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Frac Sand Mining Will Transform Minnesota’s Economy

By David Justus on 05/30/2015

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Although frac sand mining has the potential to revitalize Minnesota’s industrial economy, many have voiced concerns over environmental issues. But Midwest’s dust control solutions promise to keep everyone happy while bringing prosperity up north.

The Debate Over Frac Sand Mining

While frac sand mining offers a vast array of benefits to local communities in Minnesota, regulators seeking to ban the practice altogether have recently challenged a series of proposals for frac sand mining in Winona and Fillmore counties.

For the unfamiliar, frac sand mining involves the extraction of silica-based sands used in a number of key industries. Many of these industries, including those involved in the manufacturing of fiber-optic cables and microchips for computers, rely heavily on this resource.

Since Minnesota has abundant reserves of silica-based sands, the mining company Minnesota Sands LLC has begun planning for a sand operation that spans four counties across the state. While these projects would undoubtedly have a significant impact on these counties’ local economies, lengthy environmental review processes are required in order to get approval for the projects.

The fact of the matter is that Minnesota Sands arranged for an environmental review with the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board. According to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, “The Environmental Quality Board has...tightened its rules regarding environmental review for proposed silica sand mining and processing sites.”

These new regulations, along with the emphasis placed on environmental reviews before the development of the Minnesota frac sand mines, reveals the sharp debate over sand mining's environmental impacts.

How Midwest Can Help

Even though Minnesota Sands has agreed to the required environmental review in order to assuage concerns surrounding the proposed mines, activists and local political leaders remain divided over the economic benefits and environmental concerns of sand frac mining.

On March 3rd, the Minnesota Public Radio news organization reported, “Houston County commissioners have voted against a ban on silica sand mining, disappointing its opponents.”

As communities across Minnesota decide whether or not to allow frac sand mining, it’s important for mining companies and the public at large to understand how the dangers and safety issues related to frac sand mining can be completely addressed with the right solutions.

Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. sets an industry standard with the tools they offer to combat the environmental and health dangers associated with frac sand mining.

For instance, Midwest offers dust control services, which can be used to treat sand as it is offloaded onto the drilling pad, and can ensure that unwanted airborne particles are captured instead of being released into the outside environment.

It’s crucial that Minnesota’s state environmental regulatory boards, as well as the operators of Minnesota Sands’ proposed mines, are aware of the available technology that can help eliminate the environmental impact of frac sand mining while still promoting the growth of a key industry for Minnesota’s local economy.

With Midwest’s help, the state’s economic growth could easily reach unprecedented heights.

(Image credit: Carol Mitchell/flickr)

About Author

David Justus

Written by David Justus

David Justus is Vice President of Sales Delivery and Execution at Midwest. He is also the business manager of engineered solutions covering the oil & gas industry as well as the rail and mass transit industry.

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