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Frac Sand at Minago


Overview of the wet portion of a fracturing sand plant designed and provided by Outotec
While nickel gets the most attention at Minago, one of the more unique features of this large and valuable project is not a metal at all, but a high-value by-product with the potential to generate substantial revenues - frac sand.

Frac sand is used in the oil and gas industry to increase flow to the wellhead (Please Click Here to View High Demand for Sands). Vast quantities are consumed in hydraulic fracturing and demand for frac sand is expected to increase as shale gas plays in Canada and the US rise to prominence. At Minago, frac sand is contained in a sandstone layer approximately 10 metres thick and overlying the nickel deposit. This layer must be removed as part of pre-stripping the open pit and, according to engineering firm Wardrop, a Tetra Tech Company, the proposed pit area contains a marketable frac sand resource of 11.2 million tonnes, with additional tonnage potential for the future.

It's important to remember that the sandstone layer is not confined to the Minago pit area, and that this resource estimate doesn't consider the potentially significant additional tonnage of frac sand that exists outside the open pit limits and which could conceivably be mined using conventional underground mining methods. The demand for high-quality frac sand, such as the resource at Minago, should continue to expand given the development of unconventional oil and gas resource plays such as the Montney and Horn River regions in northeast British Columbia, the Barnett and Woodford regions in the southern United States and new emerging plays such as the Marcellus region in the northeast US. This could represent a significant new industry for the province of Manitoba.

Minago Frac Sand Exceeds API Specifications Across the Board

Minago Frac Sand Lab Analysis Compared with American Petroleum Institute Standards

  API Standard Minago (20/40 Sand)
Sphericity Greater than 0.6 0.72
Roundness Greater than 0.6 0.78
Acid Solubility Less than 2% 0.92%
Silt Test (Turbidity) Less than 250 ftu 24 ftu
Crush Resistance Maximum 14% fines 11.5%

 

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