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Mineral resources of Poland> Rock raw materials and others> Limestones and marls for cement and lime industries
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Limestones and marls for cement and lime industries

This section deals with deposits of limestones and marls exploited for the use in the lime or cement industries. The compact varieties of limestones used as dimension and crushed stones, and also a lacustrine limestone (lacustrine chalk) and a proper (“writing”) chalk used in industries other than the cement and lime ones, are discussed in a separate section.

The limestones with the CaCO3 content exceeding 90% are the raw material used in the lime industry. The types of limestones meeting additional (mainly chemical) criteria are used in the chemical industry, the metallurgical industry (as a metallurgical flux), the sugar industry, for the production of a lime powder, including sorbents for a flue gas desulphurization. When used as a so-called “high raw material” (incomplete) in a manufacture of a cement clinker, they should be supplemented with an addition of clay raw materials. The marly limestones and marls are useful only in the cement industry. In this case, the CaCO3 content can be much lower (below 80%) but other chemical ingredients contents and their percentages ratio are quite important.

The prospective resources of the raw materials for the cement and lime industries (limestones and marls) amount to about 120,381.03 million tonnes, whereas the majority of resources is located in Opolskie Voivodeship (about 49.8% of the resources – the Triassic and the Cretaceous limestones and marls) and Małopolskie resources (about 29.9% of the resources – the Triassic, the Jurassic and the Cretaceous limestones and marls)*. The estimated prognostic resources of the industry limestones and marls amount to about 6,429.22 million tonnes and their distribution is concentrated in Lubelskie Voivodeship (about 68.3% of the resources – the Jurassic and the Cretaceous opokas, limestones and marls) and Opolskie Voivodeship (about 19.3% of the resources – the Jurassic and the Cretaceous limestones and “writing” chalk). The prospective and prognostic resources are concentrated mainly within 5 deposit regions: opolski, śląski, krakowsko-częstochowski, tomaszowski and świętokrzyski – these regions fit in with the current centers of the cement and lime production and the production of the industry limy stone.

The cement and lime raw materials occur quite commonly in various geological formations, mainly in southern and central Poland. Almost 60% of documented resources are of the Jurrasic age. Quite important are also the Devonian, Triassic and Cretaceous limestones, whereas the Precambrian, Cambrian, Carboniferous and Neogene are of a minor importance. The majority of resources is located within 4 regions: świętokrzyski, krakowsko-częstochowsko-wieluński, lubelski and opolski. In northern Poland Jurassic limestones have been documented within the Barcin-Piechcin area near Inowrocław (Kujawy area).

The documented anticipated economic resources of the discussed raw material group amounted as of the end of 2019 to 18,130.21 million tonnes including 12,694.79 million tonnes (70.0% of total anticipated economic resources) within 69 deposits documented for the cement industry and 5,435.42 million tonnes (30.0% of resources) within 120 deposits for the lime industry.

In comparison with the previous year, the anticipated economic resources of limestones and marls documented for the cement industry decreased by 29.13 million tonnes and the number of deposits have not changed since 2018. The negative balance was the result of:

    Increases – due to:

  • the better exploration of deposits and the resources reclassification (the total growth by 0.43 million tonnes).
  • Decreases – due to:

  • the exploitation carried out in 19 mines (28.19 million tonnes);
  • the current verification or adjustment of resources, the better deposits exploration and the losses settlement (the total drop by 1.38 million tonnes).

In 2019 the anticipated economic resources of limestones for the lime industry decreased by 13.96 million tonnes and the number of deposits have not changed since 2018. The main factors affecting the resources changes were:

  • the output from 23 active mining plants – the drop by 19.27 million tonnes;
  • the better deposits exploration, the borders correction, the resources reclassification, the exceeding of the current documentation borders by the exploitation and the resources adjustment for the previous year – the total growth by 5.74 million tonnes;
  • the resources reclassification – the total drop by 0.25 million tonnes;
  • the settlement of the exploitation losses – the total drop by 0.17 million tonnes.

Limestones and marls for the cement industry deposits are presented on the map.

The anticipated economic resources of exploited deposits (deposits of operating mines and deposits exploited temporarily) account for 34.2% of the total resources documented for the cement industry and 38.3% of the total resources for the lime industry.

The economic resources of limestones and marls for the cement industry increased by 7.59 million tonnes (0.4%) in comparison with 2018 and amounted to 2,020.59 million tonnes. The economic resources of limestones for the lime industry decreased by 17.14 million tonnes (1.4%) in comparison with 2018 and amounted to 1,199.89 million tonnes.

The rock mining of discussed raw materials is concentrated in the area of 3 Voivodeships: - Świętokrzyskie which accounts for 46.8% of the domestic output of limestones and marls for the cement and lime industries, Opolskie with the share of 20.7% and Kujawsko-Pomorskie (15.6%). The exploitation of both raw materials amounted in 2019 to 47.45 million tonnes and increased by 0.46 million tonnes in comparison with the previous year. It was mainly the result of the output growth of limestones for the lime industry by 0.49 million tonnes, whereas the production of raw material for the cement industry dropped by 0.03 million tonnes in the relation to the previous year. The most significant growth of limestones and marls for the cement industry output was recorded on the area of the following Voivodeships: Opolskie (the growth by 0.25 milion tonnes), Świętokrzyskie (the growth by 0.15 million tonnes) and Małopolskie (the growth by 0.09 million tonnes). For the remaining Voivodeships (Łódzkie and Mazowieckie) the output growth was minor, whereas for Dolnośląskie and Lubelskie Voivodeships there were the output drops. In the case of limestones and marls for the cement industry, the exploitation grew within the area of the following Voivodeships: Łódzkie (the growth by 0.46 million tonnes), Świętokrzyskie (the growth by 0.28 million tonnes) and Dolnośląskie (the growth by 0.05 million tonnes) – the remaining Voivodeships i.e. Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Lubelskie, Opolskie and Śląskie were characterized by the output decreases (by 0.82 million tonnes in total).

Table 1 shows resources and the current state of the exploration and development of limestone and marls deposits explored for the needs of the cement industry and Table 2 for the lime industry.

The figure given below shows changes in resources and production of limestones and marls for the cement and lime industries in Poland in the years 1989-2019.

The state of the resources exploration together with the state of development and the output volume from the particular limestones and marls for the cement industry deposits are presented in Table 3, whereas for the lime industry in Table 4.

In a couple of deposits: Bratkowszczyzna, Bukowa, Gliniany-Stróża, Górażdże, Kodrąb-Dmenin, Krasocin, Strzelce Opolskie I and Tarnów Opolski-Wschód both types of the raw material occur – limestones and marls for cement industry and limestones for lime industry.


Prepared by: Dariusz Brzeziński

* Brzeziński D., 2020 - Wapienie i margle przemysłowe - wapienie i margle dla przemysłu cementowego i wapienniczego (limestones and marls for cement and lime industry). In: Bilans perspektywicznych zasobów kopalin Polski wg stanu na 31.12.2018 r. (eds. Szamałek K., Szuflicki M., Mizerski W.): 276-281. PIG-PIB, Warszawa.