Stone 2016


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The time horizon of the navigable rivers project (and the demand for hydro-technical stone) is quite distant, but we can already see some signs of recovery. Prices seem to get stable on a low level and it is difficult to find incentives which could improve the demand for local stone in a short time – except for the programme of improving railway infrastructure.

Together with the reduced number of infrastructural investments we can also observe a decrease in extraction and slow employment of means from the current EU budget. They are all serious threats to the condition of some broken stone and aggregate mines. One more threat appeared in late June: Brexit. Although Great Britain is not going to leave the EU at once, this situation may influence the EU financial envelope. In short, we can say that the dynamics of the demand for rock mining products has slowed down, so it is difficult to expect a significant price increase. Situation like this may be beneficial for companies which are able to combine rising costs, which result from, among others, worse geological and mining conditions of deposits, some of which have been exploited for a long time, with ensuring the most important thing, that is exploitation which is safe for people and environment together with applying optimum technical and technological solutions for a given deposit.  

The above mentioned information and recommendations are frequently found in comments made by representatives of the branch and companies related to rock mining. In total, there are about 25,000 people working in rock mining. This branch generates a positive multiplier effect because providing demand for raw minerals contributes to development of other branches of industry, employment growth, development of infrastructure, etc. In Strzegom commune, for example, there are several active quarries and companies that deal with extracting and processing stone. They employ more than 4,000 people, which is a quarter of all town residents and 1/7 of all commune residents. In the town and the commune there are also many additional jobs and companies related to stone processing. It is also important to notice that heavy transport is the second (after stone processing) most popular business in Strzegom commune.

The information mentioned above is usually “covered” by some other media events and, consequently, goes unnoticed. Rock mining is much more often in media (especially social media) in context of NIMBY syndrome (“not in my backyard”), which means that we support a given project but we do not want to see it in our neighbourhood. I am mentioning it because EU reports say that an average EU citizen is now using about 16 tonnes of various materials per year. More than a half are rock raw materials or materials made of those raw materials. A lot, right? The importance of rock raw materials has been noticed recently. However, according to most experts, the deposits of raw rock materials are relatively large and occur not so deep, but their exploitation is getting smaller and smaller due to serious ecological, urban and social conditions.

The forecasts made by foreign experts tell us one more thing. The currently expected level of raw rock materials consumption in developed European countries should reach about 10 tonnes per inhabitant (including 7 tonnes of natural aggregates). The forecasts include, of course, desired civilisation needs. In Poland this level is much lower in spite of the fact that in the development of infrastructural building industry (common goods such as roads, navigable rivers, etc.) we are still lagging significantly behind. It seems to show a desired increase of demand for rock raw materials in Poland. Let us see how it really is.  


Before the latest data of the Polish Geological Institute are published, let us remind that since the record high 2011, each year has shown decreases. It is true that extraction of crushed and block stones in 2015 reached 64.18 mln tonnes, but it was just slightly more than in the previous year (+ 0.15%). The total extraction in 2014 was 274 mln t. It is still nothing if we compare it to the record high (in terms of extraction) 2011 when the extraction reached about 100 mln t more.

Some factor groups decide about prospects of raw rock materials production. When there is a deficit of national high quality deposits, they are traded abroad (e.g. colourful granites). But not only then. Lower Silesian branch still remembers the bizarre situation when the specification said that Strzegom granite had to be used to renovate the flooring of the Social Activity Centre “Karmel”. The bidding procedure was not settled and the contracting entity – the town – was punished for unacceptable description of the subject matter of the contract. The mayor appealed to the court of appeal (the case is pending) and, in the meantime, they used … grey granite, but Chinese one, because it is cheaper (sic!).

One of the main factors which hampers the development of rock mining in Poland – except for price competition with imported granites – are problems with developing new deposits or resources which are being exploited. Most experts share the same opinion here. Restrictions related to environmental protection reduce the number of areas suitable for free mining development. More than 42% of the country's area is covered with various forms of protection (eg. Natura 2000 areas). Although some say that ecological considerations do not exclude geological and mining activities, they surely make this process very difficult. Proof? In Poland you must invest money and a lot of time (around 31-34 months) in order to apply for the extraction license (in: Surowce dla przemysłu. Plan działań na rzecz zabezpieczenia podaży nieenergetycznych surowców mineralnych", Ministerstwo Rozwoju, 3 sierpnia 2016 r.) (draft of the document entitled "Raw materials for industry.  Action plan for securing supply of non-energetic raw minerals” Ministry of Development, 3 August 2016).  

Geological and mining law says that a starost (county head) is a body that issues licenses for deposits where open-pit mining is planned. The deposits cannot be in the possession of mines and cannot be bigger than 2 hectares. In other cases licenses for extracting minerals from deposits are issued by provincial governors. After the period when the number of “starost” licenses went up (due to the aggregate demand boom in 2009-2011 linked with building motorways and express roads), now it is falling.  However, we can observe a kind of recovery in “marshal” licenses. Example? Preceding year's statistics for Silesian Province show that 80 licenses for extracting minerals were issued by the marshal. Dolomites and limestones are mined there by means of explosive materials (long wall systems) and Godulskie sandstones by means of perforators – first holes are drilled and then a block is separated from the undisturbed soil by means of wedges.  

