This Week’s Market Buzz

  • The Houston County, Minn., board of commissioners revealed its proposed frac sand mining ordinance establishing a number of restrictions, limitations and environmental protections. The new ordinance limits the volume of sand that can be mined per year, requires mines to comply with a road use and maintenance agreement, and gives county officials the authority to issue environmental reviews. It also limits the use of explosives for blasting at mine sites and requires a pre-blasting survey for new mines, expanding mines or when mines change blasting procedures. Mines would also be required to submit a reclamation plan under the new ordinance, identifying a schedule and methods for refilling the mining site and re-vegetation of the area, according to the LaCrosse Tribune.

  • U.S. Silica, a Maryland-based company with facilities in 13 states, Canada and China, has applied to develop a frac sand mine near Fairchild, Wis., according to the Leader-Telegram. The mine would be on 632 acres just west and north of Fairchild. It would be partially bordered by U.S. 12 on the east and South Center Road on the west. Of the 632 acres, 287 acres would be mined. Plans include building a wet-processing plant and dry plant under the same roof. The company also would build a rail spur to connect the processing facility with the nearby Union Pacific line. A conveyer belt would haul material over Highway RR, which transects the property. The railroad spur would affect some wetlands, so a conditional use permit and some mitigation would be required. Mitigation would require the company to restore wetlands to compensate for the wetlands affected, he said. This mine would be the fourth in Eau Claire County, Wis., to produce sand for hydraulic fracturing.
  • Smart Sand Partners LP, an MLP formed by Clearlake Capital to own frac sand production assets in Wisconsin, filed with the SEC to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering. Smart Sand Partners LP initially filed confidentially on Aug. 29, 2014, just one week after close competitor Fairmount Santrol filed publicly. Fairmount priced below the range and raised $400 million in early October. The Woodlands, Texas-based company, which was founded in 2014 and booked $52 million in sales for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2014, plans to list on the NASDAQ under the symbol SSLP.

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