Glass sands and sandstones
Quartz sand is the main raw material in commercial glass production. In that process, raw materials pass through preparation and mixing in the glass batch to be transported to the furnace and melted. The resulting glass contains about 70% to 74% silica by weight (72% in the case of the float glass). Sand for glass production comes from deposits of quartz sands and weakly cemented quartz sandstones with appropriate granulation and negligible content of colouring oxides.
In Poland, deposits of sands and sandstones suitable for glass production occur in 10 Voivodeships: Dolnośląskie (Bolesławiec area), Lubelskie, Lubuskie, Łódzkie (vicinities of Tomaszów Mazowiecki), Mazowieckie, Podkarpackie, Pomorskie, Świętokrzyskie, Wielkopolskie and Zachodniopomorskie. Resources of Biała Góra deposit from the vicinities of Tomaszów Mazowiecki have the largest share in domestic base of glass sand resources. In turn, sands from the vicinities of Bolesławiec best match quality requirements of raw material for glass production.
Miocene glass sand deposits from the area of Tarnobrzeg and sands occurring in the Lubelskie, Lubuskie (vicinities of Żary), Mazowieckie, Podkarpackie, Pomorskie, Wielkopolskie and Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeships are less important for the raw material base. The deposits mainly comprise raw material of the Miocene or Quaternary age which is suitable for production of a low-quality glass only (class 3-6).
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 decreased by 30.58 million tonnes in comparison with the previous year, mainly due to the new documentation with recalculated resources approved for Unewel-Zachód-Nowy deposit. There was a new deposit – Unewel-Zachód-Las allocated from Unewel-Zachód-Nowy deposit. The drop within resources was also caused by the exploitation and losses. The resources increased in Osiecznica deposit (by 5.7 million tonnes) due to the new documentation approved.
Anticipated economic resources of exploited deposits are equal 142.31 million tonnes, accounting for 23% of total anticipated economic resources.
In 2015, glass sand production increased for the first time for 3-year drop and was equal 2,669.14 thousand tonnes (Table 2). The output rose in four out of five exploited deposits, the most significant growth was recorded in Biała Góra II – Wschód deposit. The exploitation remains suspended from Biała Góra I – Wschód and Wyszków-Skuszew deposits. The exploitation concessions for Biała Góra III – Wesoła and Unewel-Wschód deposits extinguished in 2015, therefore the economic resources decreased by 50% in comparison with 2014.
Prepared by: Agnieszka Malon