Opole region is the richest in natural aggregate and natural limestone and is one of the most significant limestone industry centres in Poland (there are more than 100 active mining plants there). The share of limestone extraction in Opole Province represents more than 20% of national extraction (2nd position in Poland after Świętokrzyskie Province).  It will be even better because this region has just received another license for exploiting a new, large deposit: Tarnów Opolski – Wschód (extraction by blasting method with two and later three million tonnes of limestone per year is supposed to start in second quarter of 2017).  

The example above seems important because there are only 4% of large mines (which employ over 20 people) in Poland but they are responsible for 60% of national extraction. Among medium and large mining plants there are both companies with foreign capital (like world famous producers of cement, lime or concrete) as well as Polish companies and employee companies.


Raw rock raw materials represent ca. 65% of solid minerals extraction. Gravel-sand aggregate and crushed aggregate (made of basalts, granites, dolomites, limestones and many other solid rocks) represent ¾ of raw rock materials extraction. If this is so, can modern mining technology face actions which compensate for damages to environment? Starting exploitation of minerals is subject to environmental conditions and local community must express its opinion first. People do not want to have in their neighbourhood a mining plant which uses blasting method.  

 - Remarks about limited possibilities of free mining-related management of environment are well-aimed observations – says Aleksander Kabziński, president of Polish Association of Aggregate Producers.
- Mining technology of today and tomorrow must ensure full protection. Leading mining entrepreneurs may undertake these actions by themselves, but in a situation of fragmentation of the industry, specialised companies will do it more effective, better and cheaper. I can confirm constant development of mining industry in terms of drilling and blasting works. Competition contributes to the development in this area. Safety in this type of activity is also higher. My forecast from the past came true.  

Blasting is the basic method of mining deposits for aggregate. In most cases external companies deal with it. And I must admit they say they are very successful.

- For about 3 years more and more mines have been doing blasting with electric igniters – they guarantee both high standard of work coordination and perfect results (especially when we mean reduced propagation of vibrations on a mining plant surrounding) – says Ryszard Dusza, director of Kielce-Bełchatów branch of Orica company which is a global supplier of explosive materials and initiation systems for extraction industry.
- This is important because controlled millisecond long delays in connection with installation of vibration monitoring station should be an argument in the discussion with opponents of exploiting deposits near residential buildings.
The demand for external companies' services for open-pit mines is a great stone business climate indicator. So? The market leaders say that first half of 2016 was worse compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.   

- Today's market of machines, I'm afraid, reflects aggregate market – says Bartek Ruda from BH RUDA company which specialises in construction and mining machines.
- We hoped that in 2015 something will change in the market. It resulted in a large number of orders which were gradually delivered at the turn of 2015/2016. The year 2016 looks like a paper chase and arms race. Everybody, if they can afford it, is investing in machines. If they cannot afford it, they are repairing old machines to be ready for the season which in our branch is now, unfortunately, about six months late due to long bidding procedures. Everybody, however, is optimistic. They are sure it must finally work! However, lengthy bidding procedures and bigger supply than demand make aggregate branch entrepreneurs fight with each other by means of price. This, unfortunately, affects decisions when buying machines.   


Much more optimistic signals are coming from block stone experts. It is good because four years ago we could hear in Strzegom stone centre about destructive competition between manufacturers of kerbs which were produced at cost. In spite of that those kerbs often lost in bidding procedures with imported products of potentially dubious quality. What signals are coming from Strzegom today?
- The new EU budget has increased the demand for kerbs – informs Kamil Lemański, owner of Strzegom-based Granite Von Striegau mine.
- Right now the price is on the same level as last year. Customers paid 65-70 PLN (ca. 16-18 euros) / running metre for 20 x 30 cm size material. Nobody will buy it for a higher price! It is interesting that there is a growing interest in hydro-technical stone. That is why we are finalising talks to produce this kind of stone. In the meantime we are supplying stone to build retaining walls for Czarny Bór ring road.

This is an investment in Wałbrzych county. Kopalnia Melafiru (melahpyre mine) in Czarny Bór is greatly involved in this project.

It is not true that natural stone is no more the basic construction material and is only an important decorative material in modern architecture. Modern processing of granite allows for making practically every element which may be later used in infrastructural building.

- Granite from Żbik deposit has a significant position on stone market due to its structure and colour – says Grzegorz Chęciński, production director from GRANIT STRZEGOM S.A mine which exploits blocks and granite solids obtained from their own four granite deposits (Żbik, Żbik 18, Żółkiewka I, Żółkiewka III).
- The goods are very popular because of very high quality of processing, meticulous production that complies with PN-EN standards, repeatability (whole series of orders are made of granite that comes from one deposit) and professional customer care.               

Repeatability is essential when a product is to be used on elevations of huge buildings. The situation of uncertain bids is favourable for those who can use whole mining for their own needs.
- In our company blocks are exclusive to owners of mines – all of them have their processing plants. The demand from them is still insatiable – says Jolanta Konieczna from KWARC company which deals with extracting and processing granites from Borów I deposit.  

