Mineral resources of Poland> Rock raw materials and others> Ceramic clays
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Ceramic clays

Ceramic clays are generally represented by sedimentary clays of a marine or lacustrine origin and with minerals of the kaolinite and illite group as the major rock-forming components. The clays, also known as kaolinite rocks, are raw materials for the production of whiteware ceramics. From the technology process point of view, the fired products may be assigned to whiteware or stoneware. For the production of porcelite and faiance, there are used the whiteware ceramic clays, characterized by: - the 60% of whiteness when fired at the temperature of 1,200°C; - the high bending strength after drying - minimum of 0.6 MPa. In turn, stoneware ceramic clays are characterized by a worse witheness degree, but they obtained a high bending strength, a large mechanical and chemical resistance and a low level of water absorption when fired – maximum of 5%.

In The balance of prospective mineral resources of Poland the assessment of resources prospective for ceramic clays in Poland was updated*. The main criteria, adopted for determining the whiteware and stoneware ceramic clays deposits were: the deposit thickness (minimum of 2 m) and the overburden to the deposit thickness ratio (N/Z maximum of 2), in addition the raw material qualitative parameters: the clay minerals content (minimum of 40%), CaCO3 content (maximum of 2%) and the grains >2 mm content (maximum of 1%). Taking into account also such parameters as: the whiteness after firing, the bending strength or the water absorption after firing, the prognostic resources of whiteware and stoneware ceramic clays were assessed to be equal, respectively 127.20 million tonnes (within 3 areas in Dolnośląskie Voivodeship) and 230.41 million tonnes (within 9 areas: 2 in Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship and 7 in Dolnośląskie Voivodeship).

Whiteware ceramic clays deposits occur only in Dolnośląskie Voivodeship. There are two types of deposits. First of them are the Upper Cretaceous kaolinite clays forming interlayers in sandstones and are represented by Bolko II and Ocice deposits. The second type are poorly coherent sandstones of kaolinite binder represented by Janina I, Janina-Zachód and Nowe Jaroszowice deposits. The usable fraction is separated from these rocks by the water-washing and the obtained concentrate contains about 30% of kaolinite clay.

The ceramic clays deposits occurrence in Poland is presented on the map.

Table 1 shows the current state of the exploration and development of the above discussed deposits.

As of 31.12.2019 the anticipated economic resources of whiteware ceramic clays (faiance and porcelite) amounted to 60.56 million tonnes and increased by 2.58 million tonnes (it means by 4.45%) in comparison with the previous year. It was the result of the new documentations with recalculated resources elaborated for: Janina I deposit (+2.78 million tonnes) and Janina-Zachód deposit (-0.20 million tonnes). Similarly to the previous years, Janina I deposit was the only whiteware ceramic clays deposit exploited in Poland – the output amounted to 202.69 thousand tonnes of the sandstones of kaolinite binder), that is by 3.07 thousand tonnes less than in 2018 (the drop by 1.49%). The economic resources of the raw material as of 31.12.2019 were equal 0.90 million tonnes and decreased by 0.22 million tonnes in comparison with the previous year – due to the exploitation and losses. List of deposits is presented in Table 2.

The figure given below shows changes in domestic resources and production of whiteware ceramic clays in Poland in the years 1989-2019.

Stoneware ceramic clays occur mainly in the Lower Silesian region and central parts of the country (Świętokrzyskie and Dolnośląskie Voivodeships). Couple of deposits are located in Mazowieckie Voivodeship, while single ones in Łódzkie and Śląskie Voivodeships.

As of the end of 2019, the anticipated economic resources of stoneware ceramic clays amounted to 78.75 million tonnes and decreased in comparison with the previous year by 0.29 million tonnes (0.37%). The resources change was the result of the exploitation and losses.

The anticipated economic resources within exploited deposits amounted to 8.06 million tonnes which accounted for 10.23% of the total anticipated economic resources. Almost all of these resources were covered by the detailed exploration (A+B, C1 categories), only in Baranów deposit remained 3 thousand tonnes of resources explored in C2 category. The economic resources decreased by 0.24 million tonnes (5.44%) as a result of the exploitation and amounted to 4.17 million tonnes. These resources accounted for 51.74% of the anticipated economic resources of the exploited deposits.

Table 3 shows the current state of exploration and development of these deposits.

In 2019, the exploitation of stoneware ceramic was carried out from 4 deposits. The total output was equal 258.20 thousand tonnes and dropped by 3.99% (10.72 thousand tonnes) in comparison with 2018. The output increased only from Rozwady 1 deposit (by 18.40 thousand tonnes, that is almost 9-fold), in the case of Zebrzydowa Zachód deposit there was the output drop recorded by 26.78 thousand tonnes (12.59%), whereas for Baranów deposit the drop was equal 7.98 thousand tonnes (37.24%). In 2019, the exploitation of Borkowice II was not carried out, however, the output from Borkowice-Radestów 1 (Mazowieckie Voivodeship) started – it amounted to 38 thousand tonnes. List of deposits is presented in Table 4.

The figure given below shows changes in domestic resources and production of stoneware ceramic clays in Poland in the years 1989-2019.

Prepared by: Marcin Tymiński

* Galos K., 2020 - Iły biało wypalające się (white-firing clay, ball clay), kamionkowe (stoneware clay, ceramic clay) i ogniotrwałe (refractory clay, flint clay). In: Bilans perspektywicznych zasobów kopalin Polski wg stanu na 31.12.2018 r. (eds. Szamałek K., Szuflicki M., Mizerski W.): 335-329. PIG-PIB, Warszawa.