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 2021 to 136.17 million m3 (245.11 million tonnes – as recalculated according to the 1.8 factor). The resources decreased by 0.92 million m3 in comparison with the previous year due to the exploitation (409.56 thousand m3), losses and crossing out the Długi Kąt II deposit (509.00 thousand m3) located in Lubelskie Voivodeship from “The balance…”. Except for the new documentation with recalculated resources (settlement supplement), in 2021 any other 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 48.41 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 9.92 million m3 (46% of the total anticipated economic resources of these deposits). Two abandoned deposits have still the economic resources assessed (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 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 2021. In 2021, 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 nine deposits of the active plants totaled 409.56 thousand m3 (737.21 thousand tonnes) in 2021 and decreased in comparison with the previous year by 10.03 thousand m3 (by about 2.39%). It was the 3rd consecutive year with the output drop. The most significant output decline was recorded for the Puławy deposit (by about 30 thousand m3), slightly lower drops took place for the Mierzyn and Lidzbark Welski deposits. The exploitation level remained stable for five deposits in comparison with 2020, whereas the output increased almost 2-fold from the Józefów deposit.
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 slightly decreased by 0.08 million m3 and amounted to 262.44 million m3 (472.39 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 (-466.43 thousand m3),
- crossing out the Czostków-1 deposit (Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship; -15.16 thousand m3) from “The balance…” due to approval of a new documentation with recalculated resources (supplement No. 1),
- the correction of resources in a mining report of the Czostków deposit (Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship) covering 2020 (-5.71 thousand m3),
- the approval of a new documentation with recalculated resources (supplement No 3) for the Teodory II deposit (Łódzkie Voivodeship; -1.97 thousand m3).
The resources growths resulted mainly from:
- the approval of a new documentation with recalculated resources (supplement No 3) for the Żabinko deposit (Wielkopolskie Voivodeship; +158.58 thousand m3),
- the documentation of a new deposit Czostków III (Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship; +141.57 thousand m3),
- the resources correction (+115 thousand m3) in a mining report of the Augustowo deposit (Mazowieckie Voivodeship) covering 2021.
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 135.01 million m3 accounting for 51% of the total anticipated economic resources of the given raw material. There are 45.41 million m3 of anticipated economic resources within exploited deposits that account for about 17% of total anticipated economic resources. The economic resources increased by 1.22 million m3 mainly as a result of the following factors: issuing an exploitation concession for the Iława II/1 deposit (Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship; +1,419.23 thousand m3), the economic resources growth in the Żabinko deposit (Wielkopolskie Voivodeship; +156.71 thousand m3), the economic resources growth in the Augustowo deposit (Mazowieckie Voivodeship; +57.25 thousand m3) and the output (-442.73 thousand m3 – excluding the exploitation from two deposits for which the concessions were issued by the county mayor and therefore, the economic resources have not been determined).
In 2021, the output of quartz sands for the production of lime-sand brick was carried out from ten deposits (four fewer than in 2020) and amounted to 466.43 thousand m3 (839.57 thousand tonnes). It decreased in comparison with 2020 by 122.28 thousand m3 (more than 20%). In 2021, the exploitation from the Bełżec deposit (Lubelskie Voivodeship) restarted, whereas the output was on hold in the following deposits: Kulno-rej.Leżajska (Podkarpackie Voivodeship), Lesiów-Wincentów (Mazowieckie Voivodeship) and Czostków (Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship). An exploitation concession for the Słupsk II (Pomorskie Voivodeship) deposit extinct in 2021.
The total anticipated economic resources of quartz sands used in the industry for the production of cellular concrete and lime-sand brick amount to 398.61 million m3 (717.50 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].