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Hi-Crush to pause plant production at Whitehall frac-sand mine

Hi-Crush Partners, which operates one of the largest frac-sand mines in Wisconsin, has paused production at a plant in Whitehall, citing weak demand for its product.

The Houston-based company announced on Wednesday that it would temporarily halt operations at its dry plant in Whitehall, although it will continue to operate a wet plant and sell sand at the site. The company continues to run both wet and dry plants at its other mines in Wisconsin, including Wyeville, Augusta and Blair. The company did not say how many jobs would be affected by the closing.

Laura Fulton, chief financial officer at Hi-Crush, said the decision to pause operations was being driven in part by “softness” in frac-sand demand.

The company expects to sell between 2.8 million and 3 million tons in the third quarter of 2018 and expects to see strong demand in 2019. The company announced plans in July to expand production by more than 45 percent at another mine it operates in Monroe County.

In late May, a bulldozer driver working at the Whitehall mine was trapped underwater after his vehicle slid into a pond at the site. Crews on-scene breached a dike, sending more than 10 million gallons of pond water into the Trempealeau River. The Mine Safety and Health Administration cited a contractor in the incident.

About Nate Beck, nbeck@dailyreporter.com

Nate Beck is The Daily Reporter's construction staff writer. He can be reached at (414) 225-1814 (office) or 414-388-5635 (mobile).

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