100 years of mining coal in the Upper Nitra


The Upper Nitra brown coal basin is the richest and most extensive in the Slovak Republic. The first attempts to extract coal stretch back to the 18th centuries. Purposeful industrial mining dates from the period when Západouhorská kamenouhoľná spoločnosť (West Hungary Coal Mine Company) was incorporated into the Business Register on 1 July 1909 with the opening of the Handlová Mine. At the time of the Second World War, Handlovské uhoľné bane (Handlová Coal Mines) was the sole mining company in Slovakia. During the war it had started prospecting for coal in Nováky, where the first car full of extracted coal ran in 1940. The youngest Cigeľ Mine joined the Upper Nitra region’s two existing mines in 1962.
Until 1950, the mines were concentrated in a single business, Handlovské uhoľné bane. After new mines were opened to deposits outside the Upper Nitra, Združenie slovenských uhoľných baní (Association of Slovak Coal Mines) was established in 1960 with headquarters in Prievidza. In July 1965, Uhoľné a lignitové bane (Coal and Lignite Mines) was founded and later transformed, after reorganization in 1977, into a business concern under the same name. In addition to the mines, the concern also included special purpose organizations which were focused on engineering design, mine research and automating management and later also the machine base and mine construction. A similar segmenting of operations continued after 1 January 1989 within state-controlled Slovenské uhoľné bane. The government then decided in 1993 to split the Slovenské uhoľné bane concern into seven independent companies, one of which became government-run Hornonitrianske bane (Upper Nitra Mines), Prievidza, comprised of Baňa Cigeľ, Baňa Handlová, Baňa Nováky, Banská mechanizácia a elektrifikácia (Mine Mechanization and Electrification) in Nováky and Hlavná banská záchranná stanica (Main Mine Rescue Station) in Prievidza.
In 1996, the state-controlled company was transformed into a private joint-stock company. On 30 June 1996, the government-run Hornonitrianske bane was dissolved without liquidation and 1 July 1996 the National Property Fund of the Slovak Republic established the Hornonitrianske bane Prievidza (Upper Nitra Mines Prievidza) joint-stock company. The NPF decided the following year to privatize 97% of the shares in Hornonitrianske bane Prievidza, which were subsequently acquired by Hornonitrianske bane zamestnanecká (Upper Nitra Mine Employees Association), a joint-stock company in Prievidza. The process of restructuring the company began in 1997. Decision-making was gradually centralized with the aim of ensuring effective financial management.
For the company, 2009 is a special year since the centennial anniversary will be commemorated – 100 years since the beginning of industrial mining in the Upper Nitra region. At the same time, this also means one hundred years of extracting brown coal in Slovakia.

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