- The U.S. shale bonanza is creating a boom in fracking sand, whose use has increased 25% since 2011, with a further 20% rise expected in the next two years, WSJ reports.
- It takes 25 railcars of sand, on average, to frack one well, and companies are experimenting with increasing the amount of sand they use to see if it boosts output.
- Sand mining companies have benefited greatly: Shares in Hi-Crush Partners (HCLP) have jumped 59% since Aug. 2012, while U.S. Silica (SLCA) has doubled since the company went public in 2012.
- But concerns are growing over pollution from silica dust, which has been linked to cancer and lung diseases; the huge increase in demand for sand has some believing that some companies are operating with a sharper focus on production than on how that production is achieved.
In fracking, sand is the new gold, but health concerns rise
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