Arizona Frac Sand Mine DevelopmentNear the town of Sanders, Arizona montmorillonite clay is mined from a deposit that has unconsolidated sand as its overburden. Most of this unconsolidated sand is common but in certain areas of the clay mine pits, round grain sand was encountered. Round sand that meets American Petroleum Institute (API) Standards is used as a frac or proppant sand to develop oil and gas wells. To meet API Standards tests are conducted for roundness, sphericity, crush resistance, acid solubility and size range.
In 2005 Trabits Group began working with clay mine operators to determine which areas of the mines encountered the round sand. Using aerial photographs and satellite imagery Trabits Group found a large ancient water-placed channel that trended north south through the clay mine areas. The location of this "paleochannel" was field checked using a small portable vacuum sampling drill. Stim-Lab in Duncan, Oklahoma, tested samples collected for conformance to API Specifications.
During 2006 Trabits Group and two financial partners obtained leases to 760 acres in the heart of the paleochannel area. Detailed drilling on the leases proved more than 17 million tons of recoverable API quality sand. Given the confirmed resource Trabits Group purchased a 20-acre plant site adjacent to the BNSF Railroad and negotiated a track-siding lease with BNSF. Trabits Group sold its interest in the project in 2007.