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What is “Frac Sand” mining?

By: Jolene Reddick

Frac sand mining is the mining of sand which is used in the fracking process to get oil and natural gas out of the ground. The frac sand industry isn’t necessarily a big industry in the large scheme of things, but Minnesota and Wisconsin have some of the best areas for frac sand mining in the country.  Industrial sand mining has become an economic boom in states like, Texas, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota; creating thousands of jobs and generating substantial royalty payments for landowners who have this sand on their property.

Sand in Wisconsin is mined and sent to places like North Dakota, Appalachian, Basin, or Texas and there when it’s injected into the ground during the hydraulic fracturing process, the sand gets into those fractures and when the pressure is released, the sand props open those fractures and allows the conduit for oil and gas to migrate back to the surface for extraction.

Demand for this sand has skyrocketed in recent years as hydraulic fracturing dramatically increased oil and gas production in the U.S. That is because natural hydraulic fracturing requires a special kind of sand which is only found in certain areas. It’s clean, quart sand with very few other minerals in the sandstone and the sand grains are similar in size. That makes it ideal for fracking where sand is used to prop open cracks in the shale, thousands of feet below the surface, allowing oil and natural gas to flow.

Frac sand needs to be round and very strong in order to withstand the pressure of the fracking process. At Vulcan Drying Systems, we have designed a dryer specifically for the fracking industry that will maximize production while effectively cutting down the costs for transport. These drying systems consist of a rotary drum dryer and a burner mounted on a breeching plate. Vulcan® Drying Systems Frac Sand Dryers are designed specifically to dry frac sands, making the material easy to transport, separate and handle.

Vulcan Drying Systems Frac Sand YouTube Video: https://youtu.be/JFwidPROgSw

Below is a more in-depth breakdown of the Frac Sand process. This article was written by American Geo Sciences Institute.

Related article: https://www.americangeosciences.org/critical-issues/faq/what-frac-sand

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