- Cube is not being sold well this year. So is, consequently, grey-red rough cube. Unfortunately, this situation refers to the national market and German market which was an alternative for us. It was usually so that when it was worse in Poland, it was better in Germany. When there were problems in Germany, there was boom in Poland. The demand for rough cubes for hydro-technical constructions has also decreased. We can hear from drainage companies that there are no bidding procedures now. It is bad for our branch that there are a few intermediaries in the market which undercut prices during bidding procedures and force producers to offer such prices.  

The latest statistics from the Public Procurement Agency confirm this. In the first half of the year the value of contracts was about 8.5 billion zlotys (ca. 2.1 billion euros) whilst in the corresponding period of the last year Public Procurement Bulletin spoke about 11.1 billion zlotys (more than 2.7 billion euros). According to the Central Statistical Office, after six months building and assembly production is as much as 12% lower than last year.   
Most of the interviewed people confirmed that this year might be a little worse. Both private investors and local governments want to pay as little as possible and with long deadline, which is not good for profitability of mines. How is it going to be in the second half? Everybody is expecting that money from the EU will be available and hoping that the true season will start then.

Rafał Dobrowolski


You are right now reading the 100th issue of Świat Kamienia. Life expectancy studies show that every third person who is born today will live up to 100 years old. Therefore, it is highly possible that as soon as our future readers (who are born now) are 100 years old, they will get the 700th issue of our bimonthly then!  

We seem to be in a good shape. The condition of our magazine allows us to hope that one hundred issues is just a warm-up. We are trying to be as precise as stone industry professionals. We reach our subscribers every second month. We are still working with authors who remember humble beginnings of the first stone branch magazine in Poland.

– Świat Kamienia initiated stone advertising in Poland and abroad – our long-time article author Józef Maślaniec recalls. – The magazine was the first authentic source of information about stone industry and technology in the history of journalism (not mentioning a short series of post-war periodicals). Until that moment our branch had been commonly associated only with crushing stone for the purposes of paving streets. Before the war there was no stone industry and this craft was associated with elite art.

100 wydanieBefore Świat Kamienia appeared on the market it had been commonly said that building stone tradition had originated from sacral buildings. After the period of political transformation, the competition for national deposits was justified because our deposits were quite poor from the geological point of view and extraction costs were disproportionately high compared to profits, which found its reflection in lower stone extraction and production volumes from domestic rock raw materials. Privatization of mines of rock raw materials took place in the second half of 1990s. At that time the natural stone consumption in the European Union countries started growing and natural material was experiencing a renaissance. Making stone import more common in a new Polish economic reality led to the moment that the unprecedented activity of entrepreneurs had to be complemented by just one thing – by giving any branch representation and coordination framework in terms of communication.  

Świat Kamienia was created, among others, on the initiative of Tomasz Czekaj. A young businessman who started his serious trade business in mid 1990s (and shortly after in the field of sandblasting machines) had no doubts.  

– The branch had to have its magazine. The hunger for information and the entrepreneurs' need to communicate (since not everybody could afford to go abroad and take part in fairs) left no doubt – Tomasz Czekaj recalls the decision taken to the delight of ABRA employees in the hotel room during ... advertising fair in Poznań.

Another justification for the debut of our bimonthly was that at that time the structures of the branch representation started to crystallise. The Association of Stone Industry Employers had its media patron from the start and our magazine got high quality stone-related texts.


From the very first issue our magazine was full of reports from international fairs – Nuremberg Fair was the priority then, Verona was trying to be more and more significant (our younger readers may not be familiar with this). With every new issue there were more and more advertisements and sponsored texts, so, consequently, the size of our magazine was increasing.

100 wydanie 2– Everything that is new is interesting, so everybody reacted in a similar way. Advertisements of stone blocks from Finland were quickly followed by advertisements from other companies – Dominik Lis, one of our first advertisers, recalls the beginnings of his cooperation with Świat Kamienia. - I remember the emotions we felt while waiting for the first supply of stone. Those sleepless nights during which my wife and I were writing 1,200 letters with notifications to our clients. And today? I can make a notification within 5 minutes and send it by email to all our clients.  

Later, Athena company started advertising in Świat Kamienia. The company is famous for importing materials from Greece. There were more and more companies which dealt with importing stone material. It was caused by opening up of borders and lifting of tariff barriers – the import finally got the green light.  

The variety of raw materials became attractive for architecture. The branch experienced a great development. It was much bigger than in other countries. One of the first tycoons in trading block stone and slabs was Brachot-Hermant, an indisputable leader on the market of natural stone in Belgium. This company opened its first foreign branch in Poland in 1993. Other companies followed. One of them was M+Q – a key supplier of natural stone on the Polish market since 2004. The infrastructure, however, was poor. Those who had a telephone and a fax were a step ahead of their competitors.    

– In early 1990s I had a phone in my car, so I was on the top – laughs Tadeusz Modliński, the owner of Kamieniarz company, which had its debut at Nuremberg fair in 1993. - During the fair in Wałbrzych we were partying even more, because I decided to celebrate my birthday then.  

