Texas sand mines threaten Wisconsin's industry - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Texas sand mines threaten Wisconsin's industry

Eau Claire (WQOW) - -

With an increase in sand mining sites in Texas, an expert warns the frac sand mining industry in Wisconsin could suffer in the coming years.

Currently, there are 92 active frac sand mining industries in the dairy state, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

11 new sand mining sites are in the early stages of development in Texas, which could produce 45 million tons of sand per year.

Kent Syverson, professor and chair of the Geology Department at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, said the problem with Wisconsin sand is the cost being very expensive to get to oil companies in states, like Texas, where oil production sites are located.

If oil companies can find cheaper sand in Texas in the near future, frac sand mining jobs in Wisconsin may decrease.

"If the price of oil were to crater in the way that it did before when it got down into the high 20's per barrel, then that would have a huge negative impact on the jobs here in the sand industry of Wisconsin. Chances are the companies that would be farthest away from Texas might be the most impacted during a down turn," Syverson said.

Syverson said Wisconsin sand has a leg up to the lone star state, due to the fact that the sand grains in the Midwest are harder and more of a rounder shape, which helps unlock oil from deeper ground deposits. 

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