We specialize in processing high-quality industrial sand and silica products for glass manufacturing, construction, and oil and gas exploration. This same type of industrial sand is also used in municipal water filtration systems, pool filters, play sand and athletic fields. In 2011, our location produced approximately 500,000 tons of product
The sand mined at Menomonie comes from the Wonewoc sandstone formation, deposited approximately 510 million years ago. It consists of sand grains that are almost pure quartz, round and very hard.
The mine was opened on April 30, 2008 and operates during warm weather months (March to November). Our plant shipped its first product on July 1, 2008 and operates year-round.
WISC leases 279 acres from Cardinal Glass Industries.
Our staff includes 26 workers including hourly, salaried, and regional employees.
We employ a multi-step process to produce high-quality silica sand.
We use a surface mining method. Sandstone is drilled and blasted from a high wall. Then the loose sand is removed by front-end loaders and fed to the wash plant.
Washing (the wet process)
The sand is first screened to remove large rocks then mixed with water. The resulting slurry is pumped to the wash plant to remove clay, shale, and fine material, otherwise known as the “tailings.” These tailings are separated from the water, which is recycled and returned back to the wash plant.
The clean, wet sand is transported by conveyor belts to a natural gas dryer, to remove all moisture.
The dry sand is fed to a set of screening machines that separate the grains of sand by size. Each size gradation is deposited into a separate product silo. The sand is tested to ensure that it meets product specifications.
The finished sand products are shipped to customers by rail and truck.
WISC is regulated by the Federal Government’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). At the end of 2011, Menomonie exceeded 1,584 days without a lost time accident and Fairmount Minerals exceeded 1 million safe working hours.
Local trucking companies are hired to haul sand to rail load-out stations in the area, including terminals at Cardinal Glass and in Wheeler. Drivers are required to sign contracts agreeing to obey all traffic laws, be courteous drivers and to ensure that their trucks are completely covered during transportation.
WISC employees load all sand and must sign off on each individual truck before it leaves the property to ensure compliance. Our employees also periodically monitor trucks along designated haul routes to further ensure compliance with all rules and regulations.
We strive to exceed standard sustainable development practices and expectations in ensuring that our actions consider the impact on each of the three pillars of sustainability: People, Planet, and Prosperity. A big part of that is giving back to the communities where we live and work.
$216,000 in grants were made to schools in Dunn and Pierce Counties through the Fairmount Minerals Foundation in 2011. An additional $124,600 was donated to local non-profit organizations in the same year.
Menomonie employees volunteered over 700 hours within the community in 2011. Projects included:
- Clean-up of the Rush River
- Adopt-A-Highway trash pick up
- Stocking shelves at a local food pantry
- Over 20 educational tours and presentations for community groups
We uphold strict standards of groundwater monitoring and air quality monitoring and control. Almost all water used at the facility is recycled.
Menomonie is certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council for our Wildlife at Work and Corporate Lands for Learning programs. An education advisory committee determines what projects are completed each year within these programs.
The office building’s green design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions have received a Gold Certification from the U.S. Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program. New solar panels were installed in October 2011 that offset almost all of the power consumed by the office building, which also houses the quality control lab and the maintenance shop.
The economic impact in the Dunn County region for wages, benefits and secondary employment is $2,413,000 annually. There are additional economic impacts from Fairmount Minerals including direct expenditures for goods and services purchase locally.
Plant and Mining Operations
Aaron Scott | Plant Manager
Fairmount Minerals Menomonie Operations
N5628 580th Street
Menomonie, WI 54751
Fairmount Minerals Foundation
Lauren Evans | Regional Sustainable Development Coordinator
Wildlife at Work, Corporate Lands for Learning
Michele Maxson | Regional EHS Coordinator