General information and occurrence
Quartz (SiO2) is, next to feldspar, the most common mineral. It is an important rock-forming mineral, being one of the main components of the majority of granites and other igneous rocks. 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: clear and colorless rock crystal, yellow to orange citrine, pink to rose pink quartz, purple to violet amethyst, brown to gray smoky quartz and 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 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 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 (qualities I and III according to 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 have not changed since 2019 and amounted in 2020 to 5.61 million tonnes.
In 2020, any of the vein quartz deposits in Poland was exploited. In 2016, the exploitation from Taczalin deposit ended, whereas the output from Stanisław deposit was halted in 2005. After the long-lasting lack of exploitation, in spite of the still valid exploitation concession, Stanisław deposit was classified as abandoned. The economic resources of this deposit are equal 1.35 million tonnes accounting for 24% 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 1989-2020.
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 magnification occur in the area of Stanisław deposit extension, in the tectonic zone of 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). W: Bilans perspektywicznych zasobów kopalin Polski wg stanu na 31.12.2018 r. (red. Szamałek K., Szuflicki M., Mizerski W.): 325-328. PIG-PIB, Warszawa [in Polish].