Free market whetted appetites of entrepreneurial Poles. Those who were consistent in what they were doing might have afforded a luxury car in a month. There were many anecdotes about “golden kings” (Adam Bukacki, the owner of Chem-Stone company was one of those who had that nickname – editorial note) because the margin for more lavish tombstones was many times higher than the cost of its production! Machines were being sold very well because the need to modernise both mines and processing plants was enormous. The first wave of modernising machinery parks was possible thanks to trade routes via Germany and Italy. Among used equipment there were more expensive and advanced tools (for example Diakers saws and bridge saws). A long time before Italian technology became popular in Poland, Polish stonemasons had been using reliable German machines (Fickert + Winterling, for example). Another interesting alternative, from economical point of view, were machines that were based on Polish technology (we should mention the late Jan Wątroba here, one of the first constructors of “made in Poland” machines in capitalist Poland and the founder of Promech company), but we should not forget about important role of small, usually anonymous, craftsmen. Saws or technologically uncomplicated crushers and, most of all, cranes and handling equipment were “assembled” on one's own, often in poor conditions. Therefore, locksmiths' role was incredibly significant here.


As soon as modernisation processes had started, the demand on staff became incredibly high. Graduates from AGH University of Science and Technology or Wrocław University of Technology are still the core in open-cast mining, but the reality looks different if it comes to stone industry. Few attempts to revive vocational education took place in 1960s. In the new capitalist system only few specialists cared about this issue. What is the effect?  

100 wydanie 3– There were no qualified workers in our branch in all those years and there are none of them today either! - says Krzysztof Skolak, a long-time teacher at the only Polish school with stone courses and a president of ZPBK since its 19th General Meeting. Qualified workers used to come to stone branch (and are coming now) in a very limited number thanks to multi-professional classes which gather young people who want to find niche or disappearing professions.

It is true that in the Technical and General High School Complex in Sandomierz there is (the only in Poland) Technical School of Stucco Work and Artistic Stone Craft, but we need to add that there are only a few students there. We cannot forget that some employers have special merits here. Their initiatives in the field of specialised education are very important for the future of our industry. One of those companies is Przedsiębiorstwo Kamieniarskie “Wolski”, which has trained hundreds of young people since 1985. This company often collaborates with chambers of crafts or “Bazalt” foundation from Strzegom in organising special events for students of architecture or with stone branch schools from Germany or the Czech Republic under the EU-sponsored project.

The accession to the European Union meant for stone industry another chance to modernise machinery park – this time with an enormous financial support from the funds from Regional Operational Programmes. Stone companies used funds mainly to buy new machines: water jets, polishing lines, CNC machines. In 2007 there were as many as 92 projects worth 70 million zlotys with the financial EU support of 30-50 percent of the investment value.   

Let us also mention the potential of our branch in numbers. In 1995 the catalogue entitled “Kamieniarz Polski” (Polish stonemason) made by h.g. BRAUNE company included less than 500 companies. Whereas according to the Świat Kamienia reports on the condition of stone industry in Poland,  the number of businesses in which the prevailing activity is “cutting, processing and finishing stone” (you can find it under the symbol PKD 23.70.Z) is 6879.

100 wydanie 4One thing is certain: in the last years we have experienced quantitative, technological and qualitative development of stone industry in Poland. Recently tombstone industry has become less significant compared to the so-called “construction” stone industry. The proportions changed and today at least 60% of supply is the so-called “thin slab”. The demand on tombstones? It is strongly correlated with the number of deaths and inversely proportional to the popularity of cremation. It is estimated that annual average demand on tombstones is now about 2 million sq metres and is going down. What is more, in the time of huge competition of cheap goods from the countries with high competitiveness growth such as Brazil, Russia, India, China (BRIC), more and more companies are reducing their production capacities. Signing an agreement between the European Union and China on the access to the market was an important event. It was in May 2000 and paved the way for China to become a WTO member. Sawing of blocks seems to be an unprofitable activity because of the policy of the EU which has been the main trade partner of South Africa for many years. The cooperation is regulated by the Trade Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) from 1999. Raw minerals (including gold and diamonds, but also stone) constitute as many as 60% of goods exported from the RSA to the EU.

– We have applied the EU standards as soon as we joined the EU. What did it change? Previous standards specified requirements that every stone used to make a given product must meet. The EU standards specify only types of studies, but specifying parameters is up to the designer. It is not good because we know that architects do not always know a lot about stones – complains Stanisław Sitarz, a long-time member of Stone Industry Employers Association (ZPBK).

Why are architects afraid of stone? This question was raised during the heated debate organised by Świat Kamienia at Kamień-Stone 2013 fair in Poznań.


Does high demand on natural raw material (stone) mean that the society is getting richer? It is not so obvious. Poland is currently the third largest producer of ceramics, glass and concrete goods in Europe and the largest manufacturer of concrete cube in Europe!

We got used to the situation that a typical stonemason is busy with things related to running a company. Hire a manager! - our long-time author encouraged stonemasons in one of ŚK issues. Rafał Zahorski's suggestions did not remain unanswered. Translating values of natural rock material into the success on the market depends more and more on communicating our competences.

