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 three 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 31.12.2021 totaled 20,192.23 million tonnes. The resources increased by 231.62 million tonnes (that is by 1.16%) in relation to the previous year. The growth dynamism increased in comparison with the previous year when it was equal 1.09%.

The natural sandy-gravelly aggregates have been documented within four subtypes: sands, sand with gravel, gravel, loamy and silty sands. The resources of sands with the sand content above 75% amount to 9,655.34 million tonnes (increased by 216.33 million tonnes in comparison with 2020) from which 2,737.34 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 9,515.76 million tonnes (the growth by 20.69 million tonnes). The resources of gravel (with the sand content <30%) amount to 983.53 million tonnes (the drop by -5.86 million tonnes) and the resources of silty, loamy sands amounted to 37.61 million tonnes (the growth by 0.47 million tonnes).

The resources increased due to:

  • The including into “The balance…” 373 newly documented deposits with the total resources equal above 559.7 million tonnes. In 2021, the largest resources amounting to 102.34 million tonnes (45 new deposits) were documented in Podlaskie Voivodeship. The biggest deposits are as follows: Kuków-Folwark XII (17.92 million tonnes), Racewo - Nowowola (16.26 million tonnes), Kamionka Stara III (15.75 million tonnes) and Starowlany I (8.72 million tonnes). The resources of the 13 biggest deposits amount to almost 88 million tonnes (the range 1.2-17.92 million tonnes) that is 86% of the total resources newly documented in the Voivodeship. The remaining resources of 14.3 million tonnes in the volume (the range 0.05-1.0 million tonnes) are within 32 deposits. In the second best Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship, there were documented 87 million tonnes of sand and gravel within 12 deposits with the resources from about 350 thousand tonnes to almost 49 million tonnes. The biggest of these deposits are as follows: Sępolno Wielkie 6 (48.91 million tonnes), Stępień IV (13.85 million tonnes). The resources of nine out of all biggest newly documented deposits with resources between 1.3 million tonnes and 49 million tonnes account for 97% of the total newly documented resources. In the third place, in terms of newly documented resources, there is Mazowieckie Voivodeship: 62.99 million tonnes (59 deposits). The biggest newly documented deposits are: Morawy Wielkie VI (10.98 million tonnes), Zbiroża X (7.47 million tonnes), Grzymały IX (3.79 million tonnes), Ruda Szostkowska (3.06 million tonnes). In the 17 biggest deposits with the resources exceeding 1 million tonnes there is more than 49 million tonnes documented. The smallest resources volume, i.e. 3.11 million tonnes, was documented in Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship (three deposits, among them the Mnin II deposit with resources equal 2.9 million tonnes), and in Łódzkie Voivodeship – 7.59 million tonnes (six deposits). In 2021, there were also 4.85 million tonnes of the anticipated sub-economic resources documented. Most of them in the following deposits: Zabełków 1 (2.94 million tonnes) and Mnin II (0.63 million tonnes). The deposits resources approved in 2021 by the Marshalls Voivodeships amounted to 509 million tonnes, by the county mayors amounted to 45 million tonnes and by the Minister of Climate and Environment – to 4.5 million tonnes.
  • 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 (supplements) were recorded for the following deposits: Sarny-Pole IIa – 1 (14.01 million tonnes), Jankowice 2 (12.14 million tonnes) and Rabusiowice (4.29 million tonnes) – all of them located in Małopolskie Voivodeship; Biała (4.68 million tonnes) located in Dolnośląskie Voivodeship; Stryj II (4.67 million tonnes) located in Lubelskie Voivodeship; Bobrowniki-Drahle (4.31 million tonnes) located in Podlaskie Voivodeship. Moreover, the Motkowice deposit in Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, the Drogoszów II deposit in Opolskie Voivodeship, the Kierzkówka I in Lubelskie Voivodeship, the Jabłonka deposit in Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship, the Dubeczno I deposit in Lubelskie Voivodeship, the Suchodół V deposit in Mazowieckie Voivodeship, the Jaracz MD in Wielkopolskie Voivodeship enlarged their resources from 2 million tonnes to 3 million tonnes each. In 27 deposits the resources were increased by about 1 million tonnes to 14 million tonnes. In 25 deposits the resources correction did not exceed about 100 thousand tonnes, whereas in 50 deposits the carried out resources settlement did not affect their volumes – they were the results of the exploitation end or the concession extinction.
  • 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 – 56.85 million tonnes.

