The University of Iowa’s (U of I) School of Occupational and Environmental Health held a public forum titled, “Assessment Of Health Risks From Community Exposure To Silica Sand During Sand Mining.” According to Tom Peters, a professor in U of I’s department of occupational and environmental health, his group obtained funding from the National Institute of Health for study of air quality near six frac-sand mines in Wisconsin. Over the past 18 months, in addition to setting up stationary air monitors, his group worked with the Trempealeau County Health Department to find homeowners who were willing to participate in the study. They sampled air near a total of 17 homes that were located within 2.5 miles of frac sand mines. Peters said his group’s exposure measurements show that a person’s risk is related to their exposure and the actual toxicity of the silica particles. He said while there have been many studies done on the toxicology of silica sand, there has not been a study on the type of sand specific to mining.
David Alexander, CEO of North America Frac Sand Inc., said his company’s merger with North America Frac Sand (CA) Ltd, is on track but delayed. The consummation of the agreement and terms to break escrow have taken a bit longer than initially thought, however it is progressing and all parties are committed to seeing the transaction take place on or before Feb. 29, 2016.
The long-term outlook for the frac sand market is still good, Hi-Crush leaders said in a statement to investors. Oil prices will eventually go up, and when they do there will be a backlog of well sites waiting to be fracked, company officials wrote. Plus, fracking companies now use more sand per well. All of that means frac sand will be big business in the future, but it is unclear when that recovery will happen. Hi-Crush leaders predicted that the sand market would get worse this winter before it got better. That long-awaited recovery probably will not happen until next summer at the earliest, they forecasted.