General information and occurrence
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 the separate sections.
Limestones with the CaCO3 content exceeding 90% are the raw material used in the lime industry. Some 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 lime powder, including sorbents for a flue gas desulphurization. When used as a so-called “high raw material” (incomplete) in 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 percentage contents ratio are quite important.
The cement-lime raw materials occur quite commonly in various geological formations, mainly in southern and central Poland. Almost 60% of documented resources are of the Jurassic 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 four regions: świętokrzyski, krakowsko-częstochowsko-wieluński, lubelski and opolski. In northern Poland the Jurassic limestones have been documented within the Barcin-Piechcin area near Inowrocław (the Kujawy area). Taking into account the lithology aspect, limestones and marls deposits dominate (about 41% of the documented resources), limestones deposits are also important (about 38% of documented resources), marls and chalk deposits are of the less importance (about 18% documented resources). Opokas deposits are subordinate.
Resources and output
The documented anticipated economic resources of the discussed raw material group amounted as of the end of 2021 to 18,171.41 million tonnes including 12,658.82 million tonnes (69.7% of total anticipated economic resources) within 70 deposits documented for the cement industry and 5,512.59 million tonnes (30.3% of resources) within 125 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 29.73 million tonnes. The negative balance resulted from decreases – due to:
- the exploitation carried out in 17 mines (27.95 million tonnes),
- the current verification or adjustment of resources and the more detailed deposits exploration (the total drop by 2.45 million tonnes);
and increases coming from the better exploration of deposits, the resources reclassification and recalculation, the resources adjustment for the previous year, (the total growth by 0.67 million tonnes).
In 2021, the anticipated economic resources of limestones for the lime industry decreased by 19.70 million tonnes and the main factors affecting the resources changes were:
- the output from 23 active mining plants – the total drop by 20.05 million tonnes,
- the more detailed deposits exploration, the resources reclassification, the settlement of the exploitation losses and the resources corrections for the previous year – the total drop by 1.65 million tonnes,
- including into “The balance…” the resources of the Szczyty II deposit (1.80 million tonnes) in which among the sand and gravel there was also the accompanying raw material documented – the Oxfordian limestones for the fertilizer lime production,
- the more detailed deposits exploration, the resources correction and the exploitation beyond documentation boundaries – the total growth by 0.20 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 34.0% of the total resources documented for the cement industry and 39.6% of the total resources for the lime industry. The economic resources of limestones and marls for the cement industry decreased by 29.83 million tonnes (1.5%) in comparison with 2020 and amounted to 1,897.65 million tonnes. The economic resources of limestones for the lime industry decreased by 12.31 million tonnes (1.0%) in comparison with 2020 and amounted to 1,176.38 million tonnes. The economic resources, established for exploited deposits of the raw material for the cement industry, are equal 1,852.46 million tonnes accounting for 43.1% of their geological resources (4,301.33 million tonnes). Regarding the raw material for the lime industry – the economic resources within exploited deposits are equal 1,172.07 million tonnes accounting for 53.7% of the geological resources (2,180.96 million tonnes).
In 2021, the total output of the given raw materials was equal 48.00 million tonnes – that is by 0.52 million tonnes more than in the previous year (the growth by 1.1%). The output of the raw material for the cement industry amounted to 27.95 million tonnes and decreased by 0.36 million tonnes (1.3%) in comparison with the previous year. The output of the raw material for the lime industry increased by 0.88 million tonnes (that is by 4.6%) and amounted to 20.05 million tonnes. The rock mining of discussed raw materials has been for many years concentrated in the area of three Voivodeships: Świętokrzyskie which accounts for 45.0% (21.58 million tonnes) of the domestic output of limestones and marls for the cement and lime industries; Opolskie with the share of 19.8% (9.52 million tonnes) and Kujawsko-Pomorskie (15.2% - 7.29 million tonnes). In 2021, there was further mining activity intensifying growth recorded on the area of Łódzkie Voivodeship – the output reached the level of 4.22 million tonnes (8.8% of the domestic output of both raw materials). The significant increase was also noted on the area of Małopolskie Voivodeship – in 2021 there was only the raw material for the lime industry exploited – where the output at the level of 2.06 million tonnes accounted for 4.3% of the domestic volume of both raw material types.
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 1989-2021.
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, Stobiec, 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.
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 five 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.
* 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 [in Polish].