The resources decreased by:

  • The output (185.08 million tonnes).
  • The crossing 213 aggregate deposits out from the domestic resources balance – about 84.7 million tonnes in total. The biggest resources volumes were crossed out from the i.a. deposits: Jerzmanowice (-14.96 million tonnes), Rokitki (-6.11 million tonnes) and Rokitki III (-5.3 million tonnes) located in Dolnośląskie Voivodeship; Gralewo (-5.16 million tonnes) in Lubuskie Voivodeship; Wręcza-Olszówka II (-3.79 million tonnes) in Mazowieckie Voivodeship; Niwka-Dwudniaki (-3.44 million tonnes) in Małopolskie Voivodeship. In 36 deposits crossed out from “The balance..” there were not any resources left or their amounts were minor (several thousand tonnes), in 100 deposits the remaining resources were equal about 20-200 thousand tonnes, in 52 deposits it was within the range of 200-900 thousand tonnes, whereas in 18 deposits above 1 million tonnes.
  • The new documentations with recalculated (decreased) resources (supplements) elaborated for i.a. deposits: Sępólno Wielkie II (-50.18 million tonnes) in Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship, Sarny Pole IIa – 2 (-14.79 million tonnes) in Opolskie Voivodeship, Węgrzce Wielkie (-10.65 million tonnes) in Małopolskie Voivodeship; Bystrzyca Oławska (-5.58 million tonnes) in Dolnośląskie Voivodeship; Górka Lubartowska (-4.39 million tonnes) in Lubelskie Voivodeship; Zabełków (-3.12 million tonnes) in Śląskie Voivodeship. The drops in 14 deposits covered the resources from about 1 to 5.6 million tonnes, whereas in 35 deposits it was the range between 0.1 and 0.9 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 increases were recorded in the following Voivodeships: Podlaskie, Mazowieckie, Pomorskie, Lubelskie. The table below shows changes within anticipated economic resources in particular voivodeships in 2021.

Increases (thousand tonnes)
Decreases (thousand tonnes)
Podlaskie Voivodeship 68,361 Dolnośląskie Voivodeship -12,495
Mazowieckie Voivodeship 45,424 Małopolskie Voivodeship -12,222
Pomorskie Voivodeship 40,585 Lubuskie Voivodeship -9,312
Lubelskie Voivodeship 31,562 Łódzkie Voivodeship -9,219
Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship 23,995 Podkarpackie Voivodeship -5,896
Opolskie Voivodeship 21,461 Śląskie Voivodeship -3,930
Wielkopolskie Voivodeship 20,399 Baltic Sea -1,503
Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship 17,878  
Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship 13,419  
Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship 3,113  
Total increases 286,197 Total decreases -54,577

In the deposits which were included into current “The balance…” there was mainly sand documented in the volume exceeding 353 million tonnes from which, except for the above mentioned deposits, the biggest deposit is the Sępolno Wielkie 6 (48.91 million tonnes) and Stępień IV (13.85 million tonnes) located in Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship, Morawy Wielkie VI (10.98 million tonnes) located in Mazowieckie Voivodeship, Słosinko III (16.18 million tonnes) located in Pomorskie Voivodeship. The resources of sand and gravel are equal 200 million tonnes in i.a. deposits: Kobylice IV (21.53 million tonnes) located in Opolskie Voivodeship, Kuków-Folwar XII (17.92 million tonnes), Racewo – Nowowola (16.26 million tonnes) and Kamionka Stara III (15.75 million tonnes) in Podlaskie Voivodeship. New gravel resources amounted to 4.71 million tonnes and the biggest deposits are: Pomianów-Północ (2.05 million tonnes) in Dolnośląskie Voivodeship and Wara-Niwistka 2 (1.26 million tonnes) in Podkarpackie Voivodeship. The average sand content of the newly documented resources is 78%. 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 0 0 0 0
Dolnośląskie 13.0 22.3 2.0 0
Kujawsko-Pomorskie 24.8 0.4 0 0
Lubelskie 38.6 0 0 0
Lubuskie 4.9 2.7 0 0
Łódzkie 5.2 0.4 0 0
Małopolskie 0 10.8 1.3 0
Mazowieckie 53.9 9.4 0 0
Opolskie 0.6 33.3 0 0
Podkarpackie 5.7 4.4 1.3 0
Podlaskie 25.6 76.7 0 0
Pomorskie 52.2 10.5 0 0
Śląskie 1.9 6.1 0 0
Świętokrzyskie 3.1 0 0 0
Warmińsko-Mazurskie 12.1 20.7 0 0
Wielkopolskie 26.7 2.7 0 0
Zachodniopomorskie 85.8 0 0 0.5

