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 2013, the company reported total production of about 701 thousand short tons, up slightly from 692 thousand short tons reported in 2012. Recent production has increased substantially since 2009; annual production reported from this mine between 2000 and 2009 averaged about 400 thousand short tons (Figure 1). The sand is processed and classified on site, then shipped by rail to markets that include glass and ceramic manufacture, building products, filtration and energy service applications.
Figure 1. Industrial (silica) sand production, 2000-2013
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. https://www.dmme.virginia.gov/commerce/ProductDetails.aspx?productID=2311
Sweet, P.C., 1981, High-silica resources in Augusta, Bath, Highland, and Rockbridge counties, Virginia: Division of Mineral Resources Publication 32, 22 p. https://www.dmme.virginia.gov/commerce/ProductDetails.aspx?productID=2418
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. https://www.dmme.virginia.gov/commerce/ProductDetails.aspx?productID=2377
Sweet, P.C., 1986, Virginia's industrial silica resources: Division of Mineral Resources Virginia Minerals, Vol 32, No 1, February 1986, p. 1-9.