– We, apart from publishing ads in branch magazines, also made our debut in LOT airline in-flight magazine “Kaleidoscope” - admits Paweł Młynarski from I-Mar company, which was established in 1989 and is now specialising in stone construction works.

Natural stone is not only popular as a building material used on facades or as an interior finishing element. Its role is growing in the places where it is treated as a material that shapes our daily landscape. In Świat Kamienia we were writing about many initiatives that make small architecture forms popular – to mention only gabions! Stone craft supports exposing natural and cultural values which guarantees development of tourism (didactic paths). We are going to write more about this in the coming issues of Świat Kamienia.

Rafał Dobrowolski


When we carry out an activity during which waste is produced, we should plan, project and carry out these activities in such a way to avoid waste production or reduce its amount and negative impact on people's health and environment – both when goods are produced and after using them.

srodowisko 1The above conclusion is a brief summary of some Polish regulations. Which ones? These are the regulations concerning managing waste which is produced as a result of stone processing. They are stated in the act as of 14 December 2012 on waste (Journal of Law from 2013, clause 21 with further amendments). Managing waste should take place according to a certain order, which is mentioned in article 17 of the waste act. Then, first you need to prevent waste production, but when it is impossible, waste must be recycled. The least appropriate is waste disposal, including storage.

- If activity, during which waste is produced, is related to operation of an installation, there is a need to obtain a permit on waste production, which is stated in article 180a in the act as of 27 April 2001 – environmental protection law (Journal of Laws from 2013, clause 1232 with further amendments). The permit for producing waste is required when exploitation may cause emission of hazardous waste amounting to more than 1 Mg per year or other non-hazardous waste (more than 5,000 Mg per year), says Katarzyna Pliszczyńska, a spokeswoman of the Polish Ministry of Environment.

- When we want to manage waste, article 41 of waste act applies. It says that collecting waste and processing waste requires obtaining a special permit issued by a competent authority (the Marshall of the Province, the District Governor) of the place of collecting or processing of waste. A regional director of environmental protection is the competent authority for issuing permits for collecting waste and permits for processing waste in enclosed areas. We need to remember that according to article 66 (1)s of the waste act, every person who has waste, including producers of waste, is obliged to keep quantitative and qualitative records (excluding situations mentioned in clause 4 of the above article). Moreover, according to article 75 (1) of the waste act, the waste owner (including waste producers) who keeps waste records is obliged to draw up an annual report on waste he produced and waste management. Entities obliged to draw up the above reports have to submit them by 15 March for the previous calendar year to the competent Marshal of the Province depending on the location of producing, collecting or processing waste (it applies to reports on produced waste and waste management).

srodowisko 2Vertical clarifiers with filter bags are commonly found and dehydrators are a perfect solution for small stone companies, but automatic water treatment plants are, of course, the most effective. They are often found in bigger plants. No matter which solution we choose, it is worth going one step further.  

- Firstly, stonemasons should spare a thought if they do not waste their money, because grinding or cutting waste are perfect additives for concrete and there are technical approvals issued for this waste – encourages Grzegorz Skórka, a former employee of the Provincial Construction Supervision Inspectorate in Katowice.
- Secondly, we must note that using natural resources is more and more important for the legislator. For example, according to Annex 1 to the Regulation no 305/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council as of 9 March 2011, it has been indicated that construction object as a whole as well as its particular parts must be fit for their intended use. Health and safety of people who use these objects for the whole life cycle of these buildings must be taken into account. Thirdly, it is worth recalling article 91 (2) of the act as of 29 January 2004 – public procurement law, where it is stated that environmental aspects may be one of the tender evaluation criteria. As a matter of fact, this criterion is not used too often (except for price, warranty and deadline are the most important in construction works), but possibly it may change with the growing ecological awareness (the ideas included in “Green public procurement” are currently being promoted).


Environmental policy in the whole Europe is more and more often shaped by the need to influence production activities in order to reduce the impact of production and then use and disposal of various products on environment. Sustainable industrial waste management requires introducing cleaner production which uses low-waste technologies as well as internal and integrated management of raw material flows. It refers to all possible actions which may reduce the amount of raw materials and energy which are used to create products, improve disposal of production waste and raw materials which are left as well as to ensure closed flow of raw materials and to avoid or find a substitute for particularly hazardous substances.

srodowisko 3Proper waste management is a duty of every stone company. In practice, however, containers are often the only way of storing waste in production plants. It is a pity, because we proved that aqueous waste may be a remedy for growing needs of eco-friendly agriculture, eco-friendly gardening and eco-friendly horticulture! Publications written by experts show that, for example, stone powder contains almost all elements, minerals and micro-elements. One thing is certain: stone powder will be more and more often treated as a kind of reserve tank of fertilizers in the ground, which is gradually and slowly emptied. In other words, we can say that the one who uses stone powder practically should not or even cannot make a mistake in fertilizing! Due to this, stone powder is recommended particularly to beginners in gardening, fruit farming or farming who are just trying new eco-friendly methods (biodynamic agriculture).  

- Rock powder should be used in every horticulture. This waste can be used provided it is tested if there are any hazardous components and provided it obtains a certificate of product's competence – says Professor Kazimierz Klima from Hugon Kołłątaj Agricultural University from Cracow.  

