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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • According to the Houston County News, The Minnesota Court of Appeals on July 20 reversed a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources decision that a Houston silica sand mine may not operate until the owners obtain a trout stream setback permit. The court determined that the Erickson Sand Mine is not a “new project,” so the mine can legally operate, according to court documents and a citing of the 1985 Reserve Mining Co. v. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency case. “We reverse the Department of Natural Resources’ decision that relators’ silica sand-mining operation is subject to the setback-permit provision,” wrote Justice John P. Smith in court documents, “because relators’ silica sand-mining operation is not a ‘new project’ within the meaning of the statute and because there is no indication that any environmental review at the site had been noticed for public comment after April 30, 2013.”

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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • Proxibid was selected by Hilco Industrial and Gordon Brothers Group as one of the groups to offer live online bidding for its upcoming auction of machinery and equipment used for the production and distribution of premium grade frac sand. The auction will take place July 28 at 10:00 a.m. CST in Saskatoon, SK, Canada, with live online bidding taking place at that time via Proxibid. This auction features nearly 200 pieces of machinery and equipment from Preferred Sands of Canada. The machinery and equipment available in this auction come from the company’s Hanson Lake facility, which is being closed. The facility and equipment have been disassembled and staged for loading. Everything from dozers, loaders, excavators and rock trucks to processing and storage equipment and more is up for bid in this auction.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • According to the investment website Seeking Alpha, long term, the market dynamics for frac sand are still in place. The amount of frac sand per well seems to be increasing for now based on the fact drillers are using more stages per well. As prices fall drillers are incentivized to increase the amount of frac sand they use per well to increase IRRs. Many drillers have shifted from a "total production at all cost" strategy to an IRR-focused strategy, which means they will likely keep increasing the amount of sand used per well. Short term, the number of wells drilled but awaiting completion may drive demand, but it is very uncertain if this will prove to be a lasting trend.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • Six-year-low crude oil prices may have decimated new drilling activity, but market indicators show there is a more intense use of frac sand in the new wells that remain in the Eagle Ford and other shale plays. A June 11 report from global investment bank Jefferies shows that overall demand for frac sand is down in 2015 due to low oil prices but its use per well has been steadily increasing over the past three years.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • According to the Winona Post, Arcadia, Wis.’s moratorium on nonmetallic sand mine operations will remain in place. Arcadia City Council members decided to not take any action to prematurely lift the city's moratorium on sand mining operations that was implemented last year and is expected to expire September 15, 2015.

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