The article characterizes geological formations occurring in the Polish lignite deposits having the characteristics of raw materials, i.e. accompanying minerals, giving their location, quality characteristics, estimated resources and potential applications. Attention has also been paid to the economic suitability, e.g. in infrastructure works and for the reclamation of many geological formations found in the overburden, classified as so-called earth or rock mass. There are also raw materials of sorption properties representing a huge potential source of minerals valuable for the economy and environmental protection. This refers to e.g.: beidellite clays from Bełchatów, Poznań clays from the region of Konin and Adamów, lacustrine chalk from Bełchatów, as well as Mesozoic limestone from the lignite bedding in Bełchatów. The reasons for the unsatisfactory use of accompanying minerals have been given. The authors described the methods used in the mining operation and processing of associated minerals, also applicable in Poland, as the legal basis for the extraction of these minerals and the economic and financial conditions. They stressed the need to protect mined not associated minerals used by the construction of anthropogenic deposits. This activity primarily requires regulating the legal status of these deposits and the development and application of an economic and financial system that stimulates the economy of these minerals. In summary, the necessary actions were taken to increase the use of the accompanying minerals and their contribution to the balance of mineral resources in the country.
The article discusses the problem of the supply of a by-product, which is synthetic gypsum produced as a result of flue gas desulphurization in conventional power plants. The state of production and forecast for the future are presented. Currently, synthetic gypsum is almost entirely used as a raw material in the gypsum products plant located in the immediate vicinity of the power plant. Since the mid-1990s, in Poland, an increase in the production of synthetic gypsum associated with the construction of a flue gas desulphurization installation in Polish conventional power plants has been observed. In the near future, the upward trend will continue in connection with the construction of new coal units in power plants. Significant surpluses of this raw material will appear on the market, which will not be used on an ongoing basis in the production of gypsum components. However, due to the EU’s restrictive policy towards energy based on coal and lignite, within the next few decades, the share of conventional power plants in energy production will be gradually reduced. As a consequence, the supply of synthetic gypsum will also gradually decrease. Therefore, it is advisable to properly store the surplus of this raw material so that it can be used in the future. Taking this into account, it is already necessary to prepare methods for storing the expected surpluses of synthetic gypsum. For this purpose, post-mining open pits are particularly suitable, especially in mines of rock raw materials. The article proposes a legal path enabling the post-mining open pits to be transformed into a anthropogenic gypsum deposit.
There are approx. 250 coal waste dumping grounds in Poland, yet there are countries in which this number is even higher. One of the largest sites for depositing mining and power plant waste in the Upper Silesian Coal Basin is the Przezchlebie dumping ground. In the article, it is considered as a secondary deposit of raw materials. An assessment of mining waste collected on the Przezchlebie dumping ground was carried out in terms of its impact on the environment and the possibility of its use. Mining waste samples were tested to determine their chemical composition. Physicochemical properties and chemical compositions of water extracts obtained from the investigated waste and groundwater in the vicinity of the dumping ground were analyzed. Due to the fire hazard resulting from the natural oxidation process of chiefly carbonaceous matter and pyrite, the thermal condition of the dumping ground was assessed. The results of the obtained tests confirmed the slight impact of mining waste deposited on the Przezchlebie dumping ground on the environment. The chemical composition, low radioactive activity of waste itself and the results of water extract tests referred to the permissible values according to the Polish Journal of Laws allow for multi-directional waste management. Due to the significant carbon content, the risk of self-ignition poses a significant threat on the dumping ground. Re-mining of the dumping ground and the recovery of raw materials, including coal contained in waste, will eliminate the risk of fire, allowing for a wider use of waste and, at the same time, will allow for other benefits, e.g. in the form of financial resources and the possibility of managing the dumping ground area.