Glass sands and sandstones
Quartz sand is the main raw material in a 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 raw material in “glass mass” (i.e. 72% in the case of the float glass). 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. Resources of the Biała Góra series deposits from the vicinities of Tomaszów Mazowiecki have the largest share in a domestic base of glass sands resources. In turn, sands from the vicinities of Bolesławiec best match quality requirements of the raw material for the glass production.
Miocene glass sands deposits from the area of Tarnobrzeg and 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.
Table 1 given below shows resources and the current state of exploration and development of domestic sand glass deposits.
Anticipated economic resources of glass raw materials amounted in 2018 to 647.26 million tonnes and decreased by 2.68 million tonnes in comparison with the previous year due to the exploitation and losses. The anticipated sub-economic resources increased (by 3.8%) in the result of a new documentation with recalculated resources approved for Unewel-Zachód Nowy deposit. The documentation enlarges the deposit area by new fields – III and IV.
Anticipated economic resources of exploited deposits are equal 165.19 million tonnes, accounting for about 26% of total anticipated economic resources. The economic resources of exploited deposits dropped due to the exploitation and losses, however there were economic resources documented for the detailed explored Leszkowice 1 deposit. The documentation of these resources was the result of issuing in 2018 the exploitation concession for the deposit.
The glass sands output in 2018 amounted to 2,799.45 thousand tonnes and increased in comparison with the previous year by 346.58 thousand tonnes. The output grew in 2 out of 7 exploited deposits: Biała Góra II – Wschód (by 201.06 thousand tonnes – 55%) and Unewel Zachód-Las (by 197.30 thousand tonnes – almost fivefold growth). The exploitation from Biała Góra I – Wschód was resumed. For two exploited deposits (Osiecznica II and Piaskownica-Zajączków E) the output was maintained at the level of the previous year, whereas the output drops were recorded the following deposits: Unewel-Zachód-Nowy (by 73.00 thousand tonnes – 12%) and Mirosław AG (by 7.58 thousand tonnes – 36%). Still, despite the valid concession, the exploitation from Wyszków-Skuszew deposit has not been restarted.
The figure given below shows changes in domestic resources and production of glass sands and sandstones in Poland in the years 1989-2018.
Prepared by: Agnieszka Malon