So far ecological waste management has been most favourable for stone mines. The list of fertilizers and soil conditioners qualified for use in ecological agriculture can be found on the website of the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation in Puławy.


A common problem for most stonemasons may turn out to be an essential advantage of waste. This is the way of thinking of the owner of GRANIT-MAR company from Kościan who mastered the technology of natural granite dust recycling. A substitute for limestone (its sales name is Grano) has much better properties than Polish standards require. This is also proven by a certificate which proves the sense of using it as a substitute for limestone in masonry and plastering mortars. But also here the estimated demand for prefabricated elements fell flat.  

- Distrust prevails. Concrete plants prefer proven methods with the use of ashes, so I make prefabricated monument bases (for my own needs) out of the additive in the form of aqueous suspension. I store the surplus, but I haven't solved the problem of waste management this way – admits Mirosław Gryś.
As we know, sludge thickens through the action of gravity and gets the consistency of a thick mud. Is this another idea?

- Strongly hydrated sludge may be used as an input to batch concrete mix. It improves mechanical, operating and aesthetic conditions. Aesthetic ones as well because small stone elements may look beautiful with artificial LED lights – says Piotr Szmyt, BEng, a chief water technology and waste advisor of Hydrokraft.

- This is our licentia poetica, because we are in talks about funds for an innovative method. We know that sludge may play a significant role in the production of prefabricated elements.

But now most manufacturing companies have to use ad hoc solutions. Companies from Strzegom, for example, may count on Pracownicza Spółka z o. o. “GRANIT” over the decade. Waste from stone cutting and sawing is just a fraction of what is accepted here as part of the land recultivation.


What can we do with a very heavy and thick sludge? Now, let us have a look at this problem from the point of view of machine performance degradation. As we know, the degree of water recirculation in the technological process of sludge production depends to a great extent on suitability of a given sludge fraction to reuse and on allowed pollution level accumulated in the process. Our aim should be, of course, to increase the degree of water recirculation.   

Water in machines for cutting and processing stone plays two roles: it cools diamond tools and reduces their wear; dynamic water activity flushes grit out of working area. Flushed water with grit forms emulsion which, in case there is no water treatment plant, is supplied by a water pump back to the tool. What is the effect? Channels which supply water overgrow.

- Water demand is not small. CNC machines need a 10 litre-per-minute water flow. In case of Intermacc machines, we need five micron filters. If we neglect this, the drive becomes inordinately hot, which leads to faster degradation of windings and bearings. Let us remind, as a warning, that a new electro-spindle costs approximately 8,000-10,000 Euros – says Paweł Szczepanik from Mekanika company.

Cleaning CNC machines means a costly downtime. It often takes a day to bring back flow capacity of cooling channels. Water with stone grit also contributes to the wear of all movable elements and processing tools. What is worse, water polluted with grit turns into sediment which settles in collective containers. Compact and hard to remove planes are a real problem, because modern machines are more and more often equipped with plastic elements which makes attempts to get rid of sediment in an impact way impossible.

Grit is classified as a product of machining. Glass processing in the form of phasing, cutting or engraving is a typical abrasion of a surface. Whilst sludge is a term that can be applied only to urban and industrial waste water. So why did we speak about grit and not sludge when discussing water circuit in a stone company?
- Grit is a term applied only to abrasion processes and seems to be a more proper name for stone branch. This way we can explain the advantage of our in-house sedimentation technology, which is a process of separating suspension into clean liquid and residue – explains Piotr Szmyt, BEng.

- My company has been a forerunner of installations dedicated to glass industry, where grit is more difficult to manage. Post-production grits after glass grinding are 20 microns in diameter. In case of stone processing, we've got a 200-micron grit. Sedimentation in our installations occurs very quickly. Our idea is based on compaction of deposited sludge. The compaction, that is reducing sedimented grit in size, results in complete de-watering of sludge and sticking of very hard deposits whose consistency and firmness bring to mind … sandstones. Importantly, a chemical method can also help these processes.  By using magnetic processes, which is our secret, we can offer a premium version of the installation.

Some stonemasons have already got interested in this innovative method. Preventive qualities of installation constituted the most important argument. What can we say about costs of using installation like this? Not much now because collecting data has just started since the metered installations have been working for just a few months.

- I had a waste water treatment plant, but the machinery park which was situated at the other end of the area required an energy-consuming pumping of sludge from waste containers. The proposal by HydroKraft tempted me with an incredibly attractive price – says Antoni Młynarski, the owner of I-Mar company.

- Now water in a closed circuit reaches three saws. I really like the ecological value of the installation and the fact that electronics controls all cleaning processes. The difference is huge because cleanliness of the work areas in my company significantly improved.

It appears that technological water may work in a closed circuit – not including micro-defects  (evaporation, splashing water). Post-production waste? This issue seems to be “problematic” now and is waiting for innovators.

Rafał Dobrowolski


Kamien 2015 7Jury of this year's Kamień 2015 competition granted as many as seven Caryatid statuettes for best stone projects in traditional categories.  

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The time of intensive building works in cemeteries is now over. The weather was good for finalising contracts for raising tombstones. That's it: agreements. Public procurement in Poland is a field of law which to a great extent limits the freedom of contracting and choosing contractors, but in the field of consumer rights we are facing a completely new situation.  

