Iron, titanium and vanadium ores
Resources of the iron ores were crossed out from the registry of Polish mineral raw material deposits by the decision of the Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry already in 1994 as not meeting the criteria for economic ores.
Deposits of vanadium-bearing magnetite-ilmenite ores occur in anorthosite complexes of the Proterozoic Suwałki mafic massif (north-eastern Poland) at the depth from 850 m to 2,300 m. The deposits became known thanks to an intense drilling exploration and an appraisal drilling program launched in the 1970s. In order to classify the resources of the ores, the special economic criteria were worked out and accepted in 1996. On the basis of these new criteria the ore resources of Krzemianka and Udryń deposits were classified as sub-economic on the account of low contents of metals, especially vanadium (0.26-0.31% V2O5 at the average) and a large depth of the occurrence.
At present, the magnetite-ilmenite ores appear to be of an interest mainly as a raw material of vanadium. According to M. Nieć* evaluation the cut-off grade equivalent of V2O5 in an anticipated economic ore should be equal 0.73% what constitute only 1% of totally documented resources. However, large resources of shallow-seated or even exposed deposits of that type were recently discovered and proved in the Republic of South Africa and several other places throughout the world. This makes any attempt to develop the ore deposits of the Suwałki area difficult to expect in the foreseeable future and their classification as sub-economic deposits too optimistic under the present conditions. It should be added that any decision to start development of the Suwałki ore deposits would bring a very high risk of social and environmental conflicts. According to M. Nieć*, treating the ores as even anticipated sub-economic seems to be too optimistic. The potential exploitation is being assessed as too conflictual. Therefore, the ores should be treated as an interesting geological object, without any practical value”. If this is the case, it may be stated that Poland does not have any iron ore deposits which could be the source of raw material for a steel industry.
Documented bog iron ore deposit Dębe Małe with resources estimated at 8 thousand tonnes is intended to other industrial uses than the steel industry, especially as an adsorbent of H2S, CO2 and organic compounds of sulfur and other environmental activities.
Prepared by: Stanisław Z. Mikulski
*Nieć M., 2003 – Ocena geologiczno-gospodarcza złóż wanadonośnych rud tytanomagnetytowych masywu suwalskiego. Gosp. Sur. Min., 19, 2: 5–28. Wyd. IGSMiE PAN, Kraków.