General information and occurrence
The entrepreneurs in Poland have recently paid their attention to the use of glauconite-bearing sediments (sands and silts with glauconite) which co-occur with feldspar-quartzitic and quartzitic sands deposits. The presence of iron oxides in glauconite makes him usable for the production of glass and vitreous shells of wide range of colors, the ceramic pigments, the colorful and vitreous ceramic or stone decorations. The mineral as a potential potassium source can also be used in agriculture as an slow-acting fertilizer with a significant content of the magnesium, iron and organic trace elements. Moreover, due to its chemical features it can be used in the technologies of water and sewage treatment – to remove the heavy metals contaminations.
The glauconite-bearing sediment has not been documented as a mineral raw material so far and therefore is not included in the Regulation of the Minister of the Environment of the 1st of July 2015 (Journal of Laws 2015, Item 987) on the geological documentation of a raw material deposit, excluding a hydrocarbon field – the limit values of the parameters that define the deposit and its boundaries have not been defined. Thus – on the basis of the performed geological works – geologists documenting the glauconite-bearing sediment have initially determined the scope of the requirements for the glauconite-bearing sediment documentation. The criteria of the limit values accepted for the glauconite deposit in particular documentations sometimes varied slightly: the maximum documentation depth – 30 m (excluding the Górka Lubartowska-Niedźwiada deposit); the minimum deposit thickness – from 4 m (the Niedźwiada III deposit) to 5 m (to the Niedźwiada II deposit there was one borehole with the thickness of 2 m included); the minimum glauconite content – 10% (for the Niedźwiada II deposit the average glauconite content >10% deposit was accepted; excluding the Niedźwiada III deposit); the minimum K2O content – 1.6% (only for the Niedźwiada III deposit). Deposits of the glauconite-bearing sediments are documented in Lubelskie Voivodeship – Lubartowski county. The geological structure of this region (Górka Lubartowska) contains the Quaternary sands with lying below them the Tertiary silts and sands with glauconite of the Upper Eocene age (the so-called Parczew delta) in which the amber occurrence was stated. In 2021, there was another glauconite-bearing sediments deposit documented – Niedźwiada III, however, this time the glauconite content in the sediment was not specify.
Resources and output
Table 1 shows the current state of exploration and development of glauconite-bearing sediments deposits.
The anticipated economic resources of the glauconite-bearing sediments as of the end of 2021 amounted to 9.97 million m3, including 1.28 million m3 of glauconite. The resources increased by 0.94 million m3 (it means by 10%), as the result of the Niedźwiada III deposit documentation. However, the glauconite resources decreased by 0.02 million m3 due to the exploitation from the Górka Lubartowska-Niedźwiada deposit and as the result of significant exploitation losses. Since 2020 the Górka Lubartowska IX deposit has been the subject of an exploitation concession. In 2021, there were two another concessions issued for the Niedźwiada II and Niedźwiada III deposits and the economic resources of glauconite-bearing sediments increased nearly four-fold and amounted to 3,827.52 thousand m3, including 299.79 thousand m3 of glauconite.
The amount of resources documented within particular deposits of the glauconite-bearing sediments together with the deposits state of development are presented in table 2. The output, from only one exploited Górka Lubartowska-Niedźwiada deposit, was equal 54.67 thousand m3 in 2021, including 6.56 thousand m3 of glauconite.
Prepared by: Agnieszka Malon