Public procurement in Poland does not allow for free performance of acts by the ordering party. Only entities which fulfil criteria specified in the Public Procurement Act are allowed to provide the services in question. Article 24 in the Public Procurement Act specifies criteria which are taken into account when excluding contractors. The above act also specifies criteria which must be fulfilled by bidding entities.   

mediacjeInterestingly, the term bid is not uniformly understood by public procurement law. What is more, public procurement law introduces its own rules and may regulate some issues in a different way than other laws. A conclusion? In spite of frequent use of the term “bid” in Polish law, there is no legal definition of this term. Competences as regards proper understanding of “bid” term are in the hands of the National Chamber of Appeals and common courts. For example, Civil Code provisions may be applied only when public procurement law does not include its own regulations or when they are incomplete.  

All that was mentioned above is just a short summary of the publication for legal advisors (Radca Prawny, Zeszyty Naukowe nr 2/2015). What do we mean by the bid? Is it just the declaration of the contractor about his obligations? Or perhaps additional documents are also a part of a bid – besides the bid form – if they refer directly to contractor's obligations? So, if a contractor is obliged to submit a complete bid which includes all declarations and documents, perhaps the name of the bid should also mean objective and financial schedule required by the ordering party if the schedule also shows that the contractor is obliged to perform particular parts of the order in specified periods of time. Consequently, does it mean that also expected deadlines for the payments of invoices issued by the contractor should also be treated as a part of the bid? The authors of the publication mentioned above are sure that the term “bid” is not uniformly understood.


Public orders mean public money which must be spent rationally and guarantee best possible effects. Because of this the principle of freedom of contract is limited. However, the current legal status in this field is not perfect.  

In the last issue we discussed a problem of disputes arising on the ground of completing orders (also public ones) highlighting the opportunity to reach consensus by mediation. Now it is time to have a closer look at relations between buyers and sellers, which means, in case of contracts for specific work and construction works contracts – also relations between investors and contractors. Most of us are, I think, aware of the fact that a very important (for construction and stone branches) amendment to the Civil Code was introduced last year.  

The amendment introduced by means of the consumer rights act as of 30 May 2014 (Journal of Laws 2014, point 827) transposes into Polish law the European Parliament and Council directive (no. 2011/83/EU as of 25 October 2011) on consumer rights. According to the law, the statutory warranty makes the seller responsible for physical defects of a property if this defect is noticed five years before the property was handed over to the buyer. Expiration period of the rights under statutory warranty (in case of properties' defects) has been extended by two years.  

- It is an important change, in my opinion. Stone goods are often exposed to harmful weather factors since they are installed (for example sculptures or tombstones) or laid (paving stones) outdoor and must be resistant to freeze/thaw cycles. Longer statutory warranty period will make the responsibility bigger – says Grzegorz Skórka, the head of the Inspection Department of the Silesian Provincial Office.

- The above mentioned changes in civil law show that consumer rights are bigger and bigger. It is worth stressing that although we are now in a transitional period it refers only to contracts and related warranties which were concluded before 24 December 2014. New law refers to contracts concluded from 25 December 2014 (article 51 of this act says that agreements concluded before the date of entry into force of this act shall be subject to the legislation hitherto in force).  

mediacje 2Developers who had commenced their investment before the law changed, used to make construction work agreements with general contractors in which statutory warranty and/or warranty for defects was 3 years long. The statutory warranty time will depend on the fact if the sales agreement had been made before the amendments of the civil code entered into force.  


The most important changes in the law touch upon sales warranties making the seller's responsibility and the buyer's rights bigger. These rules are also applied in contracts for a specific work and construction works contracts. The amendment makes the definition of the term „physical defects” of things broader.   
- Broadening the definition of „physical defect” is, as for me, significant for distributors of stone goods. Now they must know if a product they offer on sale is suitable for the customer's needs. It is easy to imagine effects of the situation when a customer wants paving stones for paving a car park for trucks and the seller or his employee sells them paving stones designed only for making pavements for pedestrians” adds Grzegorz Skórka.

According to the definition, a physical defect means that a sold or built product is not as it is described in the sales agreement. It means that we also speak about a defect in a situation when a thing does not fit for the purpose about which the buyer informed the seller when signing an agreement (and the seller did not object to that use). We can also speak about a physical defect when the thing was badly installed, even if it was done by the buyer (unless he did not follow the manual).

In order to keep the statutory warranty we do not need to bring lawsuits before the statutory warranty expires. It is enough for a buyer to submit (before the statutory warranty expires) a declaration that a given thing has defects. After submitting the declaration about defects there is a year-long deadline for making claims to repair defects or change the thing. We must have in mind, however, that according to article 563 of the Civil Code, in case of sales contracts between entrepreneurs, the statutory warranty expires unless the buyer checks the thing within a time and in a way accepted for the things concerned and informs promptly the seller about the defect; or unless he informs the seller about the defect promptly after it is revealed (if the defect is revealed later).

