Demand for frac sand falls in Wis., Minn. - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Demand for frac sand falls in Wis., Minn.

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WINONA, Minn. (AP) -- Short-term demand for frac sand in western Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota has fallen because there's more sand available than the industry currently needs.

Demand had exploded several years ago, spurring companies to open mines and processing facilities and ship across the country for fracking operations.

Paul van Eijl works on purchasing land for Superior Sand Systems in the region. He says until demand increases the company's new facility in Wabasha, permitted in December 2012, will likely remain idle.

The Freedonia Group, a market research organization, estimates that the annual demand for silica sand will increase by at least 4.8 percent every year at least until 2016.

Winona County planning and environmental services director Jason Gilman says he suspects the stabilization is only temporary.

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