Dimension and crushed stones
General information and occurrence
The group of mineral raw minerals, assigned in “The balance…” to the dimension and crushed stones (other name: road and building stones) comprises 33 lithological varieties of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks displaying properties which make them useful in a domestic economy. The stones meeting the appropriate requirements are used for the production of crushed aggregates – a high-grade raw material for the building, road and railway construction and stone elements for the road construction (stone for paving roads, stone and stone plates for sidewalks, stone street curbing and curb ramps) and the building construction (stone blocks, decorative plates for elevation and facade, floor plates and slabs).
Deposits of the igneous and metamorphic rocks occur mainly in the southern part of Poland – in the area of the following Voivodeships: Dolnośląskie (basalts, granites, granodiorites, syenites, diabases, gabbros, melaphyres, porphyres, porphyric tuffs, amphibolites, serpentinites, greenstones, gneisses, migmatites, crystalline schists, marbles), Opolskie (basalts, granites, gneisses, marbles) and Małopolskie (diabases, melaphyres, porphyres and porphyric tuffs). Sedimentary rocks are much more common. Limestones and dolomites form numerous deposits located in the area of Dolnośląskie, Łódzkie, Małopolskie, Śląskie and Świętokrzyskie Voivodeships, sandstones in the area of Dolnośląskie, Łódzkie, Małopolskie, Podkarpackie, Śląskie and Świętokrzyskie Voivodeships, whereas limestones, opokas and marls in the area of south-eastern Poland Voivodeships (Lubelskie and Podkarpackie).
Resources and output
The anticipated economic resources of dimension and crushed stones as of the end of 2021 amounted to 11,615.44 million tonnes. They increased by 94.00 million tonnes, that is by 0.82% in comparison with the previous year. The number of deposits grew from 741 to 746 – 6 new deposits were documented and 1 deposit was not included in “The balance…” as it was crossed out in 2020. The most numerous are the sedimentary rocks deposits represented – by 544 deposits accounting for 69.6% of the total deposits number. The number of the documented igneous rocks deposits is equal 176 (accounting for 22.5% of the total deposits number), whereas the metamorphic rocks deposits amount to 62 (accounting for 7.9% of the total deposits number). It should be noted that in dozen or so deposits, more than one lithological type of the raw material occur.
The location of dimension and crushed stones deposits is presented on two separeted maps - for South-Western Poland and for South-Eastern Poland.
The anticipated economic resources of sedimentary rocks represent 47.6% of the total resources (5,521.71 million tonnes), of igneous rocks 39.8% of the resources (4,625.18 million tonnes) and of metamorphic rocks 12.6% (1,468.55 million tonnes). Similarly to the previous year, the most significant resources growth was recorded for the igneous rocks i.e. by 61.09 million tonnes (it means by 1.34%) – mainly due to the increases within granites and porphyres. The resources of the metamorphic and sedimentary rocks increased by 21.62 million tonnes (1.49%) and by 11.30 million tonnes (0.21%), respectively – the most visible resources growth were noted for gneisses and sandstones.
About 54.1% of the anticipated economic resources of the given group of raw materials i.e. 6,285.15 million tonnes include 312 exploited deposits (exploited continuously and temporarily). In the group of non-exploited deposits there are 198 deposits covered by the detailed exploration with the resources equal 2,611.55 million tonnes (accounting for 22.5% of the total resources) and 47 deposits covered by the preliminary exploration with the resources equal 1,778.73 million tonnes (accounting for 15.3% of the total resources). The resources of 189 deposits in which the exploitation was abandoned amount to 940.01 million tonnes accounting for 8.1% of the total geological resources of the dimension and crushed stones.
Table 1 shows the current state of the exploration and development of the dimension and crushed stones.
The economic resources amounted to 3,733.92 million tonnes in 2021 increasing by 54.81 million tonnes (1.5%) in comparison with 2020. These changes resulted from the elaboration of new deposit development plans and supplements to such plans, and also from the exploitation and losses.
The anticipated economic resources growth in 2021 was connected with the documentation of new deposits, the extending of existing deposits boundaries, the more detailed exploration of the deposits and the reclassification and verification of the resources. The resources increase due to:
- the extension of the deposits areas or the deepening of their range (the total resources growth by 127.71 million tonnes): the sandstone deposit Lipowica II-1 (the growth by 37.62 million tonnes), the gneiss deposit Doboszowice (29.28 million tonnes), the granite deposit Wieśnica (21.58 million tonnes), the limestone and dolomite deposit Józefka (15.09 million tonnes), the sandstone deposit Szufnarowa (10.25 million tonnes), the limestone deposit Celiny I (6.10 million tonnes), the dolomite deposit Libiąż (3.47 million tonnes), the granite deposit Barcz I (3.20 million tonnes), and the Bysina 2, Męcina, Skrzydlna 3 and Ulanica-Wólka deposits (the total growth by 1.12 million tonnes);
- the including 6 newly documented deposits into “The balance…” with the total resources equal 79.06 million tonnes – the granite deposit Gniewków II (the growth by 51.00 million tonnes), the porphyry deposit Olszyny I (20.68 million tonnes), the sandstone deposit Zbylutów 1 (6.21 million tonnes), the sandstone deposit Żeliszów I (0.64 million tonnes), the sandstone deposit Pilichowice XI (0.30 million tonnes) and the menilite schists deposit Ulanica-Wólka 1 (0.23 million tonnes);
- the more detailed exploration, the resources reclassification and recalculation, the current verification and updating of resources at the level of 4.26 million tonnes.
