State and Province News October 2011
At the end of August, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality held a public hearing concerning EOG Resources, Inc.’s proposed 1,400-acre frac sand mine in Muenster. According to the Gainesville Daily Register, both neighbors of the proposed site and EOG staff members made statements. Some neighbors addressed concerns that the site would destroy the bucolic nature of the area, while others were concerned about environmental impact. Employees noted the economic benefits of the site and pointed to the company’s efforts to aid Montague County during recent wildfires as a representation of what kind of neighbor the company would be.
The Washington Department of Ecology announced that it has modified the state’s Sand and Gravel General Permit. The new permit reduces the level of turbidity and solids that facilities may discharge into the state’s waters, and it requires portable operations to provide public notice prior to their activities. The action settles an appeal of the permit by the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance. The Washington Aggregates and Concrete Association intervened in the appeal, supporting the department’s original permit. The permit regulates water discharges from sand and gravel operations, quarries, and similar mining operations as well as hot-mix asphalt plants, concrete batch plants, and stockpile yards. It covers about 950 facilities in the state. Changes are effective Oct. 1. For more information, visit www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/sand/.
EOG Resources’ new sand plant in Chippewa Falls is scheduled to open by the end of the month, nearly a year after work on the facility began. The Leader-Telegram reports that, in early September, the plant was 90 percent complete and 300 people were working on the site. Approximately 40 sand mines are either currently operating or proposed in this part of the state, where the sand is particularly hard, round, and porous, making it ideal for use in extracting petroleum and natural gas from the ground. The EOG plant was originally expected to cost between $45 and $50 million, but that figure has grown to approximately $60 million with the addition of an indoor sand storage building.
Athabasca Minerals Inc. received approval from the government of Alberta for metallic and industrial mineral leases totaling approximately 31,630 acres at the Firebag Frac Sand Project located in the Wood Buffalo region of northern Alberta. The company says it intends to continue development of the project by initiating a National Instrument 43-101 technical report and pilot scale production of frac sand. “We are extremely pleased at the continued progress of the Firebag Frac Sand Project and look forward to additional positive developments, which will confirm the economic viability of frac sand production,” Dom Kriangkum, president of Athabasca Minerals, said in a press release. “This potential revenue stream further complements our existing revenues generated from the Susan Lake Aggregate Operation and Camp Operations. In addition to this, we continue to investigate industrial minerals, which benefit from the heightened activity in the oil and gas and oil sands industries.”