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Frac-Sand Mining and Processing Operations in Wisconsin Doubled in 2012
By Kate Golden
Five years ago, Wisconsin only had a handful of industrial sand facilities. Over the past two years, the increased demand for frac-sand drove explosive growth in the state’s sand industry.
Frac-sand operations, including mining sites, processing plants and loading stations where the sand is poured into rail cars for transport, more than doubled in the past year. Some companies, such as Preferred Sands in Blair, operate all-in-one facilities where the sand is mined, processed and loaded into rail cars at one contained site. Other companies, such as EOG in Chippewa Falls, have a network of several mine sites that serve one processing plant and rail-loading facility. Smaller mine operators without their own processing capabilities haul sand to processing and transportation hubs including Marshfield or Winona, Minnesota.
The map shows the 107 sites currently permitted and proposed frac-sand facilities in Wisconsin. Of the facilities shown, 87 are permitted and the remaining 20 are still in the proposal stages, but Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reporting found that almost all proposed mines eventually receive permits, so we included them all on the map. Sites are color coded by the type of facility—mining, processing or both.
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