We specialize in processing high-quality industrial sand and silica products for construction, animal bedding, and oil and gas exploration. This same type of sand is also used in municipal water filtration systems, pool filters, glass manufacturing, play sand, and athletic fields. In 2011, our location produced approximately 600,000 tons of product.
The sand mined at Bay City comes from the Jordan sandstone formation, deposited approximately 500 million years ago. The sandstone consists of sand grains that are almost pure quartz, round and very hard.
The Bay City mine was opened in 1919 and operated continuously until 1989. Sand mined during that period was used for foundry work, filter sand, sandblasting, and oil and gas exploration. Fairmount Minerals acquired the Bay City mine and the Hager City processing plant in 2007. The first product was shipped from Hager City in May 2008.
WISC owns 75 acres and has another 906 acres under lease agreements.
Our staff includes 36 workers including hourly, salaried, and regional employees
We employ a multi-step process to produce high-quality silica sand.
We use an underground mining method called Room and Pillar at the Bay City mine. Sandstone is drilled and blasted from the underground tunnels. Then the loose sand is removed by front-end loaders and fed to the underground wash plant.
Washing (the wet process)
The sand is first screened to remove large rocks then mixed with water. The resulting slurry is pumped to the wash plant to remove clay, shale, and fine material, otherwise known as the “tailings”. These tailings are separated from the water, which is recycled and returned back to the wash plant. The clean sand is stockpiled in underground tunnels to continue to de-water, before it is transported to the dryer.
Clean sand is transported by truck to our Hager City plant then moved by conveyor belts to a rotary dryer that removes all the moisture. A natural gas flame dries out the sand as it tumbles down through a rotating drum.
The dry sand is fed to a set of screening machines that separate the grains of sand by size. Each size gradation is deposited into a separate product silo. The sand is tested to ensure that it meets product specifications.
The finished sand products are shipped to customers by rail and truck.
WISC is regulated by the Federal Government’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). At the end of 2011, Hager City/Bay City exceeded 435 days without a lost time accident, and Fairmount Minerals exceeded 1 million safe working hours.
Local trucking companies transport sand both from the Bay City mine to the Hager City processing plant and finished product to other rail load-out stations in the area. Drivers are required to sign contracts agreeing to obey all traffic laws, be courteous drivers and to ensure that all trucks are completely covered during transport.
WISC employees load all sand and must sign off on each individual truck before it leaves the property to ensure compliance. Our employees also periodically monitor the trucks along designated haul routes, to further ensure compliance with all rules and regulations.
We strive to exceed standard sustainable development practices and expectations in ensuring that our actions consider the impact on each of the three pillars of sustainability: People, Plant, and Prosperity. A big part of that is giving back to the communities where we live and work.
$216,000 in grants were made to schools in Dunn and Pierce Counties through the Fairmount Minerals Foundation, including nearly $117,000 to the Ellsworth School District.
$124,600 was donated to local non-profit organizations in 2011. Organizations included Pierce County Historical Association, the Ellsworth Baseball Association, and Pepin Food Pantry.
Hager City/Bay City employees volunteered over 740 hours within the community in 2011. Projects included:
- Pine Creek restoration
- Adopt-A-Highway trash pick-up
- Filling sandbags for nearby flooded communities
- Plowing snow for local municipalities
- Helping build a home through Habitat for Humanity
- Clean-up of the Rush River
We uphold strict standards of groundwater monitoring and air quality monitoring and control. Almost all water used at the facility is recycled.
Hager City/Bay City is certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council for our Wildlife at Work and Corporate Lands for Learning programs. We are also certified by Saving Birds Thru Habitat. An education advisory committee determines which projects are completed each year.
Abandoned tunnels inside the Bay City mine are the site of one of the largest bat hibernacula in the Midwest, housing wintering populations of little brown bats, big brown bats, and eastern pipistrelles. WISC works closely with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to monitor the bats.
The economic impact in the Pierce County region for wages, benefits, and secondary employment is $3,341,000 annually. There are additional economic impacts from Fairmount Minerals direct expenditures for goods and services purchased locally.
Plant and Mining Operations
Jeff Himes | Plant Manager
Fairmount Minerals Hager City and Bay City Operations
N1464 770th Street
Hager City, WI 54014
Fairmount Minerals Foundation
Lauren Evans | Regional Sustainable Development Coordinator
Wildlife at Work, Corporate Lands for Learning
Michele Maxson | Regional EHS Coordinator