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Mining and processing operations double from 2011 to 2012

Wisconsin’s Sand Rush

2011 Mine sites map

View the frac sand mining and processing operations that were under construction last year. Click the image below to open a larger version.

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Five years ago, Wisconsin only had a handful of industrial sand facilities. Over the past two years, the increased demand for frac sand drove explosive growth in the state’s sand industry. Frac sand operations, including mining sites, processing plants and loading stations where the sand is poured into rail cars for transport, more than doubled in the past year. Some companies, such as Preferred Sands in Blair, operate all-in-one facilities where the sand is mined, processed and loaded into rail cars at one contained site. Other companies, such as EOG in Chippewa Falls, have a network of several mine sites that serve one processing plant and rail-loading facility. Smaller mine operators without their own processing capabilities haul sand to processing and transportation hubs including Marshfield or Winona, Minn.

The map below, updated in October 2012, shows 115 sites currently permitted and proposed frac sand facilities in Wisconsin, as well as 6 recently rejected or withdrawn mine applications. Of the facilites shown, 95 are permitted and the remaining 20 are still in the proposal stages, but WCIJ reporting found that most proposed mines eventually receive permits, so we included them on the map. Sites are color coded by the type of facility; mining, processing or both.

Main Story: Wisconsin frac sand sites double (July 22, 2012)

Map of frac sand facilites in Wisconsin, October 2012

Below is the data we used to create the map. The status of the sites is likely to change as newly constructed sites begin operations and proposed sites move through the permit process. Know of an update? Email

You can download a spreadsheet of the data here: 2012 WI Frac Sand Sites Oct update

The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism ( collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.

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Kate Golden, multimedia director and reporter, specializes in environmental stories and data visualizations.

3 replies on “Map: Frac sand mining in Wisconsin, October, 2012”

  1. The site you list in the town of Union, Waupaca county is not operating…….AF Gelhar has yet to have the permit approved by the county zoning committee. The Town of Union said no to the permit and shifted it off to the county……they didn’t make a decision and sent it back again to the town where a decision is yet to be made.

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