As of the spring of 2017, the HAŁDY Database is available on the Polish Geological Institute – NRI website. The geodatabase contains information and data on waste mineral raw materials collected on old heaps, industrial waste stock-piles and in post-mining settlers, from the Polish part of the Sudety Mountains. The article presents the types of data and information contained in the geodatabase and the methodology for their collection. As a result of four-year research works, field reconnaissance, archives and geological basic research, 445 objects of former mining and mineral processing were inventoried. There are 403 mine heaps, 16 industrial settlers, 23 stock-piles and 3 external dumps. These are mainly objects after coal mining and metal ores, including post-uranium. The greatest opportunities for the economic use of waste are associated with coal sludge accumulated in settlers of the liquidated Lower Silesian Coal Basin. The material from stone heaps after polymetallic, iron and fluorite ore mining is also easy to use. The issue of the economic use of post-flotation copper ore waste or the recovery of metals (including gold) from dumps of arsenic mining remains open. The limitation here is the efficiency of metal recovery technologies and environmental restrictions. Some of the objects are located in protected areas, which excludes the possibility of waste management. Some stock-piles and heaps should be carefully reclaimed and covered by environmental monitoring, due to their harmful impact on environmental components.
The paper presents brown coal as one of the two basic domestic energy raw materials apart from hard coal. Historically, the use of brown coal in Poland is primarily fuel for the power plants. It was used for the production of lignite briquettes in small quantities and as fuel for local boiler houses and as an addition to the production of fertilizers (Konin and Sieniawa). At present, after changes in the case of the quality of fuels used in local boiler plants, brown coal remains as a fuel for the power plants in almost 100%. Currently, the brown coal industry produces about 35% of the cheapest electricity. The cost of electricity production is more than 30% lower than the second basic fuel – hard coal. The existing fuel and energy complexes using brown coal, with the Bełchatów complex at the forefront, are now an important guarantor of Poland’s energy security. In contrast to the other fuels such as: oil, natural gas or hard coal, the cost of electricity production from brown coal is predictable in the long term and almost insensitive to fluctuations in global commodity and currency markets. Its exploitation is carried out using the high technological solutions and respecting all environmental protection requirements, both in the area of coal extraction and electricity generation. Importantly, the fuel and energy complexes using brown coal showed a positive profitability so far and generated surpluses enabling the financing of maintenance and development investments, also in other energy segments. In particular, the sector did not require and has yet not benefited from public aid in the form of, for example, subsidies or tax concessions. Polish brown coal mining has all the attributes necessary for long-term development to ensure the country’s energy security. The document which is a road map for the brown coal industry is the Program for the Brown Coal Mining Sector in Poland adopted by the Council of Ministers on May 30, 2018. The Program covers the years 2018–2030 with a perspective up to 2050 and presents the development directions of the brown coal mining sector in Poland together with the objectives and actions necessary to achieve them. The Program presents a strategy for the development of brown coal mining in Poland in the first half of the 21st century. Possible scenarios have developed in active mining and energy basins as well as in new regions with significant resources of this mineral. This is to enable the most efficient use of deposits in the Złoczew and Konin regions as well as the Gubin and Legnica brown coal basins, and then deposits located in the Rawicz region (Oczkowice) as well as other prospective areas that may eventually replace the existing active mining and energy areas. This will allow power plants to continue to produce inexpensive and clean electricity, using the latest global solutions in the field of clean coal technologies.
The first Mineral Policy in Poland was prepared in 1938. In that time The Mineral Policy was primarily dedicated to preparing Poland for a defensive war. The Central Geology Authority (CGA) was created in 1991. The main task of this Authority was preparation plans (annual and multiannual) of geological-exploration. The CGA’s activities were focused on enhancing the resource base of mineral deposits. As of 1985 the coordination of geological tasks is the main duty of the Chief Geologist of the country. In 1996 the Council of Ministers adopted a document called State policy in the field of mineral resources, prepared at the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry as well as the Ministry of Industry and Trade. In 2015 a wide public discussion about the need to develop a mineral raw materials policy, initiated by the publication of three analytical documents prepared by the Demos Foundation, Professor J. Hausner and the Ministry of the Environment took place. Milestones in the development of a national mineral raw materials policy was the establishment of the special government’s plenipotentiary as well as the inter-ministerial team for mineral raw materials policy. In 2018, The Mineral Raw Materials Policy was transferred for public consultation. This document is the first document that is so comprehensive and holistic from the point of view of national mineral security interests. The Mineral Raw Materials Policy is based on 9 substantial pillars among them: economical and legal basis of mineral sector activities, investment risk, geological prospection and exploration, utilization of mineral wastes.
The Legnica deposit is one of the most prospective in the context of future lignite mining. Its extraction will be inseparable from the removal of the rocks of the overburden, the volume of which is very large. Due to the raw material properties, some of the rocks can be classified as accompanying minerals. The raw material identification of overburden sediments in the Legnica lignite deposit is insufficient. So far, they haven’t been the subject of detailed and comprehensive research to prove their usefulness. The article was a summary of the knowledge on this subject. The following should be included in the accompanying minerals: Quaternary sands and gravels, tertiary sands and clays (Poznan clays). They are present in two colour variants in the Legnica deposit - and fiery. The mineral composition of greenish-blue clays allows them to be included in illite-kaolinite- smectite varieties, in turn fiery clays as kaolinite-illite-smectite varieties. The tertiary clays are a very useful raw material for the production of building materials. In addition, they are potential mineral sorbents due to the nature of the association of clay minerals (occurrence of montmorillonite). They also show suitability for building waterproofing barriers. Quaternary gravels and sands, developed in the overburden Legnica deposit are differentiated raw materials. Some of them are raw materials for the construction industry. The glacial tills can be used as a component of ceramic mixtures. Tertiary sands can be used as a proppant material. The information on the raw material properties of these sediments will be one of the essential criteria for their treatment as accompanying minerals. Minerals accompanying those developed in the Legnica deposit should be exploited and deposited selectively. The creation of anthropogenic deposits accumulating these minerals will provide the possibility of their use for decades after the termination of operation.
The authors established the chemical and phase compositions of grain fractions of the magnesia carbon scrap disintegrated using industrial cone crushers. The investigations included chemical and XRD analyses and optical investigations. The contents of admixtures: SiO2, CaO, Fe2O3 and Al2O3 increase with the decreasing size of the scrap grain fractions, whereas the C/S ratio decreases in finer and finer fractions due to changes of the phase composition. These relations are caused by the presence of low-fusible silicate phases, characterized by their cleavage and brittleness. Such phases were mainly derived from the graphite ash containing a high silica content. The scrap after removing its finest grain fractions can be recycled and utilized for producing the magnesia-carbon refractory materials. However, the finest grain fractions may be used, e.g. as a component of gunite mixes. Many years of experience collected by the ArcelorMittal Refractories Ltd., Krakow, Poland in the field of refractory scrap utilization has also been presented.
Polish brines are highly mineralized and can potentially be used for recovery of selected useful elements such as magnesium and potassium. They also contain a number of other elements, including iodine, bromine, boron, and strontium. The results of the examination of the chemical composition of groundwater from the Mesozoic formations (bromine, iodine, lithium, magnesium, and strontium content) of northern and central Poland were analyzed. The basic statistical parameters of the content of these elements (Br, I, Mg) in brines of the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous deposits and the content of lithium and strontium in waters of the entire Mesozoic formations were determined. In order to indicate aquifers that are the most suitable for the recovery of bromine, iodine, lithium, magnesium, and strontium, the relationship between concentrations and the depth of retention and dependencies between selected chemical components of these waters were analyzed. It has been found that the mineralization and concentrations of magnesium, bromine, and iodine increase with the age of aquifers, where these waters occur. Triassic waters are the most prospective for bromine and magnesium recovery among all analyzed aquifers. Furthermore, a relationship between the content of bromine, strontium, and magnesium has also been observed. The increase in the content of individual elements observed for lithium, strontium, and bromine with the increasing depth indicates a potential abundance of waters occurring at significant depths. The presented analysis is an approximation of the content of bromine, iodine, lithium, magnesium, and strontium; however, it may be the basis for further studies on the perspectives of using brines from the Mesozoic deposits of central and northern Poland as a source of chemical raw materials.
In view of the world’s recent changes in the mineral market, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure the sustainable and secure supply of raw materials, both within the European Union and in other high-developed countries. In response to this global challenge, as part of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Program for Research & Innovation, the 36-month INTRAW project was launched in February 2015 to foster international cooperation on raw materials. The EU-funded INTRAW project was set up to map and develop new cooperation opportunities related to raw materials between the EU and other technologically advanced countries, such as: Australia, Canada, Japan, South Africa and the United States. The first stage of the project was a review of conditions for the stable supply of raw materials from primary and secondary sources in selected countries: the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Japan. The results of the work are two groups of comprehensive reports. The first of these is a broad contextual analysis of geological, environmental, political, technical -economic and social factors conducive to the effective management of mineral resources. The second group is operational reports, carried out in three thematic blocks: industry and trade, research and innovation, education. The analysis clearly shows that the basis for effective action in this area is a stable political, economic and institutional environment, which is friendly to mining and new entities wishing to invest in modern technologies, the exploration and exploitation of deposits. Investors are encouraged by tax regulations, sometimes also by direct government financial support and efficient licensing procedures. The well-defined protection of property rights, also for deposits is equally important. Selected aspects of a wide analysis of determinants of competitiveness for these countries were presented in the article below.
The problem of deposit protection and the process of liquidation of mining plants does not find effective solutions in the national law. Nevertheless, this is a very up-to-date issue. This situation prompted the authors of the article to once again analyze these issues. The number of abandoned exploitation sites which were published in the Polish Geological Institute reports should affect the entire licensing system and the state’s raw material policy. As a good host of raw materials, which we have been given by Earth Mother, we cannot allow that the mining licensing system, the liquidation procedures of mining plants without due diligence, result in the lack of protection of these deposits. The rational raw material economy and the ability to exploit it for the future generations, while failing to effectively enforce the site liquidation process makes it necessary to take actions leading to not blocking the mineral deposits in this way. The analysis shows what appropriate actions should be taken. The authors have thoroughly investigated the legal regulations over the past century, compiling them with the current legislation, and pointing out the weaknesses of the system in the field of deposits protection, particularly in the part of the unexploited deposits. Criticism covered both the statutory regulations – Geological and mining law as well as executive acts in the field of deposit protection. A separate analysis was subjected to the procedure of liquidation of the mining plants in the aspect of deposits protection, for mining plants operating on the basis of the Province Marshal’s licenses. The process presented in the flowchart layout clearly shows the weak points of the currently operating system.
The Tertiary lignite formations in the Bełchatów deposit, along with coal, are built of plastic, weakly compact and loose rocks. Their physical and mechanical parameters, don’t pose operational problems. However, varieties of a different lithological character and physical-mechanical properties rocks, causing difficulties when mining the overburden rocks, appear within them. These include: Mesozoic limestones, Tertiary sandstones and conglomerates, as well as Quaternary iron feldspar rocks. The article features a lithological characterization as well as values of basic physico-mechanical parameters. They form the basis of the geological engineering classification and decide about their difficult workability. The possibilities of their raw material utilization were also discussed.
An attempt to summarize the primary iron raw materials and steel market’s hundred years history as well as influence of economic indicators on the iron ore deposit qualification for extraction has been undertaken in the paper. Steel products are crucial to the world economy, and their production has a major impact on the environment. The main factor is the huge scale of the production and growth rate, unprecedented among minerals. Iron ore and concentrates production has increased more than thirty times over the past century, and the geological resource base at the current level of consumption has provided almost 250 years of sufficiency. There have been tremendous changes in the world geography of the ore and steel industry. The iron ore mining industry is the driver of other economic activities (land transport, freight, metallurgy) and involves huge capital and human resources. The consumption of iron raw materials is also considered as an important indicator of the countries development and current or even future economic situation. Population growth remains one of the key stimulating factors. The prices of ore and iron concentrates depend on the quality of the raw material, delivery conditions, market balance and the weight of the ordered cargo. They are usually the subject of negotiations. In the past, they were long-term contracts, while short-term (yearly, quarterly) and current spot transactions are now significant. The prices of ores and concentrates in relation to steel prices are showing a strong correlation. The average iron content of the reserves has been reduced in the largest producers in the 21st century, however it does not translate into the quality of mining output. Exploitation of the richer parts of the mineral deposit is usually carried out. The high content of iron in the output is a response to the technological requirements of the metallurgy where the blast furnace charge should contain at least 56% Fe and 5–8% FeO. The current surplus of geological-mining supply (large resource base) justifies that a mineral deposit choice, destined for excavation, is economic profit maximization as well as social and environmental considerations.
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.
Middle Palaeolithic land exploitation strategies remain as yet an unexplored element in our understanding of Neanderthal behavioural patterns. Many different approaches to the problem were so far developed. Among others, biological, economic or environmental data concerning Neanderthals were considered as relevant. One of the focus points in such divagations is the issue of raw materials economy as undertaken by Neanderthals. The long-distance transport of knappable minerals (as a basis for the stone tools production) allows an insight into the economy and understanding of the size of land in use by Neanderthals group. Addressing this particular issue from the perspective of the Western Carpathian Mountains allows us to track the trails of mobility or trace possible contact zones between groups, and also to state, that at least in some circumstances Neanderthal groups were infiltrating and possibly crossing this highly elevated area on the S-N axis.
The Corded Ware culture societies inhabiting the Carpathian zone used various outcrops of flints to processing axes: Volhynian, Turonian (the Świeciechów and the Gościeradów types), Jurassic A and G-type, cretaceous K-type as well as siliceous marl and radiolarite. From the analysed area 81 axes associated with the Corded Ware culture are known. Most of them come from funeral sites — from grave pits or burial mounds. The predominance of the Volhynian flint is observable in the whole area to the east of Wisłok River, basins of the San River, and in the upper basins of the Tisza and Dniester Rivers. Axes from niche graves on the Rzeszów Foothills, where the Świeciechów flint prevails, are specific in this scope or raw materials distribution. Dispersion of flints can be used indirectly as basis for reconstructing movements of human groups using these raw materials, as well as determining directions of their interactions. It can be noticed that communities of the Corded Ware culture from the Dniester Basin resembled in this respect their counterparts from the Roztocze and the Sokal Ridge, while those from the Rzeszów Foothills shows connections both with the“Volhynian zone” and the Lesser Polish Małopolska Upland.
Results of the investigation of thermal degradation of polyolefins in the laboratory-scale set-up reactors are presented in the paper. Melting and cracking processes were carried out in two different types of reactors at the temperature of 390-420°C. This article presents the results obtained for conversion of polyolefin waste in a reactor with a stirrer. Next, they were compared with the results obtained for the process carried out in a reactor with a molten metal bed, which was described in a previous publication. For both processes, the final product consisted of a gaseous (2-16 % mass) and a liquid (84-98 % mass) part. No solid product was produced. The light, "gasoline" fraction of the liquid hydrocarbons mixture (C4-C10) made up over 50% of the liquid product. The overall (vapor) product may be used for electricity generation and the liquid product for fuel production.
Potential sources of rare earth elements are sought after in the world by many researchers. Coal ash obtained at high temperatures (HTA ) is considered among these sources. The aim of the study was an evaluation of the suitability of the high temperature ash (HTA ) formed during the combustion of bituminous coal from the Ruda beds of the Pniówek coal mine as an potential resource of REY . The 13 samples of HTA obtained from the combustion of metabituminous (B) coal were analyzed. The analyses showed that the examined HTA samples varied in their chemical composition. In accordance with the chemical classification of HTA , the analyzed ash samples were classified as belonging to the following types: sialic, sialocalcic, sialoferricalcic, calsialic, fericalsialic, ferisialic. The research has shown that the rare earth elements content (REY ) in examined HTA samples are characterized by high variability. The average REY content in the analyzed ashes was 2.5 times higher than the world average (404 ppm). Among rare earth elements, the light elements (LREY ) were the most abundant. Heavy elements (HREY ) had the lowest share. A comparison of the content of the individual rare earth elements in HTA samples and in UCC showed that it was almost 20 times higher than in UCC. The distribution patterns of REY plotted for all samples within their entire range were positioned above the reference level and these curves were of the M-H or M-L type. The data presented indicate, that the analyzed ash samples should be regarded as promising REY raw materials. Considering the fact that in 7 out of 13 analyzed ash samples the REY content was higher than 800 ppm, REY recovery from these ashes may prove to be economic.
Rare earth elements are characterized by the high risk of their shortage resulting from limited resources. From this reason REE constitute a group of elements of special importance for the European Union. The aim of this study was to evaluate ashes from the burning of coal in fluidized bed boilers as an potential source of REY . Twelve samples of fly ash and bottom ash taken from power plants in Poland were analyzed. Tests have shown that despite some differences in chemical composition, the fly ash and bottom ash from fluidized beds could be classified as the calsialic, low acid type. It was found that fly ashes contained more REY than bottom ashes. Among REY , the light elements (LREY ) had the highest share in the total REY content in both fly ashes and bottom ashes. Heavy elements (HREY ) had the lowest content. The normalized curves plotted for fly ash samples within almost all of their entire range were positioned above the reference level and these curves were of the L-M or H-M type. The content of the individual REY in these samples was even twice as high as in UCC . The normalized curves plotted for bottom ash samples were classified as of L, L-M or H type. They were positioned on the reference level or above it. The content of the individual REY in these samples was the same or up to about 4 times lower than in UCC. It was found that the content of critical elements and of excessive elements in fly ash and bottom ash differs, which has an effect on the value of the outlook coefficient Coutl, and which is always higher in the case of fly ash than in the case of bottom ash. Nevertheless, the computed values of the outlook coefficient Coutl allow both fly ash and bottom ash from fluidized beds to be regarded as promising REY raw materials.