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 Tertiary formations (in situ accumulations) and 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 Pomorskie and Lubelskie Voivodeships areas.

The in situ amber accumulations in the Tertiary 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 Tertiary amber-bearing sediments occur shallower – on the depth to 20 m - 30 m. Górka Lubartowska deposit (the Parczew delta) is formed by silty-sandy deltaic sediments of 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 third amber occurrence in the Tertiary sediments is Możdżanowo region near Ustka – the amber-bearing sediments are represented by sands and gravel of 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 detected in the sediments relocated by the glacier and post-glacier rivers from degraded Tertiary 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 2020 increased by 2,034.19 tonnes (it means by 131.5%) in comparison with the previous year and amount to 3,580.84 tonnes of amber. The significant resources growth was the result of the documentation of new resources in Niedźwiada II deposit (the growth by 2,032.80 tonnes) and the extending of the Górka Lubartowska-.Leszkowice deposit boarders (the growth by 14.32 tonnes). Niedźwiada II deposit was documented in Lubartów country about 1.5 km east from Niedźwiada town. Initially, in 2018 there were only glauconite-bearing sediments documented, then in 2020 the accompanying raw materials were documented: amber, phosphorites concretes and glass raw materials (sands and quartzitic dust with mineral-complex clays). The amber-bearing series of Niedźwiada II deposit are built of Eocene, marine glauconite sands and muds occurring in the glauconite raw material deposit profile. The minor amounts of amber occur also in the glauconite-quartzitic sandstones. The amber contribution in the glauconite-bearing series increases along with depth, the average content of amber in the deposit amounts to 1,062.5 g/m3, and the average deposits amber content is estimated at 7,850.7 g/m2. The exploited commodity can be used in the jewelry industry (as an ornamental stone), chemical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. The drop of the domestic amber resources in 2020 was the result of the ongoing exploitation. In 2020, the output (in spite of 4 valid concession for: Górka Lubartowska VIII, Górka Lubartowska IX, Górka Lubartowska-Leszkowice and Górka Lubartowska-Niedźwiada) was carried out only from Górka Lubartowska-Niedźwiada deposit. The output from this deposit amounted to 12.14 tonnes of amber. In Leszkowice 1 deposit, the subject of the concession is limited only to glass sands.

According to the information collected by PGI-NRI from Marshals of Lubelskie, Pomorskie, Warmińsko-Mazurskie and Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeships in 2020 there were only 193.90 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 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 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 Customs Department of the Ministry of Finance, 249 kilograms of amber were in 2020 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 826 kilograms in 2020.

According to the information collected by the Ministry of Climate and Environment from the Gdynia Maritime Office, there were about 17 kilograms of amber exploited during the works connected with the “Building of the waterway combining the Vistula Lagoon with the Gulf of Gdansk”.

Additionally, it is estimated (however the assessment is very approximate) that the amount of amber collected on the Baltic beaches may amount to 5-6 tonnes per year. The realization of the ditch of the Vistula Spit resulted in the increasing amber gathering in the area of the investment. There is lack of reliable information on the amount of amber collected in this way in 2020. Nevertheless, the numerous amber divers may be the evidence of the real amber obtaining in this area.

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

The prospective resources of amber are difficult to 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, Krzysztof Szamałek

* 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].