Another important law for professionals says that in relations between entrepreneurs the seller may refuse to change the thing for a defect-free one or remove the defect if the costs are bigger than the value of the product sold. If a faulty thing has been installed, the investor will be allowed to demand to dismantle the thing and install it again after changing the thing into the fault-free one or after removing the fault. In case the contractor does not do it, the investor will be able to do it at the contractor's expense. It is worth mentioning that till now the entitlement of the investor to the so-called substitute performance was valid only during the performance of works (article 636 of the Civil Code) and not under statutory warranty. This change is potentially unfavourable to the contractor who should take care of a proper reduction of this risk in a contract.

Next, in place of the former entitlement to claim a lower price from the seller, the amendment grants the buyer (in case there are defects in the product) an entitlement to submit a one-page declaration about lowering the price or pay. It means that the buyer may indicate the amount to which the price should be reduced. We need to remember, however, that if the legal proceedings start, the buyer will have to prove that this amount is justified. This is another reason to recall the advantages of mediation – hearing of evidence is not so important then for  consensus-seeking.

mediacje 3What do new regulations offer to contractors? It is more and more often so that the stone in the wholesale is chosen by investors or ordering parties (for example to raise a monument). What if our customer purchases the material and asks us to do the work and the material turns out to be incorrectly selected? This situation may result in defects of the final work. From 25 December 2014 the law says directly that the contractor is not responsible for defects if they are result of a cause that is present in the material provided by the orderer. But watch out! We should inform the ordering party promptly about it (this fact should be written down in the agreement), because only then the contractor is not responsible (under statutory warranty) for defects of the work. If we do not do this, we may be liable to damages under the general provisions.

- We must take into consideration a specific character of stone goods, both those classified as construction goods (for example paving stones, stone bowls for making retaining walls) as well as sculptures, tombstones because their defects are often revealed after installation, especially after first winter. It would be absurd to tell the buyer to test frostresistance of each part of goods. I think it is acceptable to test the thing after first winter – says G. Skórka.

We should treat all we have said above as an opportunity for building a competitive advantage on the market if we aspire to be experts in our field.


So far we have analysed changes which are important for professionals who perform bigger works. Now we need to ask the following question: what is the difference between construction works contracts and contracts for a specific work? The latter one is usually applied when we deal with small architecture like tombstones. Unfortunately, in practice, defining a small architecture object is not so easy. The construction law says directly that small architecture object is „a small object, especially of religious worship such as chapels, roadside crosses, figures, statues, water effects and other garden architecture objects, recreation objects such as swings, sandpits, ladders, but also litter baskets”. Construction works contract cannot be applied here because the main criterion that differentiates this type of contract from contract for a specific work is assessment of the investment according to construction law requirements. In case of raising tombstones mandate contracts cannot be applied (article 734 of the Civil Code) because they are duty-of-care contracts. The parties should make a contract for a specific work because it is not about performing a work but achieving a result, so, in our case, not only raising a tombstone but also installing it.

Interestingly, in order to conclude contracts for a specific work we must apply rules concerning consensus contracts. In the Civil Law Code there are no special provisions concerning concluding contracts for a specific work. What is more, this type of contract does not need to have a special form. The contract can be also concluded verbally or it can be even implicitly assumed.  

Once we said that in our branch it is recommended to conclude agreements in a written form. It is important to specify a detailed scope of works or what the tombstone is supposed to look like (we need at least an outline). It is not recommended to speak about technical details with the orderer. Instead of a monument's technical drawing (where all dimensions are very precise), it is better to familiarise the orderer with estimated dimensions (length, width) and just an approximate thickness of a slab. Why? Many stonemasons lost their cases in courts because they installed covers which were half a centimetre thinner than declared in the drawing. Professionals know that thickness of slabs may vary by half a centimetre or even more.  For similar reasons, setting a precise completion date for building small funeral architecture objects is not a good idea, either. It is better to indicate a maximum deadline than a precise completion date. This way we can protect ourselves against weather conditions which can make installation of tombstone on that very day impossible.

Let us go back to discussing the differences between contracts for a specific work and construction works contracts. The main difference between these two types of contracts lies in the assessment of investment according to construction law requirements. It is important to see that contract for raising a tomb should be called a “contract for a specific work” and not a “mandate contract”. Why a “contract for a specific work”? Here, “work” means creating something new or changing one thing into another that does not exist now. It is important  when we apply Civil Code provisions to this type of contract as well as in assessment of will and obligations of the parties involved in a dispute. The contractor, being a party of a construction works contract, is obliged to build a thing in conformity with the project planning documents, technical knowledge and current technical and construction standards and then commission the building – depending on the provisions in the contract. Creating a “work” means achieving a specified result, for example creating a new thing, repairing, renovating or maintaining already existing things, etc. Contracts for a specific work shall be subject to the Civil Code provisions. These contracts are not subject to the Labour Code so they give the parties involved more freedom in setting rights and obligations (for example as regards the performance of the contract).   

A true stonemason should be also interested in the final effect, that is proper installation of a tombstone in the cemetery. It happens that installation is not performed well enough and it is a badly prepared ground that is the main reason for customer's complaint. It is sad to see leaning tombstones in cemeteries, but that is another story.  

Rafał Dobrowolski



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