The establishment of the Company is historically related to the location of one of the oldest and most intensively exploited mining basins on Polish territory, particularly rich in zinc, lead and silver ores. The beginnings of mining in the area date back to the twelfth century, and the intensive extraction of metallic ores began in 1848 and increased after World War II.
In 1858, the area of what is today Piekary Śląskie saw a zinc ore mine of Szarlej Biały started up – it operated bearing this name until 1934. The mine had continuously grown to become, in the early twentieth century, one of the most modern in Upper Silesia.
After the World War I, the factory had been completely modernized. To make use of growing output , zinc and lead smelting was put in operation at the site in 1928. The plant operations of this period is best shown in the archival film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2IbIW18dSM
After World War II, the mining operations, now under a new name of Orzeł Biały (Polish for White Eagle), were consolidated with the nearby zinc and lead mines. At the same time, due to the depletion of the ore deposits, a gradual reduction followed in production volumes of then state-owned enterprises. Phasing out of the mines and smelters operations began in 1980. In 1981, the smelting operations stopped at Orzeł Biały, with only the lead plant left running.
In the same year, a battery scrap unit was established what can be considered as the starting point for the activities of today's Orzeł Biały, which, as an independent entity dealing with battery recycling, was set up on the basis of the assets and traditions of earlier operating businesses that closed down in the 1980's.
A watershed event in the Company's business was the launch in 2002 of a lead refinery so that Orzeł Biały could produce high quality alloys.
2007 to 2008 saw the smelting division significantly upgraded. The scope of modernization included the replacement or repair of existing furnaces and the purchase of a new lead smelting furnace.
In 2007, Orzeł Biały IPO’d at the Warsaw Stock Exchange, and in 2008 NEF Battery Holdings acquired a majority stake.
In 2010, the London Metal Exchange registered a lead brand of Orzeł Biały SA under EAGLE 9997, which provides for direct lead trades at LME.
2011 through 2014 saw Orzeł Biały having completed the largest investment scheme in the history of the Company where, using national and EU funds, an advanced Research and Development Facility and a state-of-the-art battery scrap processing line were built.