The Family Silver of Europe

Once a Nazi fortress flattened by the Soviet Union's rampaging Red Army, the Polish town of Glogow was rebuilt in the mid-20th century to become Europe's copper and silver capital. Photos of this otherworldly operation by Bartek Sadowski for Bloomberg.

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    After more than 90 percent of the city was destroyed in a seven-week siege in 1945, the city's fortunes were transformed by the discovery of copper deposits in 1957.
    Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg
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    Glogow lies in Poland's western province of Lower Silesia, about 100 kilometers from the German border. During the Thirty Years' War in the 1600s, the city was first turned into a fortress.
    Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg
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    The site now has two smelters and employs 2,480 people.
    Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg
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    The smelter is owned and operated by Poland's KGHM PolskaMiedz SA. It's Europe's biggest producer of copper and the world's third largest silver producer.
    Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg
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    KGHM has been producing copper in Poland for more than 60 years after casting the metal for the first time on Christmas Eve in 1953.
    Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg
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    Construction of the first smelter started in 1968, and it was commissioned in 1971.
    Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg
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    Formerly the Polish State Mining and Metallurgical Combine,the company became a state enterprise in 1991 before being privatized in 1997.
    Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg
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    Since privatization in 1997, KGHM has moved from national champion to a global player, snapping up assets from Chile to Greenland.
    Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg
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    Semi-finished bars.
    Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg
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    Gold is also produced at at the site.
    Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg
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    KGHM, which is still a third owned by the Polish government,produced 663,000 tons of copper late year and 1,259 tons of silver.
    Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg
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    The company plans to produce 1 million tons of copper by 2020.
    Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg