Has Wisconsin’s Frac Sand Industry Stabilized?

After more than a decade of alternating boom-and-bust cycles, the regional frac sand industry appears to be stabilizing – at least for now, according to an article in the Leader-Telegram.

That’s the assessment of University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire geology professor Kent Syverson, who also serves as a consultant for the frac sand industry. “It’s adjusted now to a different base level. Now it’s kind of in equilibrium I would say,” Syverson said.

While he doesn’t expect the industry ever to go back to the way it was from 2011 to 2014 when new mines and processing plants were popping up like dandelions across west-central Wisconsin to take advantage of the region’s silica sand reserves, Syverson said the surviving facilities seem to have found reliable markets for their sand, including some that shifted to producing for other industries such as glassmaking.

Wisconsin mines needed to find alternate destinations to ship their sand to replace the giant market that mostly evaporated when energy companies built a number of sand mines closer to oilfields in Texas.

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