Wisconsin frac sand mining sector experiencing downturn

By |  June 8, 2016

Wisconsin’s frac sand mining sector experienced a downturn this spring.

According to the Leader-Telegram, the demand for Wisconsin frac sand has fallen, along with the nation’s oil prices.

Wisconsin has served as a leading producer of frac sand, but the Leader-Telegram reports that a noticeable number of Wisconsin-based frac sand operations did not restart business after the winter season and other operations have cut staff sizes.

The slowdown is likely the result of lower oil prices, as the price of a barrel of U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil is at $50.96, which is down about 25 percent from one year ago and more than 50 percent from June 2014.

The slump in frac sand mining that led to a number of layoffs has prompted even more job losses in 2016, the Leader-Telegram says. The following are some of the cutbacks reported by Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development:

  • Fairmount Santrol eliminated 55 workers at facilities in Menomonie, Maiden Rock and Hagar City.
  • Superior Silica Sands, a subsidiary of Emerge Energy Services, announced plans to lay off 69 employees, including some who have already been laid offat sites in New Auburn, Prairie Farm, Chetek, Barron and three in Clayton.
  • Unimin Corp. plans to shut down its frac sand mining operation in Tunnel City and lay off 65 workers.
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About the Author:

Megan Smalley is the associate editor of Pit & Quarry. Contact her at msmalley@northcoastmedia.net or 216-363-7930.

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