By: Ami Gignac, Workforce Liaison Officer
Members of the Wanipigow Sand team headed south this week to tour operations that are similar to our processing facility scheduled to start construction by Turnkey Processing Solutions this Spring 2019. We also visited the silica sand quality testing facility that is analyzing the core drill samples collected from our property in the past few months. The test results and analysis continue to reinforce the magnitude and superior quality of silica sand in our deposit. This information will feed the engineering required for our mine plan and design of our processing plant to assure optimum quality and recovery.
We truly appreciated the opportunity to physically walk around operating plants while chatting with the local management teams about safety leadership, workforce development, environmental concerns, quality assurance and what to expect during start-up next year. A few of the key takeaways from our trip;
“We expect every employee to be a Safety Leader.”
We unanimously agreed that the top priority during every tour was the safety of the employees, contractors, and visitors. Every tour started with a site-specific hazard awareness conversation led by the local safety professional and manager. They stressed the importance of empowering all employees to be safety leaders and it was evident to us in the field. We observed open communication, consistency, trust, and respect all throughout the labor force. We were also impressed that every employee was wearing the same PPE (personal protective equipment) that we will require at our facility; hard hat, hard-toe boots, safety glasses, reflective clothing, and gloves, earplugs, and respirators when required.
“The dust is nothing like walking down the road in Hollow Water on a dry summer night.”
Our tour was an opportunity to experience the noise and dust of a silica sand facility first hand. We were all impressed by just how clean and quiet these operations are. Our tour guides shared that they work very hard to collect dust from the source equipment that never becomes airborne, but instead travels through a system of pipes and hoses to a baghouse for collection. Derek Bushie chuckled that, “The dust is nothing like walking down the road in Hollow Water on a dry summer night.” We also realized how quiet the operations are when the loudest noises were coming from the traffic on the local interstate highway.
“It’s one thing to look at a water recycling system on paper or to hear about it, it’s another thing to see it in operation. The water coming off the system was incredibly clear.”
Our sand will be processed with water that is completely recycled by a system similar to what we saw on our tours. The system does not use any toxic chemicals or acids in the process. A slurry of water and ultra-fine material dirt and sand (comparable to a “mud milkshake”) enters the water recycle system, solids drop to the bottom of the thickener, and clear water pours off the top of the thickener tank to be reused at the processing plant. For some of us on the tour, this was the first time seeing a process water recycling system and thickener in operation. It’s one thing to look at a water recycling system on paper or to hear about it, it’s another thing to see it in operation. No one anticipated the magnitude of the system or appreciated just how clear the water would be that was being recycled back into the plant… it was truly impressive!
“This is a life-changing opportunity, so let’s make the most of it.”
This week was a gift for our team and we want to sincerely thank everyone that made this happen, including Bob Archibald, the COO of Canadian Premium Sand. We will follow the lead of these world-class operators by implementing behavioral safety initiatives, creative workforce development programs, and operational best practices to ensure that Wanipigow Sand is a success today and in our future. We look forward to the opportunity to train the young men and women in the community to be world class producers of silica sand in Canada. This is a life-changing opportunity, so let’s make the most of it!
Would you like to learn more about our project and employment opportunities at Wanipigow Sand? Follow us on Facebook and stop by our office in Seymourville for updates!