Mineral resources of Poland> Rock raw materials and others> Amber
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General information and occurrence

The amber ascertained in Poland occurs in the Paleogene formations (in situ accumulations) and the Quaternary formations (secondary accumulations). The amber occurrences within the beach zone of the Baltic Sea (especially the eastern part) are the subject of collectible and “professional” gathering (so-called amber divers). Aside from these occurrences, the amber deposits are also located in the areas of Pomorskie and Lubelskie Voivodeships.

The in situ amber accumulations in the Paleogene sediments are connected with the northern marginal zone of the Eocene Sea. In the northern zone (the so-called chłapowsko-sambijska delta) the Chłapowo vicinities are of the best exploration status – the amber-bearing sediments (the so-called “blue earth”) occur on the depth between 60 m and 130 m. In the southern zone of the Eocene Sea (the so-called Parczew delta) in the vicinities of Parczew the Paleogene amber-bearing sediments occur shallower – on the depth to 20-30 m. The Górka Lubartowska deposit (the Parczew delta) is formed by silty-sandy deltaic sediments of the Upper Eocene in age, containing amber. The amber-bearing layer occur below a building sands deposit of about 12 m of the average thickness. The 3rd amber occurrence in the Paleogene sediments is the Możdżanowo region near Ustka – the amber-bearing sediments are represented by sands and gravel of the Upper Eocene in age. They form the glacial ice float within the Quaternary sediments. The amber-bearing series is characterized by the average thickness of 1.98 m and is located at the depth of about 11 m

The Quaternary amber-bearing accumulations can be spotted in the sediments relocated by the glacier and post-glacier rivers from the degraded Paleogene deposits, mainly the chłapowsko-sambijska delta sediments. The amber concentrations are also encountered on the Baltic beaches from Kołobrzeg to the eastern border of Poland on the Vistula Spit where amber occur in beach fossil sediments and on recent beaches.

Resources and output

Anticipated economic resources as of the end of 2022 increased in comparison with the previous year and amounted to 3,491.58 tonnes of amber. The growth was the result of a documentation of a new deposit – Niedźwiada Kolonia II with resources equal 3.33 tonnes. The deposit was allocated from the Górka Lubartowska deposit and amber is the accompanying raw material to natural aggregates and glauconite-bearing sediments. The amber in the Niedźwiada Kolonia II deposit occur within sands and silts with glauconite of the Upper Eocene, occurring directly on the mantle rock of the Upper Cretaceous sediments. The average content of amber in the deposit is 0.02%, whereas the average abundance in the exploration wells is equal 82.25 g/m2. The obtained commodity can be used in jewellery and medical industries. In 2022, the exploitation of amber was no carried out in spite of 7 active concessions for the following deposits: Górka Lubartowska VIII, Górka Lubartowska IX, Górka Lubartowska-Leszkowice, Górka Lubartowska-Niedźwiada, Leszkowice 1, Niedźwiada II and Niedźwiada III.

According to the information collected by the PGI-NRI from the Marshals of Lubelskie, Pomorskie, Warmińsko-Mazurskie and Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeships, in 2022 there were only 40 kilograms of amber exploited during geological works under the approved geological works projects in the area of Pomorskie Voivodeship. Moreover, the collected information show that in 2022 there were 3 new geological works projects for the prospecting and exploration of amber deposits approved in Pomorskie Voivodeship, whereas in Lubelskie, Warmińsko-Mazurskie and Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeships in 2021 there was not any new decision approving the geological works project for the prospecting and exploration of amber deposits issued by Marshalls.

At the same time, according to the information gained from the National Revenue Administration of the Ministry of Finance, in 2022 there were 11.6 kilograms of amber confiscated by the Customs and Tax Service on the Polish external borders (road, marina and aerial border crossings). The total amount of confiscated amber sold during the auctions organized by the Chamber of Tax Administration amounted to 1,433.4 kilograms in 2022. Moreover, during the control of one of companies, regarding other issued than smuggling, there were 166 kilograms of amber confiscated.

Additionally, it is estimated (however this assessment is very approximate) that the amount of amber collected on the Baltic beaches may amount to 5-6 tonnes per year.

Table 1 shows the current state of identification and management of resources of amber in Poland.

The prospective resources of amber are difficult to be assessed due to the insufficient paleogeographical and facial exploration of the amber-bearing sediments. Locally, it is also difficult because of the resources impoverishment or depletion as the result of the illegal exploitation*. The possibility of development the prospective area of the Eocene primary amber accumulations is unlikely – due to the deposit layer depth below 100 m and the potential conflict between the exploitation and the environment. The nest and stratabound-nest types of the amber accumulations within the xenoliths of the Paleogene amber-bearing sediments and within the Pleistocene and Holocene fluvioglacial and fluvial sediments are of the small size and characterized by the irregular occurrence. Therefore, their resources are unlikely to be documented. In fact, as the reserve base of amber, there can be the prognostic resources within fine-grade Eocene sediments considered – occurring in the northern Lubelszczyzna area. The maximum magnitude of these resources can be evaluated at 22 thousand tonnes. The significant amber occurrences can also be expected within the Quaternary sediments in the area of the Gdańsk shore, especially in the regions of the traditional exploitation on the Vistula river delta.

Prepared by: Dariusz Brzeziński

* Kramarska R., Kasiński J.R., Słodkowska B., 2020 - "Bursztyn, sukcynit (amber, succinite)". In: "Bilans perspektywicznych zasobów kopalin Polski wg stanu na 31.12.2018 r." (eds. Szamałek K., Szuflicki M., Mizerski W.): 371-377. PIG-PIB, Warszawa [in Polish].