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Frac Sand Insider Conference Draws Attendees; Protestors


Rock Products held its third Frac Sand Insider conference May 10-11 at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse, Wis. Almost 300 people attended the event, which was highlighted by an educational program, expo and social events.

“This edition of Frac Sand Insider topped the two we held in Pittsburgh both in exhibit size and number of attendees,” said Tim Fearney, show manager. “Bringing the show to the heart of the frac sand industry gave local producers the opportunity to gain some education and perspective, and to network with their peers.”

The opening keynote address was by Joel Schneyer, managing director of Headwaters MB, Denver. His Frac Sand Outlook and Perspective session was delivered to a packed room where he opined on the current state of the frac sand market, oil prices and the future of an industry looking to bounce back.

Jay Zambito, a geologist with the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, spoke on current research in the area of frac sand and related natural resources in Wisconsin.

Another session of note was Economic Impacts of Industrial Frac Sand Mining by Issac Orr, research fellow from The Heartland Institute. His discussion of public perceptions of frac sand mining versus the factual evidence resulted in a number of questions and comments.

The closing session, a frac sand producers panel discussion with members of the Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association – moderated by Rock Products Editor Mark Kuhar – focused on issues impacting frac sand producers both in the plant and in the halls of congress.

Other session included:

  • How to Open a Frac Sand Mine by consultant Keith Rauch.
  • Frac Sand Production Techniques by Matt Lear, McLanahan Corp.
  • Conveyor Improvements to Control Silica Dust by Jera Heitzler, Martin Engineering.
  • Water and Fines management by Patrick Rockwell, McLanahan Corp.

The event was not without controversy, as more than 50 anti-sand-mining activists showed up outside the convention center to call for an end to frac sand mining in the area. Several had to be forced to leave the lobby of the convention center as they tried to gain access to show participants.

Local television and news media were on hand to cover the show and protest rally, as well as Wisconsin Public Radio.

“All in all it was a very successful show,” said Kuhar. “The educational sessions were of a very high quality and attendees commented positively about how much they learned. The fact that anti-sand-mining activists showed up at the event only underscores the need for sand producers to continue to engage the communities in which they are located and to communicate even more effectively that they operate in an environmentally responsible and safe manner.”