September 30, 2015 Edition

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Silica plant to start
production in 2016

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

American Silica, Inc., a fracturing plant located north of Black Rock, is set to start production in early 2016, according to County Judge Dale Freeman.

American Silica, which is based in Florida, processes aggregate materials for the oil and gas industry.

Freeman has been working with the owners Tommy Bronson, Kenny Day and Dan Cook over the past several years to find the location of the plant and aided in the building up of County Road 210, where the plant will be located.

The $35-million-project is expected to start with 30 plant workers and 40 truck drivers. Brunson has owned numerous businesses in the area, including a rock-crushing facility, and the owners of the Silica plant are making it a priority to hire locally.

"Just about everyone will be local," Freeman said.

With 40 trucks and each truck making as many as four trips daily, increased traffic in the area is being prepared for. Trucks will bring materials in from Sharp and Independence counties using Highway 25. Freeman said trucks would take Highway 63 to Highway 25, and they will not run Highways 115 or 117.

Freeman is looking into grants to assist in putting black top over County Road 210. Silica has offered to pay for the remainder of the project after grants.

After the materials have been processed in the plant, they will be shipped out via rail car. A 140-car-capacity railroad spur has been constructed at the plant. Silica will operate its own engine, which will take cars out to be picked up by BNSF Railway for shipment

Freeman said he understands the operation has the potential for growth and believes it will be good for the county.

"You couldn't have nicer people to work with," Freeman said.

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