The new Bzie-Dębina mine, which is being built by Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa (JSW), Poland’s largest coal company, is scheduled to come on stream in 2022.
It is expected to cost over PLN 3 billion (EUR 680 million, USD 750 million) and be the first new coal mine to be built in the country since 1994.
"We're moving up a gear in the construction of modern industry," Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared while visiting the construction site.
He said that once up and running Bzie-Dębina would be “an ultramodern mine needed in Poland … and throughout Europe.”
Accompanied by Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchórzewski, Morawiecki attended a ceremony in which a mine shaft going down to a depth of 1,164 metres was christened “Jan Paweł,” a reference to the late Polish-born Pope John Paul II.
The new mine will tap into the area’s deposits of some 180 million tonnes of high-quality coking coal, which is used to produce steel, Poland's PAP news agency reported.
Morawiecki said in a brief speech that "there is no modern economy without steel, and there is no steel without coking coal.”
He told those gathered that coking coal was on a European Union list of strategic raw materials.
He also said that steel was indispensable in sectors such as the automotive industry, modern railways and renewable energy, where he said wind turbines are made from steel components.
The Bzie-Dębina mine will ultimately extract some 2.2 million tonnes of coal a year, according to executives.
The mine’s owner, JSW, is the largest coal miner in Poland and throughout Europe, with plans to crank up production.
At the moment, the company extracts more than 15 million tonnes of coal annually, an output that is expected to increase to about 18 million tonnes by 2030, the PAP news agency reported.
Morawiecki's visit to the new mine came a day after he defended Polish climate policy at a news conference following criticism from French President Emmanuel Macron.
Macron on Monday hit out at Poland after the country, along with the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Hungary, blocked a proposed strategy at an EU summit in June for the bloc to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.