Another large frac-sand mine is being proposed in west central Wisconsin.
U-S Silica says it wants to open a 650-acre silica sand operation near Fairchild, almost 30 miles southeast of Eau Claire. Dozens of mines have opened in the western half of Wisconsin in recent years, after oil companies discovered that the region has high-quality sand that improves the performance of their oil-and-gas drilling equipment. Supporters say the mines help the U-S reduce its reliance on foreign oil. Critics are concerned about environmental problems. U-S Silica says it has not secured the proposed new Fairchild mining site yet, and it has not applied for permits. A public meeting on the project is set for Monday night in Fairchild. Officials say the new mine would employ over 60 people. It would become Eau Claire County's fourth frac-sand mine.