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 that establishes the limit values of the parameters that defines the deposit, 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 2020 to 137.09 million m3 (246.76 million tonnes – as recalculated according to the 1.8 factor). The resources decreased by only 0.06 million m3 in comparison with the previous year due to the exploitation (419.59 thousand m3) and losses compensated by the documentation of a new deposit Wólka Gołębska located in Lubelskie Voivodeship with the resources equal 362.85 thousand m3.
The anticipated economic resources of quartz sands for the production of cellular concrete covered by a detailed exploration amount to 49.24 million m3 accounting for 36% of the total anticipated economic resources. The anticipated economic resources within exploited deposits are equal 21.87 million m3 (16% of the total anticipated economic resources).
The economic resources within exploited deposits amount to 10.33 million m3 (47% of the total anticipated economic resources of these deposits). Two abandoned deposits have stille the economic resources recorded (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). There was a new exploitation concession issued for Łozienica-1 deposit (Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship) and the economic resources were established at 1,433 thousand m3. Moreover, there were new deposit development plans elaborated for the following deposits: Puławy in Lubelskie Voivodeship (+298.22 thousand m3) and Piła-Jezioro Piaszczyste in Wielkopolskie Voivodeship (-2,252.14 thousand m3). The exploitation from Wilkaski deposit in Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship was finished.
The output of quartz sands for the production of cellular concrete from 9 deposits totaled 419.59 thousand m3 (755.26 thousand tonnes) in 2020 and decreased in comparison with the previous year by 19.03 thousand m3 (it means by about 4.34%). It was the 2nd consecutive year with the output drop.The exploitation dropped from 7 out of 9 exploited deposits.
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 decreased by 0.73 million m3 and amounted to 262.52 million m3 (472.54 million tonnes). The resources decline was the result of the exploitation (0.59 million m3) and losses, the mineral raw material change (to sands, due to the degradation of the raw material qualitative parameters) in the new documentation with recalculated resources of Jedlanka II (Lubelskie Voivodeship) (-0.22 million m3) (the deposit was moved to the chapter “Sand and gravel”), and the approval of the new documentations with recalculated resources for the deposits located in Mazowieckie Voivodeship: Lesiów-Wincentów (-0.02 million m3) and Żytkowice (-0.14 million m3). The mentioned above drops were slightly compensated due to the approval of: the geological documentation of a new deposit Czostków II (Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship) (+0.03 million m3) and the new documentation with recalculated resources of Zielonka deposit (Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship) (+0.15 million m3).
The anticipated economic resources covered by the detailed exploration are equal 135.03 million m3 accounting for 51% of the total anticipated economic resources of quartz sands for production of lime-sand brick. There are 47.65 million m3 of anticipated economic resources within exploited deposits that account for about 18% of total anticipated economic resources. The economic resources decreased by 0.59 million m3 due to the exploitation and the extinction of the concession for Mońki-Żodzie deposit.
In 2020, the output of quartz sands for the production of lime-sand brick was carried out from 14 deposits (1 less than in 2019) and amounted to 588.71 thousand m3 (1,059.68 thousand tonnes). It increased in comparison with 2019 by more than 30%. In 2020, the exploitation from Barcin-Piechcin-Pakość (Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship) restarted and the output from Augustowo deposit (Mazowieckie Voivodeship) began, whereas two deposits – exploited in 2019 – changed the state of development: Jedlanka II to “K” (“the change of raw material in the deposit”) and Mońki-Żodzie (Podlaskie Voivodeship) to “Z” (“abandoned deposit”) as the exploitation concession extinct in 2020.
The total anticipated economic resources of quartz sands used in the industry for the production of cellular concrete and lime-sand brick amount to 399.61 million m3 (719.30 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].