Coal mining

Ostrava-Karviná coal basin

The Ostrava-Karviná coal basin is a part of the Upper-Silesian basin, the majority of which is located in neighbouring Poland. The whole area covers approximately 7,000 square kilometres, of which only some 1,500 are in the Czech Republic. It is the territory surrounding Ostrava, Karviná, Český Těšín, Frenštát pod Radhoštěm and other towns, where coal-bearing layers of Carboniferous age are found.


In our territory the Ostrava-Karviná coal basin is further divided into:

  • the Ostrava-Karviná region - where mining has been carried out over the long term and has influenced the landscape as well as having social effects
  • and the Low Beskydy region - where mining has not been carried out yet.

The southern border of the Czech part of the basin has not been verified with certainty; most authors believe that coal-bearing carboniferous strata continue to great depths and large distances.


In the Ostrava-Karviná region the Ostrava and Karviná strata series are distinct. The Ostrava strata series was formed in a coastal environment and under the influence of volcanic activity and is characterized by high-quality coal in seams of smaller thickness. On the other hand, the younger Karviná strata series was formed after the ultimate recession of the sea.


Different authors present different delimitations and divisions of the Ostrava-Karviná district depending on their viewpoints. The district is considered from various angles:

  • geological
  • geographical
  • historical
  • sociological


In spite of the fact that our territory includes only a small part of the local coal stock, the Ostrava-Karviná district (OKR) represents the main area of hard coal mining in the Czech Republic: 90 % of all our stock of this raw material is deposited here. The high-quality coking coal from OKR played an important role already in the economy of Austria-Hungary; this role became even more important after the independent Czechoslovakian state was formed. At that time, all the metallurgical industry as well as a substantial part of the power industry was fully dependent on coal from this region. The post-war republic attached exceptional importance to local coal and the shape of the region was completely changed in the course of extensive industrialization.