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At the centre of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin in southern Poland, Katowice, one of Europe’s most populated urban areas, boomed with the industrial revolution and is now looking to phase out coal and fossil fuel completely. 

Historically, the predominant industry in Katowice and the surrounding region was coal, steel and zinc, with their accompanying infrastructure visible throughout the region’s evolving landscape. As the country made the transition to a market economy in the mid-1990s, the Polish government closed the coal mines, prompting an urban and cultural transformation.  

The Katowice coal region now has a well-diversified economic structure. Jobs in the formerly dominant mining and mining-related industries constitute slightly over 10% of all jobs in the region. Their status is secured by a Social Agreement from May 2021. 

By the total phase-out of coal in 2049, workers in mining-related industries will either have retired or be posted to the few remaining mines in Rybnicki Coal Region that will stay open for strategic reasons. As a result, and within the context of the DUST project, youth from mining families and former miners themselves have been identified as least engaged communities (LEC), while Roma communities have been noted as potential LEC.

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