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This Week's Market Buzz

  • KBIA Radio reports that The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has postponed its decision on issuing a permit for a proposed frac sand mine in Ste. Genevieve County. The department’s Land Reclamation Commission voted to table its decision for two weeks so it can determine if the mine’s location would violate a federal non-discrimination act. At issue is a residence where a student is home-schooled. She is unable to attend school because of a health condition. An existing law prohibits a mine from opening within a specified distance of a “school.”
  • The Winona Daily News reports that The city of Winona, Minn., will have to wait to talk with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) about monitoring city air for frac sand dust. The city’s planning commission requested last month to meet with an MPCA official during a regular meeting to discuss the city’s options for air-quality monitoring. However, the MPCA recently told city staff it wants to wait for the state Environmental Quality Board to draft standards for frac sand mining before moving forward on any air-quality discussions, according to assistant city planner Carlos Espinosa. The board earlier this month announced plans to slow down work on those standards after criticism from frac sand opponents that the standards are too loose and in some cases may conflict with city or county regulations
  • The Caledonia Argus reports that an upcoming environmental review of the biggest frac sand mining project ever proposed in southeast Minnesota must not only examine impacts on air, water and economics, but should also require full disclosure of the proposers’ business ties and track record, according to a report released by the Land Stewardship Project. Such a review must also be conducted by independent experts with no ties to the proposers or the frac sand industry in general, concludes “The People’s EIS Scoping Report.” The report addresses the necessary scope and depth of the Environmental Impact Statement soon to be underway on the frac sand mining project proposed by Minnesota Sands, LLC.

This Week’s Market Buzz

  • The city of Decorah, Iowa, has been asked to take a stand on frac sand mining, according to the Decorah Newspapers. Mayoral Candidate Jim McIntosh wrote, “People of Decorah look to the city administration to speak for and to focus our desires for the city we love. We therefore request that the mayor and the City Council employ its influence to convey our convictions to those who will be making the immense decisions that will affect our lives. We therefore ask that the city leadership consider and adopt the following resolution: ‘Given the potential damage to personal health, our traditional way of life and to the environment the people of Decorah have grown to cherish, we the mayor and city council of the city of Decorah stand with and support those opposing the institution of frac sand mining in Winneshiek County.’” McIntosh said although there would likely be “very little” frac-sand mining within the city of Decorah, it’s important the city’s position on the issue be known.

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This Week's Market Buzz

  • Victory Nickel Inc. hired D. Brent Lock as vice president, marketing. Lock brings extensive marketing experience to Victory Silica. He has spent the past five years as vice president operations/marketing and general manager with Canfrac Sands Ltd., a Calgary-based frac sand producer with operations located near Lloydminster, Sask. Lock will be responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies and managing customer relationships in support of Victory Silica's goals to begin frac sand sales in 2013 and to become a leading supplier of high-quality frac sand products in Canada.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • Frac sand mining in Minnesota now has its own website. Six state agencies created a portal to their frac sand activities and rule-making around the industry. Officials said the site is geared toward easy navigation of the regulatory landscape. In particular, it will help people interested in what the state is doing to develop new rules for managing and permitting silica sand projects. The website, silicasand.mn.gov, provides links to each of the state agencies involved with making the new rules or managing activities involved with the mining, transportation and processing of silica sand. They include the Environmental Quality Board (EQB), the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Pollution Control Agency (PCA), Department of Health, Department of Transportation and Department of Agriculture.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • According to Post-Bulletin.com, the Goodhue County, Minn., Mining Study Committee voted to recommend that the county’s silica sand mining moratorium not be extended. The issue passed by a 7-2 vote. Goodhue County was the first Minnesota county to face organized citizen opposition in 2011 after Windsor Permian, an Oklahoma-based energy company, purchased 155 acres of land near Red Wing with the intent of creating the county’s first frac sand mine. The county adopted a one-year moratorium in Sept. 2011 to study health and environmental concerns related to the industry. When questions remained after intensive study, the county board voted to extend that moratorium for a second year.

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