The sand deposits in North Dakota are getting a second look. They were checked about 10 years ago for usability with fracking and the industry decided against it.
The sand typically used by oil companies is more than 99% quartz and comes from Minnesota and Wisconsin. The sand in North Dakota deposits is naturally up to 60% quartz, but through processing it can be raised to 85%.
"That's not a hundred percent quartz and because of that, the overall quality of the proppant sand goes down, the crush strength gets lower, and so it's much more difficult to make a lower quality sand like that work in the Bakken system," said Fred Anderson, North Dakota Geological Survey.
The two deposits closest to oil country are in the Denbigh area, and between Hazen and Stanton. Asgard Resources, of Williston, is looking to develop those sites. Some testing is still being done to determine if they can be used.