The total area of the deposits included into “The balance…” in 2021 amounted to 2,990 ha, including 2,685 ha of the deposits with the are above 2 ha and 305 ha of the deposits below 2 ha. The biggest deposits are: Sępolno Wielkie 6 (210 ha) and Stępień IV (74 ha) located in Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship, Kobylice IV (144 ha) in Opolskie Voivodeship, Grzybowo – Sycowa Huta I (109 ha) in Pomorskie Voivodeship, and Domanice A (89 ha) in Dolnośląskie Voivodeship. Moreover, among the biggest deposits are: Niedźwiedzkie IV, Pojawie Kruszbet, Morawy Wielkie VI, Topola-Północ, Racewo – Nowowola with the area of 51-56 ha each. On the other hand, the smallest newly documented deposit was the Buków I deposit (0.29 ha) in Śląskie Voivodeship. The total area of the deposits covered by new geological documentations with recalculated resources (supplements) decreased by 280 ha, whereas the total area of the deposits crossed out from “The balance…” in 2021 was equal about 1,162 ha.

The biggest numbers of deposits are nowadays documented in the following Voivodeships: Mazowieckie (1,453), Wielkopolskie (1,292), Lubelskie (989), Łódzkie (859), Warmińsko-Mazurskie (850) and Podkarpackie (840).

The voivodeships with the biggest documented resources are: Dolnośląskie (2,308 million tonnes), Małopolskie (1,785 million tonnes), Podlaskie (1,759 million tonnes), Opolskie (1,455 million tonnes), Mazowieckie (1,386 million tonnes) and Podkarpackie (1,328 million tonnes).

The resources of deposits covered by a detailed exploration (A, B and C1 categories) are equal 12,547.27 million tonnes and account for 62.1% of the total resources. The resources covered by the preliminary exploration (C2 and D categories) account for 37.9% of the total resources and amount to 7,644.96 million tonnes. The resources of exploited deposits, being equal 6,148.06 million tonnes (the growth by 15.47 million tonnes in comparison with 2020), account for 30.5% of the total resources. Non-exploited deposits contain 12,236.65 million tonnes (61%) of resources (the growth by 130.5 million tonnes), whereas the resources of abandoned deposits are equal 1,807.53 million tonnes – the growth by 85.65 million tonnes.

The economic resources amounted in 2021 to 4,324.43 million tonnes and increased in comparison with the previous year by 22.68 million tonnes. The economic resources, established for the exploited deposits, are equal 3,626.48million tonnes accounting for 59% of their documented resources. The distribution of the developed resources (anticipated economic, economic and anticipated economic of exploited deposits) in particular voivodeships as of the end of 2021 was as follows:

Voivodeship/ Region
Developed resources (million tonnes)
Anticipated economic Economic Anticipated economic
of exploited deposits
Baltic Sea 84.66 83.71 46.92
Dolnośląskie 699.22 365.37 630.16
Kujawsko-Pomorskie 174.32 120.38 119.95
Lubelskie 154.33 77.67 134.71
Lubuskie 331.54 166.90 239.87
Łódzkie 348.94 208.69 276.30
Małopolskie 433.10 132.90 328.10
Mazowieckie 423.85 275.68 303.01
Opolskie 280.60 121.33 255.87
Podkarpackie 266.26 118.59 210.12
Podlaskie 874.60 559.98 517.35
Pomorskie 398.91 312.54 337.37
Śląskie 262.81 81.48 208.70
Świętokrzyskie 90.91 40.06 83.78
Warmińsko-Mazurskie 436.31 359.98 291.03
Wielkopolskie 501.92 307.38 360.70
Zachodniopomorskie 385.80 293.84 297.78

In 2021, the output of sand and gravel amounted to 185.08 million tonnes (it is about 4.8 tonnes per capita). In comparison with the previous year the exploitation increased by 4.83 million tonnes, that is by 2.6%, in contrast to 2020 when the drop was equal -2.57 million tonnes. The output growth increased in 10 out of 16 voivodeships. In 2021, the demand for the raw materials increased in such industry areas using sandy-gravelly aggregates as: the infrastructure building sector, housing building sector and industrial building sector. Nowadays, the significant part of the aggregates production absorb the large-scale infrastructure investments which stabilize the aggregates market. In perspective of a dozen or so or several dozen years an increasing contribution of aggregates in the production of ready-mix concrete or the production of concrete products in the housing building is expected.