The anticipated economic resources drop of dimension and crushed stones in 2021 was the result of:
- the ongoing exploitation (79.12 million tonnes);
- the changes of documentation boundaries together with the resources updating and the more detailed deposits exploration (the total drop by 23.36 million tonnes) – the granite deposit Gniewków (the drop by 9.19 million tonnes), the limestone deposit Łagów II (5.77 million tonnes), the sandstone deposit Zbylutów (5.22 million tonnes), the limestone deposit Nielepice (1.99 million tonnes), the sandstone and dolomite deposit Nowy Staw (0.61 million tonnes) and the dolomite deposit Nowa Wioska (0.58 million tonnes);
- crossing out the limestone deposit Szczukowskie Górki 2 (the drop by 8.08 million tonnes) and two sandstone deposits – Męcina 1 and Śmiłów-Sasal (the total drop by 0.43 million tonnes);
- the updating and recalculation of resources, the better deposits exploration and the settlement of the exploitation losses – the total drop by 6.07 million tonnes.
According to the data provided by the concession holders of the exploited deposits, the output of dimension and crushed stones amounted in 2021 to 79.12 million tonnes and increased in comparison with 2020 by 2.56 million tonnes (3.34%). In terms of the output volume, the most important are the sedimentary rocks: limestones and dolomites – accounting for 44.68% of the total domestic output – 35.35 million tonnes, and sandstones – accounting for 11.83% of the total output – 9.36 million tonnes. Among the igneous rocks the following types of rocks are the most significant regarding the output volumes: granites (10.39 million tonnes, accounting for 13.13% of the total output), basalts (7.04 million tonnes – 8.90%) and melaphyres (3.82 million tonnes – 4.83%). The metamorphic rocks are of the minor importance considering the output of solid rocks (the total output of 7.62 million tonnes, share inthe domestic output of 9.63%). In comparison with 2020, the output of sedimentary rocks increased by 4.71% (2.03 million tonnes), whereas that of metamorphic rocks by 8.65% (0.61 million tonnes). The output volume of igneous rocks decreased by 0.32% (0.08 million tonnes) but the drop covered only melaphyres and porphyres.
The rock mining is concentrated within the area of 2 Voivodeships: Dolnośląskie which accounts for 40.33% of the domestic output of the dimension and crushed stones (264 deposits and 52.1% of the domestic resources) and Świętokrzyskie with the share in the total output of 34.19% (142 deposits and 21.3% of the domestic resources). Then comes Małopolskie Voivodeship accounting for 11.87% of the total output (103 deposits and 11.0% of the domestic resources) and the following Voivodeships: Śląskie (5.60% of the domestic output), Opolskie (4.18%), Podkarpackie (3.18%) and Łódzkie (0.60%). The shares of the remaining Voivodeships (Lubelskie and Mazowieckie) do not exceed 0.05%.
Dimension and crushed stones are being also obtained during the brown coal exploitation. In 2021 there were 2.43 thousand tonnes of erratic boulders, 7.42 thousand tonnes of sandstones and quartzites, and 658.30 thousand tonnes of limestones exploited in KWB Bełchatów SA mine (the Szczerców field).
The figure given below shows changes in domestic resources and production of dimension and crushed stones in Poland in the years 1989-2021.
Table 2 shows the current state of exploration and development and production with breakdown of individual lithological types of rocks used in road and building construction.
The resources volumes, the state of deposits development and the output amounts divided into the lithological types of rocks documented as dimension and crushed stones are presented in Table 3.
The prospective resources of dimension and crushed stone were assessed to be equal about 36,921 million tonnes, whereas the biggest resources are located in the area of Małopolskie Voivodeship (53.4% of the total resources), Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship (16.4% of the total resources), Śląskie Voivodeship (13.0% of the total resources) and Dolnośląskie Voivodeship (10.7% of the total resources)*. The assessed prognostic resources of dimension and crushed stones amount to about 33,208 million tonnes and their occurrence is concentrated in Dolnośląskie Voivodeship (82.3% of the total resources) and Śląskie Voivodeship (13.4% of the total resources). The prospective and prognostic resources are concentrated mainly within the area of 4 Vovivodeships: Dolnośląskie, Małopolskie, Śląskie and Świętokrzyskie, which is in line with the current mining centers of this raw material from documented deposits. With regard to lithology, the largest resources are formed by the sedimentary rocks (32,867 million tonnes of prospective resources and 5,845 million tonnes of prognostic resources – these are mainly sandstones, limestones and dolomites), then metamorphic rocks (765 million tonnes of prospective resources and 23,905 million tonnes of prognostic resources – mainly gneisses) and then – igneous rocks (3,289 million tonnes of prospective resources and 3,458 million tonnes of prognostic resources – mainly granodiorites and granites).
Prepared by: Dariusz Brzeziński, Wojciech Miśkiewicz
* Brzeziński D., Miśkiewicz W., 2020 - "Kamienie łamane i bloczne (crushed and dimension stones), kamienie drogowe i budowlane (road and building stones)". In: "Bilans perspektywicznych zasobów kopalin Polski wg stanu na 31.12.2018 r." (eds. Szamałek K., Szuflicki M., Mizerski W.): 297-304. PIG-PIB, Warszawa [in Polish].