General information and occurrence
Sufficiently pure, fine-grained and well sorted sands of the Quaternary age are widely used for the production of cellular concrete and bricks and sand lime blocks in the whole area of Poland. These are river and eolian sands and sands of a glacial and fluvioglacial origin. Sands with the best quality and therefore the most suitable for the mentioned above purposes include mainly fluvioglacial and eolian sands characterized by a high silica content, a good grains segregation (the content of 0.05 – 0.5 mm grains should exceed 65%), a high degree of roundness of grains and a low content of the extraneous matter.
According to the Regulation of the Minister of the Environment of the 1st of July 2015 on the geological documentation of a raw material deposit, excluding a hydrocarbon field (Journal of Laws 2015, Item 987) that establishes the limit values of the parameters that defines the deposit and its boundaries, the exploitable quartz sand deposit requires the thickness not smaller than 2 meters with the ratio of an overburden to deposit series not higher than 0.5, the maximum content of silts of 5% and the minimum content of quartz grains of 90%.
A clastic rock raw materials occurrence in Poland (including quartz sands for production of cellular concrete and lime-sand brick) is presented on the map.
Resources and output
Table 1 shows resources and the current state of exploration and development of quartz sands for the production of cellular concrete.
Anticipated economic resources of quartz sands for the production of cellular concrete amounted in 2022 to 135.79 million m3 (244.42 million tonnes – as recalculated according to the 1.8 factor). The resources decreased by 0.37 million m3 in comparison with the previous year due to the exploitation and exploitation losses. In 2022 any new geological documentations or supplements to such documentations were approved.
The anticipated economic resources of quartz sands for the production of cellular concrete covered by a detailed exploration (A, B, C1 categories) amount to 48.18 million m3 accounting for 35% of the total anticipated economic resources. The anticipated economic resources within exploited deposits are equal 21.08 million m3 (16% of the total anticipated economic resources).
The economic resources within exploited deposits amount to 9.54 million m3 (45% of the total anticipated economic resources of these deposits). Two abandoned deposits have still the economic resources determined (1.90 million m3) due to the valid exploitation concessions: Przygody (Mazowieckie Voivodeship), not exploited since 2014 (1,513.40 thousand m3) and Sułów (Dolnośląskie Voivodeship), not exploited since 2009 (390.75 thousand m3). In 2019 there was a new exploitation concession issued for the Łozienica-1 deposit (Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship) and the economic resources were established at 1,433 thousand m3. However, the output of this deposit has not started till 2022. In 2022, there were not new deposit development plans and supplements to such plans elaborated.
The output of quartz sands for the production of cellular concrete from 8 deposits of the active plants totaled 372.14 thousand m3 (669.85 thousand tonnes) in 2022 and decreased in comparison with the previous year by 37.42 thousand m3 (by about 9%). It was the 4th consecutive year with the output drop. The most significant output decline was recorded for the Józefów deposit (by about 60 thousand m3, threefold), the exploitation of the Puławy deposit was on hold, whereas the output from the Tuchorza deposit increased (by 14 thousand m3); regarding other exploited deposits, the output level remained stable.
Table 2 shows resources and the current state of exploration and development of quartz sands for production of lime-sand brick.
Anticipated economic resources of quartz sands for the production of lime-sand brick in 2022 decreased by 0.68 million m3 and amounted to 261.76 million m3 (471.17 million tonnes). Such drop was the result of declines and increases of resources in particular deposits.
The resources drops were caused mainly by:
- the output (-329.01 thousand m3),
- crossing out the Mońki-Żodzie deposit (Podlaskie Voivodeship; -298.39 thousand m3) from “The balance…” due to approval of a new documentation with recalculated resources (supplement No 2).
The resources growths resulted mainly from:
- the approval of a new documentation with recalculated resources (supplement No 2) for the Barcin-Piechcin-Pakość deposit (Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship; +33.27 thousand m3),
- the approval of a new documentation with recalculated resources (supplement No 2) for the Czostków deposit (Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship; +0.19 thousand m3).
The anticipated economic resources of quartz sands for the production of lime-sand brick covered by the detailed exploration (A, B, C1 categories) are equal 134.34 million m3 accounting for 51% of the total anticipated economic resources of the given raw material. There are 44.92 million m3 of anticipated economic resources within exploited deposits that account for about 17% of total anticipated economic resources. The economic resources decreased by 0.57 million m3 mainly as a result of the following factors: the output (-329.01 thousand m3) and abolition of the exploitation concessions for the following deposits: Czostków (Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship; -93.40 thousand m3), Iława II (Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship; -49.42 thousand m3) and Teodory II (Łódzkie Voivodeship; -12.67 thousand m3).
In 2022, the output of quartz sands for the production of lime-sand brick was carried out from 10 deposits (the same number as in 2021) and amounted to 329.01 thousand m3 (592.22 thousand tonnes). It decreased in comparison with 2021 by 137.42 thousand m3 (nearly 30%). In 2022, the exploitation from the Iława II/1 deposit (Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship) started, from the Łękno JP deposit (Wielkopolskie Voivodeship) restarted, whereas the output was on hold in the following deposits: Augustowo (Mazowieckie Voivodeship) and Żytkowice 1 (Mazowieckie Voivodeship).
The total anticipated economic resources of quartz sands used in the industry for the production of cellular concrete and lime-sand brick amount to 397.55 million m3 (715.59 million tonnes).
Figure 1 shows changes in resources and production of quartz sands for the manufacture of cellular concrete and Figure 2 – the same data for quartz sands for the manufacture of lime-sand brick.
The prognostic resources of quartz sands for production of cellular concrete and lime-sand products are assessed to be equal 82.64 million m3*. They are supposed to occur in Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Lubelskie, Łódzkie, Mazowieckie, Podlaskie, Śląskie, Świętokrzyskie and Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeships.
* Galos K., Miśkiewicz W., 2020 - "Piaski kwarcowe do produkcji betonów komórkowych (quartz sand for cellular concrete manufacture), piaski kwarcowe do produkcji wyrobów wapienno-piaskowych (quartz sand for lime-sand products manufacture), piaski podsadzkowe (filling sand)". In: "Bilans perspektywicznych zasobów kopalin Polski wg stanu na 31.12.2018 r." (eds. Szamałek K., Szuflicki M., Mizerski W.): 309-313. PIG-PIB, Warszawa [in Polish].