The make-or-break issue for the sand mine U.S. Silica is proposing to build in what is now the city of Sparta will be the mine's impact on the aquifer.
"The impact on the aquifer is the most critical thing," Jahn said. U.S. Silica is doing its own evaluation. "If it those answers come back all negative and we can't address the issues, that could be the fatal flaw in the process," said Jeff Jahn, mine planning and development manager and U.S. Silica's on-the-ground man for U.S. Silica.
For those of us who have dealt with sand mines operating in the eastern half of Monroe County, U.S. Silica is a whole new ball game. In Tunnel City, Unimin, for example, quietly bought up 500 acres of land under the name of a different company. Only then did it introduce itself to its neighbors, who woke up to find themselves surrounded by a giant sand mine.
U.S. Silica, on the other hand, has an option to buy, has launched an impressive outreach campaign and even brought in its CEO to meet with locals. It is planning an open house tomorrow.
The Sparta mine is a different kind of mine than those operating in the eastern half of the county. It is dredge mining, which is possible when the sand deposit and water table are high, as is the case in the Sparta site.