Mineral resources of Poland> Rock raw materials and others> Sand and gravel (natural aggregates)
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Sand and gravel

General information and occurrence

Two major groups of natural sandy-gravelly aggregates are differentiated: a coarse aggregate group, comprising gravel and sand-gravel mix (sandy-gravelly aggregates), and that of fine aggregates – sandy. Sand deposits in Poland are usually evenly arranged and only southern voivodeships are characterized by their shortage. In turn, the course aggregates deposits – particularly marketable – occur unevenly and especially central voivodeships are characterized by the deficiency.

The bulk of Polish natural sand and gravel deposits are of the Quaternary age. The share of deposits of the older formations: the Pliocene, Miocene and Liassic in the age is subordinate.

The quality of the raw material, and especially deposits homogeneity, depends largely on a genetic type of a given deposit. Among the Quaternary deposits, there are 3 genetic types differentiated: glacial, fluvioglacial and fluvial (river). They are characterized by a zonality of the occurrence.

In the southern part of Poland, in the Carpathian-Sudetic zone, the most important are deposits of the fluvial (river) origin. In the Sudety Mts., the deposits of sandy-gravelly higher terraces of the Pleistocene age prevail, built mainly of the crystalline rocks and sandstones. In turn, in the Carpathian region the main raw material basis comprises gravelly and sandy-gravelly deposits occurring on flood-plain terraces as well as valley side terraces rising above flood plains. The Carpathian deposits are characterized by a predominance of the material coming from a disintegration of flysch rocks, except for those of the Dunajec River valley, showing a fairly high contribution of the crystalline rocks from the Tatry Mts.

In northern and central Poland – on the Polish Lowlands, the most important are deposits of a glacial (an accumulation platform of front moraine), fluvioglacial (sandrs, eskers) and fluvial (river) origin. Deposits from the northern part of that area are represented by gravelly-sandy accumulations mainly comprising the Scandinavian material – debris of crystalline rocks and limestones with an admixture of quartz and sandstones. In the central and southern parts of this region, the deposits are mainly formed of sandy sediments with a significant contribution of a debris of local rocks.

The deposits of a high quality natural sandy-gravelly aggregates are also located on the Polish maritime area (Baltic Sea). They are of the fluvioglacial processes and the selection of the maritime sediments origin. They are characterized by the isolated form of deposits fields with irregular shape and varying thickness.

According to the Regulation of the Minister of the Environment of the 1st of July 2015 regarding the geological documentation of a raw material deposit, excluding a hydrocarbons field (Journal of Laws 2015, Item 987), establishing i.a. the limit values of the parameters that define the deposit and its boundaries, a feldspar-quartzitic sand deposit with the sand content above 75% should be characterized by the thickness not smaller than 2 m with the ratio of overburden to deposit thickness not higher than 0.3 and the content of mineral silts fraction below 10%; whereas a gravelly, gravelly-sandy and sandy-gravelly deposit with the sand content below 75% should be characterized by the thickness not smaller than 2 m with the ratio of overburden to deposit thickness not higher than 1.0 and the content of mineral silts fraction below 15%.

The sand and gravel deposits occurrence in Poland is presented on the map.

Resources and output

Table 1 shows resources and the current state of exploration and development of natural sand and gravel aggregates.

The anticipated economic resources of natural aggregates as of 31.12.2022 totaled 20,664.01 million tonnes. The resources increased by 471.78 million tonnes (that is by 2.34%) in relation to the previous year. The growth dynamism increased in comparison with the previous year when it was equal 1.16%.

The natural sandy-gravelly aggregates have been documented within 4 subtypes: sands, sand with gravel, gravel, loamy and silty sands. The resources of sands with the sand content above 75% amount to 10,135.96 million tonnes (increased by 480.62 million tonnes in comparison with 2021) from which 2,831.42 million tonnes are within exploited deposits. The resources of gravelly-sandy and sandy-gravelly aggregates with the sand content between 30% and 75% amount to 9,512.21 million tonnes (the drop by 3.55 million tonnes). The resources of gravel (with the sand content <30%) amount to 977.81 million tonnes (the drop by -5.72 million tonnes) and the resources of silty, loamy sands amounted to 38.03 million tonnes (the growth by 0.42 million tonnes).

