Purpose: the purpose of this article is to attempt to identify the essential fundamental elements of the traditional mining ethos implemented in the ethical codes, which are
among others the primary tool for ethical education.
Methodology: the article describes basic and detailed (as well as characteristic) components of the mining ethos, and the causes and consequences of the mining professional devaluation after the Second World War and its impact on changes of the mining ethos. Also presented and discussed is the role of the codes of ethics of two Polish hard coal mining companies KHW (Katowice Coal Holding) and GKLW Bogdanka (Capital Group Lublin Coal BOGDANKA). It reviews their practices concerning communication, promotion and monitoring of the ethical principles among employees, suppliers and the local community, as well as tasks and activities of the ethics officers.
Findings: ethical codes took over the role of communication and they constitute a device for continuation of mining ethos. However, according to the expectations, they must be adapted to transforming the work environment and miners’ lives. Ethical codes are contemporary and vitally important devices for development of organisational culture and ethical education in both coal companies.
Originality: the article shows the continuity of mining ethos and its impact on modern business performance and management. At the same time, it describes the ethics institutionalization process and its positive effect for further development of coal mining industry.