Zinc production started at Szopienice in the 1920s. This retort process was however closed down in 1976. A new operation using roasting followed by neutral leaching with the residue being dumped in ponds was started. Given the small size of the zinc smelter, its age and location, and its dependence on clean zinc concentrates, the future of the zinc smelter was uncertain forseveral years. Low metal prices coupled with the strengthening Polish zloty forced the smelter to close in May 2002.