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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • According to madison.com, 30 workers at U.S. Silica’s Sparta, Wis., plant will be laid off July 15, when the plant cuts back production because of the trickle-down effect of the lagging oil market, a company spokesman said. “We will operate the plant with a smaller workforce because we’ve seen a significant decrease in oil drilling, which has reduced demand for our sand” used in drilling, the company said.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • According to the LaCrosse Tribune, the Minnesota appeals court panel heard arguments from a sand mine owner protesting a Department of Natural Resources ruling that the mine cannot operate without a special permit because of its proximity to a trout stream. Asking that the state’s ruling be reversed, an attorney for mine owners Tracie and Michelle Erickson of Rushford, Minn., argued that the mine, in existence since 1992, should be exempt from the trout stream setback law passed by the Legislature two years ago. A lawyer for the state countered that the mine’s permit lapsed in early 2013, triggering the requirement that it meet new setback standards. The appeals court has 90 days to issue a ruling.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • Superior Silica Sands (SSS) announced that it will no longer pursue the construction of a silica sand processing facility in Independence, Wis. “This was a difficult but necessary decision,” said Rick Shearer, chief executive officer of parent company Emerge Energy and SSS. “Given current economic conditions affecting the frac sand industry as a whole, as well as the specific mining and processing economics at Independence, we feel that the project is no longer economically viable.”

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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • A Texas based frac sand mining company is backing out of plans to develop a 1,600 acre mine and processing plant in Trempealeau County, Wis. Over the last year, Superior Silica Sands has been in the process of developing a plant between the cities of Independence and Arcadia. As part of the project, Independence annexed the property, but controversy about the plant ensued when two local cities filed a lawsuit. The company said it is stopping plans to develop the mine and processing plant due in large part to the low price of oil and low demand for frac sand, claiming the surrounding controversy did not play a role in its decision.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is inviting the public to provide input on the agency's most recent effort to assess the latest scientific, natural resource and socio-economic information relating to industrial sand mining and its infrastructure. “The department is conducting a strategic analysis on industrial sand mining in order to provide quality, factual information to the public and decision makers,” said Dave Siebert, Environmental Analysis bureau director. "We welcome the public's input in helping us determine what should be considered in the analysis." The public comment period for the scope of the strategic analysis runs through April 20. Go here to participate.

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