Kent Syverson, chairman of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s geology department, told the Eau Clair, Wis., Leader-Telegram, “The [frac sand] industry was fairly dormant for a while, but now it has reawakened.” Syverson added, “These mines are going full out again.”
Representatives of several companies with Wisconsin-based frac sand mining operations confirmed Syverson’s assessment, according to the paper.
“We are running pretty much full time, back to 24 hours a day,” said Sharon Masek, manager of mine planning and industrial relations for Superior Silica Sands in Wisconsin. “We’re pretty much back to our peak levels of employment.”
Hi-Crush Chief Financial Officer Laura Fulton said the mines are ramping up and should all be operating at full capacity – producing a combined 10.4 million tons of sand per year – by late June or shortly thereafter. Hi-Crush has hired 91 workers so far this year, roughly doubling its 2016 employment level, and is seeking an additional 20 to 25, Fulton said.
The story is similar for Fairmount Santrol, which operates industrial sand mines in Menomonie, Bay City and Maiden Rock and owns a processing facility in Hager City. “We are operating at full capacity and looking for additional staffing at some of our plants,” said Aaron Scott, the Sugar Land, Texas-based company’s mining director.