Non-traditional frac sand states were creating headlines this week, confirming the frac sand industry’s boundless growth potential. There was plenty of activity in Iowa, as three separate counties announced autonomous legislation on frac sand mining. Outside the U.S., a non-traditional frac sand country was found to harbor substantial deposits of high-quality silica, thereby expanding the reach of frac sand mining as a global enterprise.
This week was a case of good news/bad news for American hydrofracking enterprises. The good news: One report announced that, because of hydrofracking, the U.S. is now the global leader in crude oil exports. The bad news: That status could be short lived if American supply of frac sand cannot fulfill American demand.
Three Iowan Counties Take Different Stances on Frac Sand Mining
Residents in three Iowan counties – Allamakee, Clayton, and Winneshiek – have formed a consortium to keep oversight of frac sand mining activities in the hands of local municipalities rather than allowing state-wide regulation. Two of these counties have enacted moratoriums on large-scale sand mining, while the third has opted to allow for mining activity to go on practically unimpeded.
One Iowan County Opts for a Greener Version of Frac Sand Mining
Under Allamakee County’s frac sand mining moratorium, production can proceed, provided a strict set of regulations are met. The county has forbidden the use of any chemicals or toxic substance and has banned mining within 1,000 feet of fresh water or any of the county’s other natural topographical features. Frac sand mining is permissible in Allamakee county, but a challenge.
Iowa County Intends to Limit Recently Restored Frac Sand Production
Despite the expiration of an 18-month moratorium on frac sand mining, Allamakee County, IA still intends to take a cautious approach to new frac sand mines. Researchers from the University of Iowa are still studying the long-term health risks of frac sand mining, suspending approval on the opening of any new mines. Currently, Pattison Sand Company is the only full-scale mine operating in the county.
Cleveland Town Board Supervisor Survives Frac Sand Fueled Recall
A recall for the Cleveland, WI Town Board Supervisor seat has returned the same results as the initial election. Joe Egloff will retain the seat, despite fierce opposition on the town’s frac sand mining policies, the single issue that prompted the recount.
Substantial Frac Sand Discovery in Southern Uruguay
Southern Uruguay became the newest member nation in the global silica sand community, according to a Canadian firm. U308 Corp. announced this week that they have staked mineral concessions over an area with good frac sand potential in southern Uruguay.
Quebec Quartz Informs the Public on Upcoming Silica Offerings
This week, the Canadian firm, Uragold Bay Resources, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Quebec Quartz, released information regarding recent developments in the province’s cache of silicon metal and high quality silicon quartz. Patrick Levasseur, President and COO of Uragold, was pleased to offer investors a first-hand look at what many believe to be the finest silicon deposits in Canada.
Resin Coated Proppant and Its Long-Term Value the Subject of a New Report
A study conducted by Fairmount Santrol, formerly Fairmount Minerals, has concluded that resin-coated proppants can greatly increase the value of hydrofracking wells. In a sampling of 23 wells where a resin-coated proppant was used and 23 wells where pure silica frac sand was used, the resin-coated proppant out performed the silica sand on average of $115,000 per stage, $2.6 million on the whole.
Athabasca Minerals Gets the Green Light on Production at SML 130021
Athabasca Minerals has received official approval to commence production at SML 130021 over a 10 year contract, the company announced this week. The Firebag Silica Project received approval after two major U.S. testing labs confirmed the deposits there are of high quality and suitable for use in hydrofracking.
Recent Study Looks at the Burden Frac Sand is placing on American Railways
The frac sand boom of recent years is placing a heavy burden on America’s rail infrastructure, according to a recent industry study. Major frac sand providers such as U.S. Silica Holdings and Hi-Crush Partners have tried to alleviate the stress placed on established rail systems by developing in-house frac sand transport systems, but more needs to be done to ensure that American railroads are capable of handling increased volume and traffic.
Hydrofracking Has Placed U.S. atop All Oil Exporting Nations
Hydrofracking has pushed the United States past Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world leader in crude oil exports, according to a report released this week. The U.S. produced more than 11 million barrels of crude oil in the first quarter of 2014, largely due to new technologies in the field of frac sand mining.
BLM Lays Out Its Plans for Safer, More Efficient Oil and Gas Production
California, not typically known for its hydrofracking activities, announced this week that it has drafted a comprehensive strategy for future oil and natural gas exploration. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s California state office announced that the strategy incorporates results from public scoping on oil and gas development, in addition to information from the CCST’s review, and provides internal guidance for processing drilling permit applications and sundry notices.
CD Corp Weighing Options Regarding Frac Sand Shipping
CD Corp, a major Wisconsin cargo and freight company, may be hampered in filling growing demand for frac sand by an environmental study on the effects of ambient frac sand dust. A Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s recent decision to require an environmental review for a requested permit change to allow more shipping flexibility has led CD Corp officials to consider other transport options.
America’s Appetite for Frac Sand may go Unfulfilled
Should projections from Morgan Stanley prove accurate, the U.S. may not have enough frac sand to fulfill demand over the next five years. MS forecasts sand demand growth 0f 96% in 2016 from 2013, compared with just 76% of sand capacity growth.