EOG Resources Inc., the company poised to open a sand processing plant in Chippewa Falls, will haul sand from two Chippewa County mine sites, a company official confirmed Wednesday.
In addition to the site in the town of Howard, the company will haul sand from a mine site about five miles away in the town of Cooks Valley, according to plant General Manager Tim Stauffer.
And unlike in the town of Howard, EOG Resources has no agreement with the town of Cooks Valley to limit the months in which the mine will operate. Stauffer said that company will haul sand from the Cooks Valley site when the Howard mine is idle.
Last week, EOG and the town of Howard, announced an agreement in which the company made a number of concessions in response to town concerns about mine operations.
“They really wanted it to be (operated) in a condensed period,” said Stauffer.
The company ultimately agreed that no mining, blasting or hauling would be done at the Howard site from May 1 through Oct. 15, effectively shutting the plant down for nearly half the year.
But that doesn’t mean that EOG will not have the sand to keep the Chippewa Falls plant in continuous operation, not does it mean that the company will have to stockpile a supply at the plant site.
EOG will simply turn to the Cooks Valley site.
“That will be the summer months mine,” Stauffer said.
However, without an agreement with Cooks Valley, EOG will be able to haul sand from the site all year long.
This will make EOG the third company that plans to mine sand in Cooks Valley. The others are Preferred Sand and Chippewa Sand Company. A fourth firm, Superior Silica Sand, plans to mine sand in southern Barron County.
Stauffer confirmed the agreement to mine sand on Cooks Valley property owned by Denny Schindler while at a groundbreaking ceremony for Chippewa Sand Transport, the company contracted by EOG Resources to haul sand from mine sites to the sand processing plant.
The company displayed one of the new trucks manufactured specifically for the purpose of sand hauling.
The trucks feature a Kenworth tractor, one of the big names in the semi tractor business, and a trailer specially built by Travis Trailers, a Texas firm.
“It’s something they specialize in,” said Doug Titera, operations manager for Chippewa Sand Transport.
The trucks are covered, with an electrically-operated tarp that unrolls to cover the load. The aluminum trailer is designed to be lightweight, but strong enough to haul 26 tons of sand in a single load.
Unloading is by gravity from the bottom of the trailer. The sand would be unloaded below onto a conveyor system that would move the sand through the processing plant.
Chippewa Sand Transport General Manager Bobbie Scheel said the company will have 21 such trucks.
Titera said the company would employ 40 drivers within the first month of the sand plant’s operation, with growth to about 60 drivers expected.
The company has just started construction of a building on the site, which is immediately to the west of the sand plant site. A residential home that was on the site was moved by the owner to a new location, according to Chippewa Falls Chamber of Commerce President Michael Jordan.
“We are dedicated to being good neighbors to the area around us, and also the safest neighbors,” said Scheel at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Meanwhile, work continues at the sand plant in Chippewa Falls. Stauffer said the company hopes the plant will be up and running in October.
The company received 529 applications for about 50 jobs at the plant.
“I bet 90 percent were from the Chippewa Falls/Eau Claire area. I was shocked that there were that many people looking for work here,” Stauffer said.
The application pool was narrowed to about 85, with interviews taking place this week, Stauffer said.