WisBusiness: Sand mining companies band together for outreach, code of conduct

Four mining companies operating in Wisconsin announced today they have formed the Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association and created a code of conduct for members to follow.

WISA President Rich Budinger, regional manager for Fairmount Minerals, one of the four founding members, said the companies decided to create the organization because of the rapid growth in sand mining operations in Wisconsin and the questions surrounding the industry.

He said the WISA, which also includes founding members Badger Mining Corp., U.S. Silica and Unimin, hopes to create a positive dialogue with both government officials and local communities near mines to address their questions while establishing standards for things such as safety and the environment.

“Our primary focus is setting the golden standard for sand mining in the state of Wisconsin,” Budinger said.

According to a report by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, the number of permitted and proposed sand mines in Wisconsin has doubled to 106 in the past year. There have also been some issues with local governments over the costs associated with the operations such as the impact of heavy loads on local roads.

The WCIJ report also looks at residents living near mines who have with concerns about air quality, noise, water use and potential threats to tourism. Read the report for details.

Budinger said there are no pressing issues now pending before the Legislature that are concerns for the WISA. Still, he said the group wants to be available for any issues that arise.

“We absolutely want to be as proactive as we possibly can when it comes to that discussion at any level,” Budinger said.