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Mineral resources of Poland> Rock raw materials and others> Dimension and crushed stones
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Dimension and crushed stones

The group of mineral raw minerals, assigned in "The balance..." to the dimension and crushed stones comprises 33 lithological varieties of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks displaying properties which make them useful in a domestic economy. The stones are used for production of crushed aggregates – a high-grade raw material for building, road and railway construction and stone elements for road construction (stone for paving roads, stone and stone plates for sidewalks, stone street curbing and curb ramps) and building construction (stone blocks, decorative plates for elevation and facade, floor plates and slabs).

Sedimentary rocks represent 46.4% of anticipated economic resources of dimension and crushed stones (5,066.55 million tonnes), igneous rocks 40.1% of the resources (4,376.40 million tonnes) and metamorphic rocks 13.5% (1,477.23` million tonnes). The share of igneous rocks has increased significantly – by 1.9% in comparison with the previous year mainly due to the growth of granites (by 96.71 million tonnes – 5.8%). The resources of sedimentary rocks increased by 0.7% - mainly resources of limestones and dolomites (they rose by 48.18 million tonnes – 1.6%), whereas the resources of metamorphic rocks dropped by 1.38 million tonnes (0.1%).

Igneous and metamorphic rocks explored as dimension and crushed stones occur mainly in the Lower Silesian region where they are represented by i.a.: basalts, granites, granodiorites, gabbros, syenites, diabases, melaphyres, porphyres, amphibolites, gneisses, migmatites, serpentinites and marbles and form a few deposits in Małopolskie Voivodeship (diabases, melaphyres, porphyres and porphyric tuffs). Sedimentary rocks matching requirements for that use are much more common. Limestones and dolomites form numerous deposits in the Holy Cross Mts. and the Silesian-Cracow region and sandstone deposits were documented in the Carpathian region, Holy Cross Mts. and Lower Silesia. In turn, deposits of limestones, opokas and marls were documented in the Lublin Upland.

Location of dimension and crushed stones deposits is presented on two separeted maps - for South-Western Poland and for South-Eastern Poland.

Anticipated economic resources amounted to 10,920.18 million tonnes and increased by 119.20 million tonnes (1.10%) in comparison with the previous year. The number of deposits decreased from 746 to 731 where 7 new deposits were documented and 22 deposits crossed out from "The balance…". Since 2008 the deposit number increase has been slowing down – from +5.8% in the years 2007 and 2008 through -0.5% in 2015, finally to -2.0% in 2016. Sedimentary rocks deposits amounted to 529 (which accounts for 69.5% of total number of deposits), igneous rocks deposits to 172 (22.6%) and metamorphic rocks deposits to 60 (7.9%).

About 51.7% of resources (5,647.51 million tonnes) are within 330 exploited deposits (exploited and exploited temporarily). There are also 199 non-exploited deposits covered by detailed exploration (A, B, C1 categories) with resources equal 2,584.38 million tonnes (23.7% of total resources) and 47 non-exploited deposits covered by preliminary exploration (C2, D categories) with resources equal 1,786.98 million tonnes (16.4% of total resources). Resources of 155 abandoned deposits account for 8.3% of total resources and are equal 901.31 million tonnes.

Table 1 shows the current state of exploration and development of the dimension and crushed stones.

Economic resources amounted to 3,451.29 million tonnes in 2016 increasing by 69.20 million tonnes (2.0%) in comparison with 2015.

Anticipated economic reasources of dimension and crushed stones grew in 2016 due to the documentation of 7 new deposits, broadening of existing deposits borders, more detailed exploration, reclassification and resources verification.

