Sioux Creek Silica LLC announced that it has started construction on its new 940-acre sand mine and processing facility in the southeast corner of Barron County, Wis., and expects to begin operations by spring of 2015 and be fully operational by summer of 2015.
The facility will include a specially designed, 4.7-mile industrial conveyor that will move already-processed sand products from the mine site to a dry plant and a new five-mile short track that will be connected to a Union Pacific Railroad spur for transport to customers throughout the United States.
The conveyor line will cross property owned by a broad group of different individuals, all of whom will receive royalties based on the amount of sand shipped across their land. While trucks will be used to transport sand in the early phases of mining, the intention is that all truck transport will be eliminated for shipping sand once the conveyor is completed to afford a “trucking free” operating model, which is projected for July of next year.
"We have worked cooperatively with local officials and our neighbors to respond to their questions and make sure that the Sioux Creek facility is a sustainable operation that fits with the community," said George D. Bates, founder of Sioux Creek Silica’s parent company Global Proppant Supply (GPS) and chief development officer for GPS. "This facility will be community friendly and reflect our commitment to be environmental stewards as we innovate to a 'truckless model' that will help create jobs and wealth that will stay in the local area."
Bates praised local officials and the landowners involved for their patience, support and dedication in bringing the project to its groundbreaking last month. "I want to personally thank the landowners who worked with us as well as the many local, regional and state officials who offered guidance, helpful suggestions and constructive feedback throughout the early planning phases," Bates said. "Their willingness to invest in a project that promotes environmental stewardship and sustained development means that local residents will share in the benefits of a successful effort and that a new business can create good jobs and new revenue for the area."
Bates noted that the site contains more than 80 million tons of frac sand ranging from 20/40 mesh to 40/70 mesh, extremely durable sand products that have exceptional strength and purity.
Bates said that construction and operation of the facilities will be led by Turn Key Processing Solutions, an Illinois based company that is recognized for its success in developing customized solutions for sand mining businesses, and that Milwaukee-based Joy Global, Inc., a recognized world leader in mining equipment, will be responsible for the unique conveyor system. Bates added that other community benefits included standards regulating noise and lighting.
"We are thrilled to move our project into high gear and get started on meeting the growing market need for the highest quality sands on a reliable basis," said Chris Osborn, chairman of GPS. He added that GPS had arranged more than $58 million in financing in addition to the capital provided by GPS principals. “We are a strongly capitalized company poised to take advantage of the demand for high-quality sand products.”
Osborn noted that GPS has an experienced team of leaders and a strong board with significant background in building market-leading companies in the heavy aggregate industrial sector. Osborn also said that among the GPS senior team are Chief Operating Officer Robert Archibald, who has more than 35 years of international experience in the mining and industrial minerals industries; and GPS Board member Bill Yearsley, former chairman and CEO of Redland Plc., an international construction materials company publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange, and a former endowed professor at the College of Engineering at the University of Colorado.
"From our senior leadership team to our Board, we have a group of talented people with a track record of success," Osborn added. “We look forward to working with the community to make this effort successful for all involved."
"We have world class partners that share our commitment to a world class facility, and we are confident that when we are fully operational by the summer months of next year, we will have established a business that will show great sensitivity to neighbors and the communities in which we operate," Osborn said.