strong monetarism and limited market freedom, which referred, in particular, to coal mines. The mining industry assumed the role of the so-called „inflation anchor", thanks to the prices of coal being lower than the cost of obtaining it. In the case of the coal mining industry in Lower Silesia, its liguidation was determi- ned by the appeal of the Mining Commission of the Wałbrzych NSZZ Ruda" minę were put into liguidation on 1 January 1991 and in January 1992, respectively. However, the decision to liguidate the mines of the Lower Silesian Coal Basin was not accompanied by an in-depth analysis of its effects, despite the fact that it concerned an area where the mining industry and companies working in it employed, e.g. in the Nowa Ruda region, 70-80% of the małe workforce! The process of minę liguidation was accompanied by the liguidation of plants of various industries. As a result, at the end of 1992, approx. 50 thousand unemployed persons were registered in the Wałbrzych Voivodeship. Managers of the Lower Silesian mines tried to limit the negative effects of liguidation on the local labour market by creating new business entities with the mines1 assets and employees. This process was intended, among other things, to stimulate the economic development of the region and minimise collective redundancies of minę teams. In the years 1991-1994, 27 new business entities were established on the basis of the assets of Wałbrzyskie KWK (Wałbrzych Hard Coal Mines), which, in May 1995, employed approx. 2,000 people. The assets of KWK „Nowa Ruda" („Nowa Ruda" Hard Coal Minę) enabled the launch of e.g. an open pit mining plant for rock deposits and comprehensive production of wood, as well as of undertakings from the agricultural and food as well as tourist industries. Dramatic unemployment (over 30%) and huge emigration of the young generation contributed to the creation of the Wałbrzych Special Economic Zone by the government in 1997. Its success was determined by very favourable tax conditions and a valuable workforce for investors. However, Wałbrzych - the „Capital" of the zone - is not able to take advantage of these opportunities, as the deindustrialisation process has led to a decrease in the number of inhabitants by approx. 30 thousand and to the development of an unfavourable age structure. The most dynamie part of the society left, leading to a lack of manpower and even very beneficial undertakings having no chance of being implemented.