Canadian Manufacturing

CN to invest $35-million in Wisconsin, aimed at frac sand production

Rail firm signed multi-year agreement to move frac sand from new processing plant in Wisconsin

CHICAGO—CN Rail and Superior Silica Sands have signed a multi-year agreement to move frac sand from a new processing plant now under construction in northern Wisconsin.

Texas-based Superior Silica Sands is building an 85-acre sand processing plant and rail storage facility adjacent to CN’s Barron Subdivision near Poskin, Wis., capable of producing up to 2.4-million tons per year of high-quality frac sand products.

CN this spring launched a $35-million project to restore nearly 40 miles of track between Ladysmith and Barron, Wis.

CN will upgrade rail and replace railroad ties, repair culverts and bridges and restore rail service along the line.

The Barron Subdivision will connect to CN’s North American rail network at Ladysmith and will be in service later this year.

CN will provide rail service to the new plant, moving frac sand from northern Wisconsin to shale drilling areas across North America, including Western Canada.

“Over the last three years, CN’s frac sand market has grown nearly 70 percent, reaching 35,000 carloads and $100 million in revenue in 2011, and we hope that our end-to-end service focus will help us grow this market to become a $300-million business for CN in the next three-to-five year horizon,” CN executive vice-president Jean-Jacques Ruest said in a statement.

Superior Silica Sands broke ground on the processing plant and rail storage yard this month and expects to start production this November.

Superior Silica Sands has invested more than $50-million in this frac sand operation, which is expected to bring more than 100 new jobs to the area.

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