Glass sands and sandstones
General information and occurrence
The quartz sand is the main raw material to the commercial glass production. The so-called “glass mass” is obtained by melting the raw materials mixture (the set) in a glass furnace. The resulting glass sand accounts for several dozen percent of the raw material in “glass mass” (i.e. 72% in the case of the float glass). The sand for the glass production comes from deposits of quartz sands and weakly cemented quartz sandstones with an appropriate granulation and a negligible content of coloring oxides.
In Poland, sands and sandstones suitable for the glass sands production occur in 10 Voivodeships: Dolnośląskie (vicinities of Bolesławiec), Lubelskie, Lubuskie, Łódzkie (vicinities of Tomaszów Mazowiecki), Mazowieckie, Podkarpackie, Pomorskie, Świętokrzyskie, Wielkopolskie and Zachodniopomorskie. The resources of the Biała Góra series deposits from the vicinities of Tomaszów Mazowiecki have the largest share in a domestic base of the glass sands resources. In turn, the sands from the vicinities of Bolesławiec best match quality requirements of the raw material for the glass production.
The Miocene glass sands deposits from the area of Tarnobrzeg and the sands occurring in the Lubelskie, Lubuskie (vicinities of Żary), Mazowieckie, Podkarpackie, Pomorskie, Wielkopolskie and Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeships are of the less importance for the raw material base. These deposits mainly comprise sands of the Miocene or Quaternary age.
The clastic rock raw materials occurrence in Poland (including glass sands and sandstones) is presented on the map.
Resources and output
Table 1 given below shows resources and the current state of exploration and development of domestic sand glass deposits.
The anticipated economic resources of the glass raw materials amounted in 2021 to 658.09 million tonnes and decreased by 2.82 million tonnes in comparison with the previous year. The drop resulted mainly from the output (-2.92 million tonnes), slightly compensated by the approval of a new documentation with recalculated resources (the supplement no. 1) for the Mirosław AG deposit, located in Wielkopolskie Voivodeship (+0.23 million tonnes).
The anticipated economic resources of exploited deposits are equal 176.99 million tonnes, accounting for about 27% of the total anticipated economic resources. The anticipated economic resources of the glass sands raw materials increased, in spite of the ongoing exploitation, by 6.35 million tonnes mainly as the result of new deposit development plans elaborated for the following deposits: Osiecznica II (Dolnośląskie Voivodeship) (+5.08 million tonnes) and Unewel-Zachód-Nowy (Łódzkie Voivodeship) (+3.40 million tonnes), and as the result of the new exploitation concession issued for the Niedźwiada II deposit (Lubelskie Voivodeship) (+1.03 million tonnes).
The glass sands output from eight exploited in 2021 deposits amounted to 2,919.45 thousand tonnes and slightly decreased in comparison with the previous year by 36.68 thousand tonnes, in spite of the beginning of the Leszkowice 1 deposit exploitation (Lubelskie Voivodeship). The exploitation level dropped mainly due to much lower output volume coming from the Biała Góra II – Wschód deposit (Łódzkie Voivodeship; -401.73 thousand tonnes). In the remaining, exploited, deposits the output remained at the similar level as in the previous year or was slightly bigger. It was the 2nd consecutive year of the exploitation decrease. Still, despite the valid exploitation concession, the Wyszków-Skuszew deposit (Mazowieckie Voivodeship) is abandoned (lack of output for more than the last 10 years).
The figure given below shows changes in domestic resources and production of glass sands and sandstones in Poland in the years 1989-2021.
The prognostic resources of the glass sands and sandstones are assessed to be equal 210.7 million tonnes – within the Tomaszów Basin area*.
Prepared by: Agnieszka Malon
* Galos K., 2020 - "Piaski szklarskie (glass sand), piaskowce szklarskie (glass sandstone), piaski kwarcowe dla przemysłu szklarskiego (quartz sand for glass industry), piaski podsadzkowe (filling sand)". In: "Bilans perspektywicznych zasobów kopalin Polski wg stanu na 31.12.2018 r." (eds. Szamałek K., Szuflicki M., Mizerski W.): 317-320. PIG-PIB, Warszawa [in Polish].