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

Mineral raw materials used in the industry of building ceramics are varying in age and origin. Raw materials currently exploited for the needs of that industry in Poland come from deposits ranging in age from the Permian to Quaternary. The deposits are distributed practically throughout the whole country. However, they are more common and larger in the south also their differentiation appears higher than in other parts of the country.

The most important raw materials of the Quaternary age include stagnant lake sediments such as muds and clays occurring mainly in northern and central Poland as well as loess, glacial tills, alluvial sediments and those of weathering covers and sands. In 2010, the share of Quaternary sediments in domestic production of raw material for building ceramics industry was about 26.3%

The most important raw materials of the Tertiary age include clays of the so-called Poznań Series from south-western and central Poland and those of the Krakowiec Clays from the area of the Carpathian Foredeep in south-eastern Poland. The share of raw material coming from deposits of the Tertiary age in domestic production was about 56 %, with the bulk of the material (40.7 %) coming from Krakowiec Clays deposits. The share of raw material from Triassic and Jurassic deposits are situated at the margin of the Holy Cross Mts and in the Czestochowa and Opole regions was equal about 17.3 % of the domestic production (about 9.9 % from deposits of the Jurassic age and about 7.4 % from those of the Triassic age). There was also exploited one deposit of the Permian age. Giving 0.4 % of the domestic production.

In accordance with definition of the Geological and Mining Law of the 4th of Februray 1994, all the deposits of clay raw materials of the building ceramics industry are classified as common mineral resources.

Main raw materials used for building ceramics production are clay rocks. Their suitability depends on their plasticity after they are mixed with water. If the plasticity is too high, the mix is corretced by adding such ingredients as sand, crushed brick and fly ash and sawdust. Clay and non-clay raw materials very often occur together - in one deposit.

The main building ceramic products are: ceramic bricks and breezeblocks, slates, clinker bricks, ceramic pavements.

Raw materials for building ceramics production contain clayey minerals. In loess clayey minerals content is low (couple of %), but in clays it can be 100 %. Usually the content is between 40-60 %. Other components are quartz sand and dust, feldspars, calcite and dolomite, iron minerals, mica minerals and organic matter.

There are some components wich can be damaging for building ceramics raw materials: mineral grains bigger than 2 mm, carbonate grains bigger than 0.5 mm, pyrite, gypsum and other sulfates. According to actual balancing criteria the deposit of building ceramics raw material should fulfil some demands: deposit thickness more than 2 metres, overburden not bigger than half of deposit thickness, maximujm content of grains bigger than 2 mm 1 %, maximum content of ceramic marl with grains diameter bigger than 0.5 mm 0.4 % and shrinkage in drying minimum 6 %.

The main source of building ceramics raw materials are Quarternary and Paleogene sediments. Quarternary measures, mainly glacial and fluvoiglacial sediments, i.e. glacial tills, silts, occurring mainly in the northern and central Poland. Tertiary sediments are mainly clays from poznańska succession occurring in south-west and central Poland and clays from krakowiecka succession occurring in south-east Poland. Triassic and Jurassic deposits occur in Holy Cross Mountains, in Częstochowa region and near Opole. There is one Permian deposit in Upper Silesia under exploitation.

Building ceramics raw materials are common in Poland, but they are concentrated mainly in the southern part.

Building ceramics raw materials deposits in Poland are presented on the map.

In accordance with definition of the Geological and Mining Law of the 4th of Februray 1994, all the deposits of clay raw materials of the building ceramics industry are classified as common mineral resources.

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

Out of 1,229 hitherto discovered deposits of building ceramics clays, 22.0 % deposits are exploited (including 16.3 % deposits exploited continuously and 5.7 % - exploited from time to time) and 25.4 % deposits are non-exploited (including 19.4 % deposits covered by detailed exploration and 6.0 % - covered by preliminary exploration). The remaining 52.6 % of deposits were abandoned.

In 2010, production of building ceramics clays was equal 2.16 million m3 (about 4.32 million tonnes). This means that it was only slightly lower (by 0.48 million m3) than in the previous year.

The production was the highest in Małopolskie (283 thousand m3), Mazowieckie (272 thousand m3), Świętokrzyskie (269 thousand m3), Dolnośląskie (261 thousand m3) and Śląskie (236 thousand m3) Voivodeships.

Anticipated economic resources in A+B+C1 category states for 33.6 % of total anticipated economic resources.

Skreślenie z bilansu wymienionych złóż skutkuje ubytkiem 2,5 mln m3 zasobów, z czego u podstaw decyzji o skreśleniu ok. 1,2 mln m3 były zmiany kierunku zagospodarowania terenu, a reszty, przeważnie zła jakość kopaliny i nieopłacalność produkcji.

Z ogólnej wielkości zasobów bilansowych: 12,9 % stanowią zasoby złóż zagospodarowanych, 71,8 % stanowią zasoby złóż niezagospodarowanych (z tego 11,6 % w złożach rozpoznanych szczegółowo i 60,2 % w złożach rozpoznanych wstępnie) i 15,3 % zasoby złóż zaniechanych.

The figure given below shows changes in domestic resources and production of clay raw material for building ceramics industry in Poland in the years 1989-2010.

Building ceramic raw materials are no the subject of international turnover due to their common occurence and high transport costs together with their low price. Nevertheless, building ceramic products are subject of the trade over - mainly with the neighbouring countries.

Accepted abbreviations:

  • B - for solid minerals - mine in building process, for fuels - prepared for exploitation or trial period of the exploitation
  • E - exploited
  • G - underground natural gas storage facilities
  • M - deposit crossed out of the annual report of mineral resources during analized period
  • P - deposit covered by preliminary exploration (in C2+D category, for fuels – in C category)
  • R - deposit covered by detailed exploration (in A+B+C1 category, for fuels – in A+B category)
  • Z - abandoned deposit
  • T - deposit exploited temporarily
  • K - change of the raw material in deposit

Prepared by: Wojciech Szczygielski