The resources increased due to:

  • The including into “The balance…” 340 newly documented deposits with the total resources equal above 725.8 million tonnes. In 2022, the largest resources were documented on the Polish maritime area (Baltic Sea). For the first time in 30 years there were 2 deposits documented at the bottom of the Baltic Sea: Zatoka Gdańska – obszar 1 (110.97 million tonnes) and Zatoka Gdańska – obszar 2 (187.83 million tonnes). In the second best, regarding the resources growth, Podlaskie Voivodeship, there were documented 61.37 million tonnes (35 new deposits). The biggest of these deposits are as follows: Kamionka-Drahle 3 (26.36 million tonnes), Zielone Kamedulskie VIII (9.95 million tonnes). In the following deposits: Szymany III, Rogawka Ix, Jasieniówka, Żyrwiny VI documented resources were equal 2.97 million tonnes. The resources of 11 out of all biggest newly documented deposits are equal nearly 53 million tonnes (within a range between 1.09 million tonnes and 26.36 million tonnes), that is 87% of the newly documented resources in the Voivodeship. Remaining 24 deposits contain the resources within a range of 0.09-0.9 million tonnes. In the third place, in terms of newly documented resources, there is Pomorskie Voivodeship: 45.94 million tonnes (26 deposits). The biggest newly documented deposits are: Wieprznica IIIA (13.03 million tonnes), Jałowiec II (7.01 million tonnes). However, the following deposits: Żelazno I, Dęby I, Minkowice I, Szczukowo II and Demlin XI contain the resources within a range of 2.23-2.69 million tonnes. The smallest resources volume, i.e. 2.63 million tonnes, was documented in Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship (4 deposits), Śląskie Voivodeship – 5.47 million tonnes (6 deposits), Lubuskie Voivodeship – 7.59 million tonnes (4 deposits). The deposits resources approved in 2022 by the Marshalls Voivodeships amounted to 385.9 million tonnes (176 deposits), by the county mayors amounted to 40.9 million tonnes (161 deposits) and by the Minister of the Climate and Environment amounted to 298.8 million tonnes (2 deposits).
  • The verification and updating of resources due to the deposit area enlargement or deepening of its range, the resources updating as a result of a longtime exploitation, the change of a deposit usage and its designation in the site management plans within the borders of which the deposit was documented, or the resources settlement after an allocation of new deposits documented within the area of previously explored. The most significant resources growths coming from new geological documentations (the supplements to documentations) were recorded for the following deposits: Ginawa (36.98 million tonnes) located in Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship, Drogoszów II (6.85 million tonnes) located in Opolskie Voivodeship, Rywociny (10.19 million tonnes) and Zbiroża X located in Mazowieckie Voivodeship, Brzeszcze-Buczaki (4.04 million tonnes) located in Małopolskie Voivodeship. Moreover: the Ratajki V deposit in Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship, the Józefkowo I deposit in Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship, the Rogawka and Mątwica VII deposits located in Podlaskie Voivodeship, the Gołaszyn and Owczary-p. Północne deposits located in Lubuskie Voivodeship, the Łazów I-Galicja located in Podkarpackie Voivodeship, the Potażniki RO and Dęby Szlacheckie-I deposits located in Wielkopolskie Voivodeship., the Ocice III deposit located in Dolnośląskie Voivodeship and the Trzebina 1 deposit located in Opolskie Voivodeship enlarged their resources from about 2 million tonnes to 4 million tonnes each.
  • The balance of the resources drops and growths, established in the new documentations with recalculated resources (supplements) or being the results of the current resources verification connected with the exploitation – 51.1 million tonnes.

The resources decreased by:

  • The output (170.78 million tonnes).
  • The crossing 217 aggregate deposits out from the domestic resources balance – about 134.9 million tonnes in total. The biggest resources volumes were crossed out from the i.a. deposits: Deszczno-Łagodzin (-61.03 million tonnes), Deszczno-Łagodzin p. Krasowiec (-5.67 million tonnes) and Stężyca (-7.87 million tonnes) located in Lubuskie Voivodeship; Kanigowo VII (-8.87 million tonnes) in Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship; Wieprznica III (-4.98 million tonnes) in Pomorskie Voivodeship; Leżajsk – dz. 5754/82 (-2.64 million tonnes), Gniewczyna Łańcucka SW (-2.24 million tonnes) in Podkarpackie Voivodeship. In 15 deposits the remaining resources exceeded 1 million tonnes, in 54 deposits it the resources were within a range of 200-900 thousand tonnes, whereas in 38 deposits up to dozen thousand tonnes.
  • The resources reduced by the new documentations with recalculated resources (the supplements) elaborated for i.a. deposits: Kalbornia-Mosznica (-4.07 million tonnes) and Różyńsk Wielki III (-5.14 million tonnes) in Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship, Olszna II-MK (-9.12 million tonnes) and Lasów-Żarka (-4.94 million tonnes) in Dolnośląskie Voivodeship, Borowiec (-5.51 million tonnes) in Małopolskie Voivodeship. The drops in 14 deposits contained the resources from about 1 million tonnes to 3.2 million tonnes, whereas in 19 deposits it was within a range between about 0.5 million tonnes and 9 million tonnes.

