This Week’s Market Buzz

  • According to the Winona Daily News, Independence, Minn., Common Council members gave the green light to annex a portion of the city’s land after previously denying the request. The council rejected the estimated 250-acre annexation proposed by Hi-Crush Proppants LLC during a meeting Oct. 22, but brought the petition back for a special session to vote again. The annexation was approved in a 5-1 vote. The Independence annexation is one part of a $100-million project that would annex land from the town of Lincoln, Minn., to establish a frac sand mine to be located in both the cities of Independence and Whitehall, Minn. According to Hi-Crush officials, the mine’s wet plant would be connected to the dry plant via conveyor system, and there would be a potential for as many as 300 rail cars, depending upon their size.
  • U.S. Silica Holdings Inc. was named to Forbes’ 35th annual list of America’s Best Small Companies. U.S. Silica was ranked eighth out of 100 companies with annual sales under $1 billion. The rankings are based on return on equity, sales growth and earnings growth over the past year, as well as the past five years. Forbes also factors in stock performance versus each company’s peer group during the last 12 months. Bryan Shinn, president and chief executive officer of U.S. Silica, commented that, “We’re very pleased to be acknowledged by an organization as prestigious as Forbes. I want to personally thank all of our key stakeholders and especially all of our employees for their hard work, dedication and many contributions to our current and future success.”
  • Eau Claire County, Wis., could soon be home to another frac sand mine and if it’s approved, it could become the county’s largest. U.S. Silica is considering a mine and processing facility in the Town of Fairchild. The company has not bought any property and has not applied for permits yet, but a U.S. Silica representative told WKOW TV that the mine site they’re considering would cover 650 acres. That would be larger than the company’s only other Wisconsin mine, which is in Sparta. The Sparta mine covers 520 acres, has a capacity for 1.7 million tons a year and employs 60 people full time. U.S. Silica says it would expect to hire more than 60 for its operation in Fairchild. It also says it plans to use rail at the site so trucking would not be an issue. There are currently three permitted mines in Eau Claire County: Hi Crush, High Country Sand and Five Star Properties.


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