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 2020 to 660.91 million tonnes and increased (despite the exploitation) by 16.56 million tonnes in comparison with the previous year. The growth resulted from the approval of the new documentation with recalculated resources for Biała Góra I – Wschód deposit (Łódzkie Voivodeship) (+18.23 million tonnes – the growth by 99%). In the documentation the deposit range was enlarged. Moreover, there was 1 new deposit documented – Niedźwiada II located in Lubelskie Voivodeship (+1.11 million tonnes).
The anticipated economic resources of exploited deposits are equal 176.67 million tonnes, accounting for about 27% of the total anticipated economic resources. Wyszków-Skuszew deposit in Mazowieckie Voivodeship was recognized as abandoned as the exploitation has not been carried out for 10 years but the exploitation concession is still valid. The economic resources of glass sands and sandstones increased, in spite of the ongoing exploitation, by 21.37 million tonnes mainly due to the new exploitation concession issued for Wygnanów II deposit (Łódzkie Voivodeship) (+23.00 million tonnes). Moreover, the economic resources of Leszkowice 1 deposit (Lubelskie Voivodeship) were corrected.
The glass sands output from 7 exploited in 2020 deposits amounted to 2,956.13 thousand tonnes and decreased in comparison with the previous year by 4.10 thousand tonnes. It was the 1st year with the output drop after 3 consecutive years with growth. The output increased from 4 out of 7 exploited deposits: Biała Góra II - Wschód (+247.78 thousand tonnes), Osiecznica II (+29.74 thousand tonnes), Biała Góra I - Wschód (+15.63 thousand tonnes) and Unewel Zachód-Las (+5.60 thousand tonnes). The output dropped from 3 remaining exploited deposits: Unewel-Zachód-Nowy (-197.33 thousand tonnes), Piaskownica-Zajączków E (-100.55 thousand tonnes) and Mirosław AG (-4.97 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 1989-2020.
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].