Officials: Mining Red River sand won’t require explosives
DODDRIDGE, Ark. (AP) — Mining 61.8 million tons of sand from the Red River near Doddridge for hydraulic fracturing in Texas and Louisiana will not require explosives, an official said.
“Unlike sand-mining operations in other states throughout the country, there will be no blasting techniques used in the company’s mining program,” said Ryan McMaster, sales and business director for Performance Proppants, the company mining the sand.
Blasting involves explosives, which are not considered a low-impact part of the mining process.
“Our sand is already in sand form and does not require these measures,” McMaster said.
“The general mining process includes dredging, washing, drying, sizing and storing the finished product in silos, much like those used to store grain products on farms in the surrounding area,” he said.
Almost 100 percent of the sand will be hauled to Northwest Louisiana and East Texas for use in the Haynesville Shale Wells, he said.
McMaster said Red River sand is less desirable than the quality sand traditionally provided to the oil and gas industry from mines in Wisconsin.
“However, sand from the Red River provides tremendous cost savings (by) not having to rail the product across country. The savings realized from lack of logistics cost allows the operators to pump more sand in each well. Quantity over quality, with great associated cost savings, has evolved into the new trend of frack sand supply,” he said.
The sand deposit in Doddridge allows Performance Proppants to produce the coarser mesh product its customers seek, McMaster said.
The Doddridge plant, to be named River Ridge, would be the company’s second plant, the Texarkana Gazette reported.
The Hat Creek plant, inside Bossier City, Louisiana, opened in October 2017 and also provides sand to Louisiana and Texas fracking sites.
“The Hat Creek facility is located within several hundred yards of fully developed subdivisions and has created no issues that have affected its neighbors in any negative manner. Likewise, at River Ridge, the company hopes to have a very open and productive relationship with its neighbors and surrounding communities,” he said.
The 1,985-acre Doddridge site has about 1,200 acres that are suitable for mining operations, he said.
Dirt work has begun for the plant on the west bank of the Red River east of Doddridge, while the company seeks permit approval from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to move ahead with the project.
The foundation will soon be poured, with operations beginning in the first three months of 2019, McMaster said.
The company will build an office and four 5,000-ton silos initially, with room to add two more if market demand exists. The wet plant, or processing plant, will be below the ridge in the alluvial ground. A long conveyor will move washed material to the top of the hill to be dried, screened and stored in silos for pickup, McMaster said.
The silos will remain full at all times as long as the plant is running properly, McMaster said. More sand should be placed in the silos as quickly as the trucks pick it up.
McMaster said about 200 to 250 trucks per day on average will carry sand from the plant on Miller County Road 4.
In a letter, County Judge Roy John McNatt states the company can use 2.5 miles of CR 4 — from state Highway 160 South to the plant entrance — for all construction vehicles. In return, Performance Proppants agrees to maintain the road and repair any damage caused by truck traffic, according to the letter.
McMaster said Performance Proppants’ primary objective is to establish a successful business in Miller County, providing for an increase in tax revenues realized by the county and jobs for the surrounding communities.
“Safety is of utmost concern to Performance Proppants, and any matters pertaining to the safety of its employees or neighbors will be handled with the highest level of diligence and urgency,” McMaster said.
Information from: Texarkana Gazette, http://www.texarkanagazette.com