General information and occurrence
Quartz (SiO2) is one of the most common mineral and one of the main components of the majority of igneous rocks (e.g. granites). Under conditions favorable for the crystallization (such as voids in rocks), it forms sharp-pointed hexagonal long and slender crystals which are widely used as a popular ornamental stone and also a gemstone in jewellery. Depending on an admixture of coloring oxides, several varieties of these gemstones are differentiated: colorless – rock crystal, purple – amethyst, black – morion.
Quartz also forms veins and lenses in metamorphic and igneous rocks. The vein quartz deposits originate in the result the of the hydrothermal activity as an infill of open fissures and fractures cutting a given rock massif. The quartz infills are characterized by a high content of silica (SiO2) and a low content of coloring oxides (Fe2O3 and TiO2).
In Poland, the vein quartz deposits occur mainly in crystalline rock massifs of the Precambrian and Paleozoic age in the Sudety Mts. (map). The deposits are characterized by a high variability in thickness, a big dip of veins and lenses and a varying quality of a raw material.
The vein quartz is widely used in the industry, starting from the ceramic industry (the production and glazing and decorating bone and fine china, porcelain and porcelite, utility and pottery ware ceramics, technical ceramics) to the production of fire-proof materials, enameller and in the metallurgy. Its purest varieties are used in the manufacturing of high-quality glass and in the chemical and electrotechnical industries. The quartz vein is also the source of a high-quality quartz powder and fine grade crushed grains (types I and III according to the industry standard No BN-80-6714-19).
The Table 1 presents resources and the current state of the exploration and development of vein quartz deposits.
Anticipated economic resources of vein quartz decreased by 24.1 thousand tonnes in comparison with 2021 and amounted in 2022 to 6.16 million tonnes. It was the result of the approval of a new geological documentation with recalculated resources (the Supplement No 1) for the Taczalin 1 deposit. The supplement was elaborated to reclassify the resources from the C2 category to C1 category.
In 2022, any of the vein quartz deposits in Poland was exploited. In 2016, the exploitation from the Taczalin deposit ended, whereas the output from the Stanisław deposit was halted in 2005. After the long-lasting lack of exploitation, in spite of the still valid exploitation concession, the Stanisław deposit is still classified as abandoned. The economic resources of this deposit are equal 1.35 million tonnes accounting for 22% of the total anticipated economic resources of vein quartz in Poland.
The figure given below shows changes in domestic resources and production of vein quartz in Poland in the years 1989-2022.
The prospects of the new deposits discovery are limited to the already known places of an occurrence. The most favorable conditions for the resources base enlargement occur in the area of the Stanisław deposit extension, in the tectonic zone of the Rozdroże Izerskie ("Izerskie Crossroad"). Prognostic resources of vein quartz are assessed to be equal 2.87 million tonnes and prospective resources 1.33 million tonnes*.
Prepared by: Agnieszka Malon
* Wołkowicz K., Sroga C., 2020 - "Kwarc żyłowy (vein quartz)". In: "Bilans perspektywicznych zasobów kopalin Polski wg stanu na 31.12.2018 r." (eds. Szamałek K., Szuflicki M., Mizerski W.): 325-328. PIG-PIB, Warszawa [in Polish].