To frack a shale well takes about 100 truck loads of sand which works out to about 6,000 to 8,000 tons.
Sands that are 95% or more silica sand flow almost like water and are desired for fracking. Silica Sand is round and spherical and it is harder and stronger then quartz sand.
Fracking Sands are certified by the American Petroleum Institute, a trade group. Construction sand sells local for around $6 to $30 in most areas where as fracking sand sells for $60 to $100 a ton.
Most sands are too soft, or the wrong shape or too prone to react with fracking water and chemicals to be used for fracking.
Demand for the right "fracking sands" seems to be doubling every year. The federal agency that keeps statistics estimates 40% of sand production in U.S. Now goes to fracking.
There are sand mines shipping to the major fracking sites from Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Arkansas and Texas.
There are clay fields in North Dakota, and the university there is attempting to turn it into a ceramic sand. Ceramic sands (baked clay globules) are selling for $1,500 a ton compared to under $100 for silica sand.
A resin coated sand which makes it tougher, according to reports is currently selling for between $600 to $800 a ton.
Illinois and other areas are developing expensive resin coating sand plants and others are considering the investment.
The fracking sand business is considered to be long term since all of these wells now being fracked are likely to be refracked many times over during their expected ten to twenty year life time.
Many sand mines have 100 to 200 employees and are operating 24 hours a day to meet the demand for "fracking" sand. Some ship via 25 ton especially made tanker trucks for fast unloading of sand, and others are shipping in via rail.
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