The resources increase was due to:

  • the extension of selected deposits boundaries (resources increased by 216.34 million tonnes): granite deposit – Gola Świdnicka (81.53 million tonnes), dolomite deposit – Kowala Mała (52.28 million tonnes), limestones and dolomites deposit – Józefka (19.97 million tonnes), limestones deposit - Raciszyn (19.65 million tonnes), granite deposit – Borów (14.23 million tonnes), sandstones deposit – Klęczany (10.79 million tonnes), granite deposit – Strzeblów I (5.74 million tonnes), limestones deposit – Wola Morawicka (4.13 million tonnes), granite deposit – Kostrza (3.33 million tonnes), gneiss and amphibolite deposit – Ogorzelec (3.16 million tonnes), and two deposits with total resources growth equal 1.54 million tonnes (Czernica-Wieś and Rozbark);
  • the documentation of 7 new deposits with total resources equal 3.80 million tonnes – sandstone deposits: Palcza III (1.76 million tonnes), Masłowice-pole B (0.08 million tonnes), Szydłówek-Saspol I (0.02 million tonnes); limestones deposits: Gołuchów 1 (1.11 million tonnes), Józefów I (0.11 million tonnes); menilite schists deposit Ulanica-Wólka (0.26 million tonnes) and erratic boulder deposit Chrostkowo Nowe (0.46 million tonnes);
  • the better exploration, reclassification and verification of resources, current verification and updating of resources at the level of 3.86 million tonnes.

Resources decreased due to:

  • the output (-59.55 million tonnes);
  • the crossing 6 deposits out from "The balance…" (-21.26 million tonnes): dolomite deposit Brzeziny (-11.95 million tonnes) – the exploitation can not be taken due to the environmental and planning issues and accumulation of water; dolomites deposit Żelazno II (-7.94 million tonnes) – resources cancellation due to the lack of possibilities of exploitation concession change after the deposit allocation from Żelazno I deposit; four deposits with resources equal 1.37 million tonnes (Miękinia Wschód, Szczukowskie Górki I, Włochy, Wola Komborska-Działy P. II);
  • the updating and verification of resources and losses (-4.72 million tonnes);
  • the verification of exploitation losses (-7.75 million tonnes);
  • the changes of deposits boundaries with resources updating (-11.53 million tonnes) for sandstones deposits Wierchomla (-9.22 million tonnes) and Komańcza-Jawornik (-2.31 million tonnes).

According to data provided by operators of exploited deposits, production of dimension and crushed stones in 2016 amounted to 59.55 million tonnes and decreased in comparison with 2015 by 4.63 million tonnes (7.22%).

The most important, in terms of the output, are sedimentary rocks – limestones and dolomites (accounting for 41.97% of the total output) and sandstones (10.61%). Out of the igneous rocks the highest output is recorded for granite and basalt (26.99% of the total output). Metamorphic rocks have always been of the least importance, however they have become more substantial lately (especially by migmatite, amphibolite, gneiss and serpentinite). The output of sedimentary rocks decreased by 7.38% (2.55 million tonnes) and metamorphic rocks by 8.29% (2.08 milllion tonnes). The most significant growth was recorded for sandstones (by 14%), limestones and dolomites (5%) and melaphires (30%), porphires (24%), gabbro and basalts (15% and 5%, respectively). The exploitation of metamorphic rocks remained at the similar level as in 2015.

The rock mining is concentrated within the area of two voivodeships: Dolnośląskie and Świętokrzyskie with the share in Polish output of dimension and crushed stones of 43.1% (within 256 deposits and 53.2% of domestic resources) and 35.7% (within 136 deposits and 22.0% of domestic resources), respectively. Małopolskie Voivodeship accounts for 10.3% of domestic production (105 deposits and 11.6% of domestic resources).

Dimension and crushed stones are exploited also during the brown coal exploitation. In 2016 there were 2.53 thousand tonnes of erratic boulders, 25.89 thousand tonnes of quartzites and 82.29 thousand tonnes of limestones extracted from Bełchatów and Szczerców fields (KWB Bełchatów SA mine). In the Adamów mine (owned by PAK Koplania Węgla Brunatnego Adamów SA) the exploitation of granitic erratic boulders was equal 0.03 thousand tonnes.

The figure given below shows changes in domestic resources and production of dimension and crushed stones in Poland in the years 1989-2016.

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.

Prepared by: Dariusz Brzeziński, Wojciech Miśkiewicz