The resources growth in Poland, similarly to the previous years, was the result of the increases of documented resources in most of Voivodeships. The most significant increase was recorded on the Polish maritime area (Baltic Sea) and in the following Voivodeships: Zachodniopomorskie, Mazowieckie, Podlaskie, Opolskie. The table below shows changes within anticipated economic resources in particular Voivodeships in 2022.

Increases (thousand tonnes)
Decreases (thousand tonnes)
Baltic Sea 298,205 Lubuskie Voivodeship -68,710
Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship 62,020 Dolnośląskie Voivodeship -13,694
Mazowieckie Voivodeship 42,374 Śląskie Voivodeship -2,138
Podlaskie Voivodeship 41,101  
Opolskie Voivodeship 32,447  
Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship 17,087  
Wielkopolskie Voivodeship 15,020  
Lubelskie Voivodeship 12,692  
Pomorskie Voivodeship 11,318  
Małopolskie Voivodeship 11,250  
Podkarpackie Voivodeship 9,651  
Łódzkie Voivodeship 2,026  
Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship 1,114  
Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship 16  
Total increases 556,322 Total decreases -84,542

In the deposits which were included into current “The balance…” there was mainly sand documented in the volume exceeding 569 million tonnes from which the biggest deposits are mentioned above Zatoka Gdańska – obszar 1 and Zatoka Gdańska – obszar 2. The resources of sand and gravel are equal 153 million tonnes in i.a. deposits: Kamionka-Drahle 3 (26.36 million tonnes) located in Podlaskie Voivodeship and Poborszów (24.28 million tonnes) located in Opolskie Voivodeship. New gravel resources amounted to 2.72 million tonnes and the biggest deposits are: Solarnia (0.93 million tonnes) in Opolskie Voivodeship and Sierakoście-V (0.9 million tonnes) in Podkarpackie Voivodeship. The Voivodeship distribution of the subtypes resources of the new deposits is presented below:

(million tonnes)
with gravel
(million tonnes)
(million tonnes)
loamy sand
(million tonnes)
Baltic Sea 298.8 0 0 0
Dolnośląskie 9.0 8.7 0 0
Kujawsko-Pomorskie 22.7 1.0 0 0
Lubelskie 23.1 0 0 0
Lubuskie 7.6 0 0 0
Łódzkie 13.3 2.0 0 0
Małopolskie 25.2 8.4 0.5 0
Mazowieckie 37.4 0.3 0 0
Opolskie 6.9 24.7 0.9 0
Podkarpackie 15.9 7.2 1.3 0
Podlaskie 16.9 44.5 0 0
Pomorskie 33.8 12.1 0 0
Śląskie 1.9 3.6 0 0
Świętokrzyskie 2.6 0 0 0
Warmińsko-Mazurskie 6.4 32.2 0 0
Wielkopolskie 17.0 1.1 0 0
Zachodniopomorskie 30.9 7.0 0 1.0

The total area of the deposits included into “The balance…” in 2022 amounted to 6,795 ha, including 6,513 ha (165 deposits) of the deposits with the are above 2 ha and 282 ha (175 deposits) of the deposits below 2 ha. The biggest deposits are located at the bottom of the Baltic Sea: Zatoka Gdańska – obszar 2 (1,665 ha), and Poborszów (167 ha) located in Opolskie Voivodeship, Parsęcko V (83 ha) in Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship, Zabawa Zawale (66 ha) in Małopolskie Voivodeship, Jałowiec II (56 ha) in Pomorskie Voivodeship. The total area of the deposits crossed out from “The balance…” in 2022 was equal about 1,390 ha.

