Demand for silica sand has grown with the rise of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in oil and gas production in western North Dakota and other states. Drillers mix the sand with water and other chemicals and pump it down into wells, propping open cracks so that oil and natural gas can flow out. The hills and bluffs of western Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota hold easy-to-mine deposits of highly pure silica sand that is the ideal size, shape and hardness for fracking.Caron, of Tiller Corp., said his company started mining silica sand in 2010 as a way to expand struggling sales.
Minn. Lawmakers Start Silica Sand Mining Hearings
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