Mineral resources of Poland> Rock raw materials and others> Building ceramics raw materials
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Building ceramics raw materials

General information and occurrence

The basic raw materials used for a building ceramics production are various clayey rocks which mixed with water form a plastic mass easy to form and sands so-called “weaken sands” which are added to a clayey raw material to improve the properties of the ceramic mass. Formed and burnt products must be of the appropriate physical and technical features defined by the official standards. Clayey and non-clayey (weaken) raw materials often occur together - in one deposit, in the form of beds or inter-beddings, or as independent accumulations.

The assortment of building ceramic products contains mainly: ceramic bricks and breezeblocks, slates, clinker bricks, fittings, ceramic pavements. The raw material from some deposits is being used also for the production of enamel ceramic tiles, stoneware products, ceramic accessories and others.

The raw materials for the building ceramics production owe their yielding features and their ability to be formed to the clayey minerals content. Their content in different rocks varies. In loesses the clayey minerals content is low (couple of %), whereas in clays it can be up to 100%. Usually, in the typical raw materials the content is between 40% and 60%. Other components are mainly sand and quartzitic dust, feldspars, calcite and dolomite in calcareous raw materials, iron minerals, mica minerals and organic matter. Clayey rocks built of only one mineral occur very seldom, they usually have several clayey minerals in their composition: kaolin, illite, montmorillonite and chlorites, occurring together in changeable proportions.

Building ceramics raw materials occur commonly in the whole country. They vary in terms of their origin and age. Nowadays, the most important deposits are these of the Quaternary, Neogene, Jurassic and Triassic age. The raw materials of the Quaternary age include mainly stagnant lake sediments such as muds and clays occurring mainly in northern and central Poland. There are also loesses, glacial loams, alluvial loams and loams of weathering covers and sands used. Among older minerals the most important are the Neogene clays of the so-called Poznań Series from south-western and central Poland and maritime Miocene clays occurring in south-eastern Poland in the area of the Carpathian Foredeep. The Jurassic and Triassic deposits are situated at the margin of the Holy Cross Mts., in the Czestochowa region and in the Opole region. The building ceramics raw materials deposits in Poland are presented on the map.

According to the Regulation of the Minister of the Environment of the 1st of July 2015 regarding the geological documentation of a mineral raw material deposit, excluding a hydrocarbons field (number of Polish act: Dz. U. 2015, poz. 987) the limit values of the parameters that define the building ceramics raw materials deposit and its boundaries (Appendix 8 – table 42) are: - the maximum documentation depth – to the depth of a possible exploitation; - the minimum thickness of the deposit – 2 m; - the maximum overburden/thickness ratio – 0.5; the maximum content of grains bigger than 2 mm – 1%; - the maximum content of a ceramic marl in grains diameter bigger than 0.5 mm – 0.4%; - the shrinkage in drying minimum 6%.

Resources and output

The table given below shows reserves and the state of development and exploration of clay raw material for the building ceramics industry.

The anticipated economic resources of the building ceramics raw materials amounted to 2,026.509 million m3 (about 4,053.018 million tonnes) as of the end of 2022. They decreased by 4.193 million m3 (about 8.386 million tonnes – that is by 0.2%) in comparison with the previous year.

There was 1 new deposit of the building ceramics raw materials documented in 2022: the Sągnity 1 deposit (0.227 million m3) located in Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship. The deposit was allocated from the Sągnity deposit due to planned exploitation only of this part of the deposit.

For 17 deposits there were new documentations with recalculated resources approved (supplements for documentations – 18 supplements, including 2 for the Sągnity deposit), from which:

  • new documentations (supplements), updating the boundaries and resources, were elaborated for 12 deposits: Kolonia Spławy II (-0.021 million m3) and Stojeszyn (-0.012 million m3) in Lubelskie Voivodeship, Maciejowice (-0.134 million m3 – the partially exploited area was excluded from the deposit as the area is dedicated for other investments) and Paczków (-0.377 million m3 – a calculation error was corrected) in Opolskie Voivodeship, Chwałowice – Maj V (-0.001 million m3), Chwałowice-Pasztaleniec (0.000 million m3) and Podborze (-0.019 million m3) in Podkarpackie Voivodeship, Szkucin (2.494 million m3 – the deposit area was enlarged), Sągnity (-0.222 million m3 – resources were updated and the Sągnity 1 deposit was allocated), Czacz I (0.000 million m3), Czajcze (0.001 million m3). The resources balance resulted from the above mentioned changes is positive and amounts to 1.709 million m3;
  • there were 6 deposits crossed out from “The balance…” after elaboration of supplements of a settlement specification: Rudak I (-1.826 million m3 – exploitation of the Pliocene clays ended due to spatial development plan limitations and due to quality of the raw material not sufficient enough for building ceramics production) in Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship, Dębówka (-0.966 million m3 – actual and planned land development) and Bojanówka I (-0.041 million m3 – exploitable resources were depleted) in Lubelskie Voivodeship, Siedlisko (-1.233 million m3 – a part of the deposit planned for buildings, the deposit has not been exploited so far) in Lubuskie Voivodeship, Grabowiec (-0.025 million m3 – exploitable resources were depleted) in Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship and Marcinowo (-0.029 million m3) in Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship. The total resources drop resulting from crossing out the above mentioned deposits is equal 4.120 million m3.

Out of the total 1,111 documented deposits of the building ceramics raw materials, exploited deposits (96) account for 8.6% (including: 5.7% deposits exploited continuously (64) and 2.9% deposits exploited temporarily - 32), non-exploited deposits (299) account for 26.9% (including: 20.2% deposits covered by a detailed exploration (225) and 6.7% deposits covered by a preliminary exploration - 74) and abandoned deposits (716) account for 64.4%.