The biggest numbers of deposits are nowadays documented in the following Voivodeships: Mazowieckie (1,485), Wielkopolskie (1,306), Lubelskie (1,002), Warmińsko-Mazurskie (864), Podlaskie (856), Łódzkie (860).

The Voivodeships with the biggest documented resources are: Dolnośląskie (2,294 million tonnes), Podlaskie (1,800 million tonnes), Małopolskie (1,796 million tonnes), Opolskie (1,487 million tonnes), Mazowieckie (1,428 million tonnes) and Zachodniopomorskie (1,373 million tonnes).

The resources of deposits covered by a detailed exploration (A, B and C1 categories) are equal 13,101.96 million tonnes and account for 63.4% of the total resources. The resources covered by the preliminary exploration (C2 and D categories) account for 36.6% of the total resources and amount to 7,562.05 million tonnes. The resources of exploited deposits, being equal 6,251.87 million tonnes (the growth by 103.8 million tonnes in comparison with 2021), account for 30.3% of the total resources. Non-exploited deposits contain 12,545.18 million tonnes (60.7%) of resources (the growth by 308.5 million tonnes), whereas the resources of abandoned deposits are equal 1,866.96 million tonnes – the growth by 59.43 million tonnes.

The economic resources amounted in 2022 to 4,337.26 million tonnes and increased in comparison with the previous year by 12.83 million tonnes. The economic resources, established for the exploited deposits, are equal 3,618.64 million tonnes accounting for 58% of their documented resources, whereas the anticipated economic resources within the exploited deposits are equal 4,575.57 million tonnes The distribution of resources (anticipated economic, economic and anticipated economic of exploited deposits – in million tonnes) within exploited deposits in particular Voivodeships as of the end of 2022 was as follows:

Voivodeship/ Region
Developed resources (million tonnes)
Anticipated economic Economic Anticipated economic
of exploited deposits
Poland 6,251.87 3,618.64 4,575.57
Baltic Sea 84.06 83.11 46.33
Dolnośląskie 676.56 349.37 590.58
Kujawsko-Pomorskie 176.36 119.27 127.52
Lubelskie 161.96 85.30 130.26
Lubuskie 332.16 162.09 195.69
Łódzkie 344.47 212.31 274.24
Małopolskie 422.59 130.83 328.97
Mazowieckie 430.05 270.48 300.23
Opolskie 281.03 115.19 271.59
Podkarpackie 268.65 117.29 203.30
Podlaskie 878.11 544.06 507.98
Pomorskie 418.04 329.00 330.79
Śląskie 273.49 92.13 179.08
Świętokrzyskie 89.04 38.35 78.48
Warmińsko-Mazurskie 410.44 341.73 268.77
Wielkopolskie 499.77 300.24 350.11
Zachodniopomorskie 505.08 327.89 391.65

In 2022, the output of sand and gravel amounted to 170.78 million tonnes. In comparison with the previous year the exploitation decreased by 14.3 million tonnes, that is by 7.7%, in contrast to 2021 when the output increased by 4.83 million tonnes. The output grew only in Pomorskie and Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeships and dropped in remaining 14 Voivodeships. The most significant drops were recorded in the following Voivodeships: Warmińsko-Mazurskie, Lubuskie, Łódzkie, Mazowieckie, Opolskie, Podkarpackie and Kujawsko-Pomorskie. In 2022, the demand for the raw materials decreased in industry areas using sandy-gravelly aggregates as: the infrastructure building sector, industrial building sector and production of concrete (i.a. ready-mix concrete) and concrete products. Nowadays, the significant part of the aggregates production absorb the large-scale infrastructure investments which, to some extent, stabilize the aggregates market. In particular Voivodeships the output balance in comparison with 2021 is as follows:

The output
in comparison with 2021
The difference
(thousand tonnes)
The difference
Total -14,299 -7.7
Pomorskie 1,063 5.6
Zachodniopomorskie 578 4.8
Małopolskie -198 -1.6
Świętokrzyskie -323 -13.1
Dolnośląskie -636 -4.2
Baltic Sea -666 -44.3
Podlaskie -836 -3.2
Śląskie -866 -14.7
Wielkopolskie -947 -8.1
Lubelskie -955 -16.3
Kujawsko-Pomorskie -1,029 -14.1
Podkarpackie -1,040 -11.0
Opolskie -1,307 -16.4
Mazowieckie -1,461 -10.0
Łódzkie -1,506 -15.4
Lubuskie -1,540 -21.7
Warmińsko-Mazurskie -2,629 -14.9

