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Industrial Sand

Location of industrial sand extraction site

Industrial sand refers to sand with a high percentage of quartz, thus having a fairly pure SiO2 content.  Many industrial uses for sand require that it be pure, inert, and resistant to high temperatures.  High purity industrial sand is used in glass making, ceramics, filtration, hydraulic fracturing, and in chemicals.

Industrial (silica) sand is presently mined at a single location in Virginia. Unimin Corporation, part of the Sibelco Group, conducts surface mining and mineral processing at facilities located near Gore in Frederick County.  The material is mined from the Devonian-age Ridgeley Sandstone. In 2017, the company reported total production of about 582 thousand short tons, down about 10 percent from the tonnage reported in 2016.


Industrial sand production and value, 1983-2013.

Figure 1. Industrial (silica) sand production, 2000-2017



Selected References:

Virginia Division of Mineral Resources, 1993, Geologic Map of Virginia: Virginia Division of Mineral Resources, scale 1:500,000.

Harris, W.B., 1972, High-silica resources of Clarke, Frederick, Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren counties, Virginia: Division of Mineral Resources Mineral Resources Report 11, 42 p.

Sweet, P.C., 1981, High-silica resources in Augusta, Bath, Highland, and Rockbridge counties, Virginia: Division of Mineral Resources Publication 32, 22 p.

Sweet, P.C., and Wilkes, G.P., 1986, High-silica resources in Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig, and Roanoke counties, Virginia: Division of Mineral Resources Publication 67, 22 p.

Sweet, P.C., 1986, Virginia's industrial silica resources: Division of Mineral Resources Virginia Minerals, Vol 32, No 1, February 1986, p. 1-9.