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This Week’s Market Buzz

•    At press time, Brent crude rose 19 cents, or 0.3%, to $59.31 per barrel. The front-month U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures contract gained 49 cents, or 0.9%, to settle at $53.78 per barrel. The more-active second-month WTI benchmark was up 95 cents, or 0.7%, at $54.44 a barrel.

•    British Columbia-based Northern Silica will cease operations effective immediately and lay off the majority of its staff. The company made the announcement just over a month after re-opening and temporarily laying off its employees for a month over Christmas. “It’s not dissimilar to what we said in December, the market for the product that we make isn’t very good right now,” Scott Broughton, president and CEO of Northern Silica told The Golden Star.

•    Protestors of a proposed silica sand mine in northern Manitoba are celebrating a delay despite the company in charge of the development saying nothing has changed. Glenn Leroux, the CEO of Canadian Premium Sand, said there's a chance that the large frac sand mine planned near Hollow Water First Nation, might not produce sand until 2022. Delays came when the estimated cost for the project increased by almost $100 million.