A potential buyer contacted us last week looking for more information about the Preferred Sands operation at the Cheto mine east of Sanders on the Navajo Reservation in northeast Arizona that is for sale as turnkey operation. The sales brochure from agent Hilco Industrial says the facility has an estimated reserve of 130 million tons of premium coarse grained sand for use in hydraulic fracturing of shale oil deposits.
The nationwide boom in shale gas and shale oil development has created a huge demand for frac sands to use as proppants in the reservoirs to hold open the fractures so oil and gas can flow to the wellbore. Different producing horizons may require sands of different grain size, shapes, and strengths. The Arizona frac sands are shipped out of state.
Nyal Niemuth, Chief of the AZGS Economic Geology Section in Phoenix, shared some other relevant resources about frac sands in Arizona.
Englehard, the former desiccant clay mine operator, apparently starting investing in a plant to expand frac sand recovery in 2006.
Trabits group explored the sand area east of Sanders 2005 - 2007
Azfab is located in Tuscon on Grant Road and constructs sand plants. See their frac sand plants here http://www.azfab.com/portfolio/
Proppant Selection slide presentation by Kullman 2011
A frac sand conference agenda from summer 2013 lists papers from a few specialists in the field http://www.fracsandinsider.com/index.php?c=3500&d=5022&e=5023&w=9&r=Y