The output in comparison with 2020
The difference
(thousand tonnes)
The difference
Total 4,833 2.7
Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship 3,279 22.8
Dolnośląskie Voivodeship 2,312 18.1
Wielkopolskie Voivodeship 1,631 16.3
Lubuskie Voivodeship 1,198 20.3
Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship 1,185 19.4
Pomorskie Voivodeship 1,134 6.4
Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship 683 6.1
Opolskie Voivodeship 311 4.1
woj. małopolskie 196 1.6
Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship 159 6.9
Baltic Sea -193 -11.4
Lubelskie Voivodeship -273 -4.5
Podkarpackie Voivodeship -469 -4.7
Mazowieckie Voivodeship -1,367 -8.6
Łódzkie Voivodeship -1,425 -12.7
Śląskie Voivodeship -1,666 -22.0
Podlaskie Voivodeship -1,861 -6.7

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%) – 95.3 million tonnes (that is more than 50% of the total domestic output), then for sand deposits (the sand content >75%) – 84.3 million tonnes and gravel deposits – 5.1 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 1.5 0 0
Dolnośląskie 5.1 8.9 1.1 0
Kujawsko-Pomorskie 6.7 0.6 0 0
Lubelskie 5.5 0.3 0 0
Lubuskie 4.0 3.1 0 0
Łódzkie 8.0 1.8 0 0
Małopolskie 0.4 10.0 1.7 0
Mazowieckie 11.3 3.3 0 0
Opolskie 1.6 5.1 1.3 0
Podkarpackie 4.4 4.2 0.7 0.2
Podlaskie 2.8 23.0 0 0
Pomorskie 10.2 8.7 0 0
Śląskie 1.2 4.4 0.3 0
Świętokrzyskie 2.5 0 0 0
Warmińsko-Mazurskie 2.7 15.0 0 0
Wielkopolskie 11.0 0.7 0 0
Zachodniopomorskie 7.0 4.8 0 0.1

The number of sand and gravel deposit in 2021 amounted to 10,872 including 2,608 of exploited deposits (in this group there are deposits crossed out from “The balance…” and those for which the concessions expired and the deposits were marked as abandoned). In comparison with the previous year (2,643 deposits) the number has decreased. The number of non-exploited deposits increased by 230 (from 8,029 in 2020 to 8,264 in 2021). The structure of the deposits divided according to the output volume in particular voivodeships in 2021 is presented below:

Output (thousand tonnes)
Exploited deposits
Baltic Sea 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
Dolnośląskie Voivodeship 67 8 18 14 8 0 115
Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship 106 16 9 5 2 0 138
Lubelskie Voivodeship 170 21 7 4 0 0 202
Lubuskie Voivodeship 35 3 9 3 5 0 55
Łódzkie Voivodeship 204 21 13 8 2 0 248
Małopolskie Voivodeship 42 12 8 19 5 0 86
Mazowieckie Voivodeship 333 32 21 8 3 0 397
Opolskie Voivodeship 19 8 5 7 5 1 45
Podkarpackie Voivodeship 141 16 19 14 0 0 190
Podlaskie Voivodeship 202 18 18 12 3 8 261
Pomorskie Voivodeship 101 15 26 16 4 2 164
Śląskie Voivodeship 22 8 9 7 2 0 48
Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship 46 1 5 1 1 0 54
Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship 137 18 11 11 6 2 185
Wielkopolskie Voivodeship 294 31 15 10 0 0 350
Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship 34 10 8 11 3 3 69
Razem 1,953 238 201 150 49 17 2,608

The companies producing natural aggregates on Polish market are operating in various types of business activity. They carry on the exploitation in single or couple of plants, in the case of the biggest companies even in dozen or so. They are also associated in producers’ groups. In 2021, almost 1,400 companies (the most numerous in 2021) exploited up to 50 thousand tonnes of the raw material. Their total contribution in the domestic output was 11% (more than 21 million tonnes). The biggest contribution – about 72 million tonnes – that is almost 38% in the total domestic output, had the group of 18 concession holders. Every single one from this group exploited at least 1 million tonnes, whereas the largest companies more than 4-5 million tonnes of the sandy-gravelly aggregates. The distribution in particular output scopes is as follows:

Output (thousand tonnes) 21,280 24,774 31,075 37,948 69,999
Contribution in output (%) 11 13 17 21 38

Natural sand and gravel are also obtained during the exploitation of brown coal deposits. In 2021, the output of the raw material from non-documented deposits during the exploitation in the Bełchatów mine from the Szczerców field amounted to 281.47 thousand tonnes of sand and sand with gravel.

Figure below shows changes in domestic resources and production of sand and gravel in Poland in the years 1989-2021.

The prognostic resources of the natural sandy-gravelly aggregates are assessed to be equal more than 13 billion tonnes*. The 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].