Glass sands and sandstones
General information and occurrence
The 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 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 2019 to 644.35 million tonnes and decreased by 2.91 million tonnes in comparison with the previous year due to the exploitation and losses. In 2019, there were not any new geological documentations of the glass raw materials or supplements to such documentations approved.
The anticipated economic resources of exploited deposits are equal 162.28 million tonnes, accounting for about 25% of the total anticipated economic resources. The economic resources of exploited deposits dropped due to the exploitation and losses by 2.77 million tonnes.
The glass sands output from 7 exploited in 2019 deposits amounted to 2,960.23 thousand tonnes and increased in comparison with the previous year by 160.78 thousand tonnes. It was the 3rd consecutive year with the output growth and the volume was the biggest considering the 1989-2019 period. The output increased from 5 out of 7 exploited deposits: Biała Góra I - Wschód (+4.66 thousand tonnes), Osiecznica II (+29.03 thousand tonnes), Piaskownica-Zajączków E (+42.41 thousand tonnes), Unewel Zachód-Las (+80.10 thousand tonnes) and Unewel-Zachód Nowy (+39.08 thousand tonnes). The outpur dropped from 2 remaining exploited deposits: Biała Góra II – Wschód (-31.82 thousand tonnes) and Mirosław AG (-2.68 thousand tonnes). 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 1989-2019.
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.