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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • The sudden emergence of west-central Wisconsin as prime territory for frac-sand mining is one reason Wisconsin Energy Corp. is planning to spend $150 million to $200 million for a new natural-gas distribution network in the region. The Milwaukee-based public utility company believes additional capacity is needed and is beginning to evaluate routes to serve communities between Eau Claire County and the city of Tomah in Monroe County, chief executive officer Gale Klappa told analysts, according to a media report.
  • Double Crown Resources Inc. added Keith A. Tubandt to its Board of Directors. Tubandt, who has spent over 30 years directly involved in projects for locating, mining, testing and delivering frac sand for oilfield service operations, joins the company to develop Double Crown's frac sand customer base via his established business contacts, and to oversee specific operations including the following: Drill new frac sand deposits for proving reserves; test frac sand samples against API specifications for customers; perform preliminary design of new frac sand plants with capacities of 1-2 million tpy; and search for new frac sand suppliers for oil service companies.
  • Taylor Smith, a policy analyst for the Government Relations Department at The Heartland Institute, writes on the organization’s blog that “Wisconsin may forever be known as America’s Dairyland, but a perhaps a secondary title could be America’s Sandbox, because Wisconsin is home to the finest and most economically valuable sand in the world.” He says that U.S. production of frac sand has failed to meet growing demand, forcing developers to import a more expensive ceramic material from China. “More of that money could be going to Wisconsin and creating jobs in the struggling west and central regions of the state, but anti-mining groups are pressuring local governments to prevent any expansion of sand mining activity,” he writes.