Sand mines in the upper midwest with annual capacity of 18 million tons of frac sand have been idled this year, according to research firm Rystad Energy, and the total could increase to 30 million tons by the end of 2019. Associated Press said this week that Superior Silica Sands has idled three sand mines in Wisconsin, and Hi Crush is halting production at its mine in Augusta, Wis.
Kent Syverson, geology professor at Wisconsin-Eau Claire, told Eau Claire Leader Telegram the region’s frac sand development boom is over. Demand remains strong, he said, but energy companies have built mines closer to oilfields in Texas and Oklahoma. Increasing sand production has lowered prices, he said, and allowed oil drillers to purchase local sand for less than the cost of shipping it from Wisconsin.