Regarding the division of deposits to the subtypes, the most intensive exploitation was recorded for sand with gravel deposits (the sand content between 30% and 75%) – 89.8 million tonnes, then for sand deposits (the sand content >75%) – 76.7 million tonnes and gravel deposits – 4 million tonnes. The detailed division in particular Voivodeships is presented below:

(million tonnes)
with gravel
(million tonnes)
(million tonnes)
loamy sand
(million tonnes)
Baltic Sea 0 0.8 0 0
Dolnośląskie 4.2 9.5 0.7 0
Kujawsko-Pomorskie 5.9 0.4 0 0
Lubelskie 4.7 0.2 0 0
Lubuskie 2.9 2.7 0 0
Łódzkie 6.8 1.5 0 0
Małopolskie 0.6 9.9 1.5 0
Mazowieckie 9.7 3.4 0 0
Opolskie 1.4 4.3 1.0 0
Podkarpackie 3.5 4.2 0.6 0.1
Podlaskie 3.4 21.6 0 0
Pomorskie 10.0 9.9 0 0
Śląskie 1.1 3.7 0.2 0
Świętokrzyskie 2.1 0 0 0
Warmińsko-Mazurskie 2.5 12.5 0 0
Wielkopolskie 10.0 0.7 0 0
Zachodniopomorskie 8.0 4.5 0 0.1

The number of sand and gravel deposit in 2022 amounted to 10,999 including 2,540 of exploited deposits (in this group there are deposits crossed out from the actual “balance and those for which the concessions expired and the deposits were marked as abandoned). In comparison with the previous year (2,608 deposits) the number decreased. The number of non-exploited deposits increased by 195 (from 8,264 in 2021 to 8,459 in 2022). The structure of the deposits divided according to the output volume in particular Voivodeships in 2022 is presented below:

Output (thousand tonnes)
Exploited deposits
Baltic Sea 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
Dolnośląskie 59 7 18 10 8 1 103
Kujawsko-Pomorskie 102 18 12 5 0 0 137
Lubelskie 180 11 4 3 0 0 198
Lubuskie 26 8 11 3 3 0 51
Łódzkie 196 19 12 5 2 0 234
Małopolskie 38 15 12 18 4 0 87
Mazowieckie 328 22 21 8 3 0 382
Opolskie 20 9 3 9 4 0 45
Podkarpackie 142 22 14 9 0 0 187
Podlaskie 216 19 17 8 6 6 272
Pomorskie 95 23 29 12 5 2 166
Śląskie 24 5 6 9 1 0 45
Świętokrzyskie 42 0 4 1 1 0 48
Warmińsko-Mazurskie 125 15 15 10 4 2 171
Wielkopolskie 298 23 19 7 0 0 347
Zachodniopomorskie 31 8 6 14 5 2 66
Total 1,922 224 203 131 47 13 2,540

Natural sand and gravel are also obtained during the exploitation of brown coal deposits. In 2022, the output of the raw material from non-documented deposits during the exploitation in the Bełchatów mine from the Szczerców field amounted to 939.92 thousand tonnes of sand, sand with gravel and gravel with sand.

Figure below shows changes in domestic resources and production of sand and gravel in Poland in the years 1989-2022.

The prognostic resources of the natural sandy-gravelly aggregates are assessed to be equal more than 13 billion tonnes*. They occur quite evenly in Poland. The areas of the prospective raw material occurrences, in contrast to the prognostic ones, are of a lower exploration category – due to the evaluation based on the indirect indicators, the lack of quality tests and non-assessed resources amount.

Prepared by: Dariusz Brzeziński, Anna Kalinowska, Wojciech Miśkiewicz, Joanna Stawierej, Wojciech Szczygielski

* Kozłowska O., Smakowski T., Miśkiewicz W., 2020 - "Kruszywo naturalne piaskowo-żwirowe (natural aggregates)". In: "Bilans perspektywicznych zasobów kopalin Polski wg stanu na 31.12.2018 r." (eds. Szamałek K., Szuflicki M., Mizerski W.): 258-275. PIG-PIB, Warszawa [in Polish].