Similarly, out of the total volume of the anticipated economic resources (2,026.51 million m3): the resources within exploited deposits (225.27 million m3) account for 11.1% (including: 10.0% deposits exploited continuously (202.07 million m3) and 1.1% deposits exploited temporarily – 23.2 million m3), the resources within non-exploited deposits (1,441.41 million m3) account for 71.1% (including: 11.2% in the deposits covered by a detailed exploration (227.87 million m3) and 59.9% in the deposits covered by a preliminary exploration – 1,213.54 million m3) and the resources within abandoned deposits (359.83 million m3) account for 17.8%.

The resources documented in A+B and C1 categories (the detailed exploration) account for 34.3% of total anticipated economic resources. The remaining part of resources is documented in C2 or D categories (the preliminary exploration). More than a half of resources covered by the preliminary exploration (60%) are resources documented within the overburden of non-exploited brown coal deposit Legnica-pole Wschodnie (727.65 million m3 of clays documented in C2 category).

The economic resources are documented for 58 deposits and amount to 133.892 million m3 in total (about 267.784 million tonnes) that accounts for 56.0% of the anticipated economic resources of these deposits. The economic resources in 2022 decreased by 6.839 million m3 (4.9%) in comparison with the previous year, including:

  • resources growth by 0.579 million m3, including: Przysieka Stara (0.549 million m3 – new deposit development plan) in Wielkopolskie Voivodeship, Paczków (0.021 million m3) in Opolskie Voivodeship, remaining 0.008 million m3);
  • resources drops due to exploitation and losses – 1.912 million m3 in total (regarding only 58 deposits with determined economic resources);
  • other drops equal 5.506 million m3, including the following deposits: Złocieniec (-0.306 million m3) in Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship – supplement No 3 to the deposit development plan); Miękinia (-1.114 million m3) in Dolnośląskie Voivodeship, Złote Góry II (-0.191 million m3) in Łódzkie Voivodeship, Plecewice I (-2.757 million m3) in Mazowieckie Voivodeship – due to the concession extinction and removal of the mining areas; Rudak I (-0.920 million m3) in Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship – the deposit crossed out from the registry; Zawady (-0.047 million m3) in Mazowieckie Voivodeship, Radymno – pole zachodnie 1 (-0.122 million m3) in Podkarpackie Voivodeship, Blanowice C (-0.049 million m3) and Ogrodzieniec (-0.001 million m3) in Śląskie Voivodeship – data verification.

In 2022, the output of the building ceramics clays was equal 1.803 million m3 (about 3.606 million tonnes) and increased in comparison with 2021 by 0.089 million m3 (5.2%). The exploitation was being carried out from 66 deposits (including 2 abandoned deposits). The biggest output was recorded for the Oleśnica 1 deposit in Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship – 0.219 million m3. Considering particular Voivodeships, the output was as follows (in a descending sequence): in Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship 0.427 million m3 (23.7% of the domestic output); in Dolnośląskie Voivodeship 0.289 million m3 (16.0%); in Śląskie Voivodeship 0.223 million m3 (12.4%); in Podkarpackie Voivodeship 0.195 million m3 (10.8%); in Małopolskie Voivodeship 0.130 million m3 (7.2%), in Opolskie Voivodeship 0.105 million m3 (5.8%); in Pomorskie Voivodeship 0.104 million m3 (5.8%); in Mazowieckie Voivodeship 0.100 million m3 (5.6%); in Wielkopolskie Voivodeship 0.074 million m3 (4.1%); in Lubuskie Voivodeship 0.059 million m3 (3.3%); in Lubelskie Voivodeship 0.049 million m3 (2.7%); in Podlaskie Voivodeship 0.024 million m3 (1.3%); in Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship 0.011 million m3 (0.6%); in Łódzkie Voivodeship 0.011 million m3 (0.6%); in Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship 0.001 million m3 (0.1%); in Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship the exploitation was not carried out.

The figure given below shows changes in the domestic resources and production of the clay raw material for the building ceramics industry in Poland in the years 1989-2022.

In The balance of prospective mineral resources of Poland, the prognostic resources (category D1) of the building ceramics raw materials were assessed to be equal 1,328 billion m3 within 65 areas, moreover there were 267 prospective areas given (category D2 without the resources assessment)*. The majority of the prognostic resources is formed by the Neogene clays of the Poznań series (45.7% of the prognostic resources, from which 20% are the clays accompanying the brown coal deposits), the Miocene marine clays (33.3%), the stagnant clays (18.3%) and other (2.7%). The geographical distribution of the resources is uneven: in Dolnośląskie Voivodeship there is 43.1% of the resources located, in Podkarpackie Voivodeship 28.2%, in Podlaskie Voivodeship 9.2%, in Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship 5.1%, in Śląskie, Pomorskie, Świętokrzyskie and Małopolskie Voivodeships – from 2% to 3%, and in the remaining Voivodeships – 6.2% in total. Except for the determined areas, there are also other possibilities for the valuable clayey raw materials discovery.

Prepared by: Wojciech Szczygielski

* Szczygielski W., Walentek I., 2020 - "Surowce ceramiki budowlanej (building ceramics raw materials), surowce do produkcji kruszyw ceramicznych i cementu (mineral raw materials for production of clay aggregates and cement clinker)". In: "Bilans perspektywicznych zasobów kopalin Polski wg stanu na 31.12.2018 r." (eds. Szamałek K., Szuflicki M., Mizerski W.): 239-257. PIG-PIB, Warszawa [in Polish].