Shuttered sand mine outside Creighton selling off assets

Pieces of a shuttered silica sand mine operation outside Creighton are being sold to the highest bidder, dampening hopes that the business might one day reopen.

Preferred Sands (PS) operated the Hanson Lake sand mine until its closure sometime in 2014 or possibly early 2015.

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PS has now sold its Hanson Lake assets to Hilco Industrial, an equipment auctioneer firm, and Gordon Brothers Group, a restructuring, advisory and investment firm.

On its website, Gordon Brothers lists dozens of items available from Hanson Lake, including silos, technical equipment, conveyers, temporary living quarters and other buildings, and excavators.

News of the auction disappointed Creighton Mayor Bruce Fidler, who was aware of the sand mine’s closure but few other verifiable details.

“To me that means they’re not thinking about reopening, but I definitely would like to see somebody take it over and continue the [operation] because it does employ a number of people from our area,” said Fidler.

In a statement to The Reminder, PS said Hanson Lake was no longer a strategic fit for the company since it can deliver premium northern white sand to Canadian customers more cost-effectively from its Wisconsin locations.

Gordon Brothers and Hilco issued a little-known press release on January 29, 2015 announcing they had acquired “certain assets” comprising the Hanson Lake facility.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Preferred Sands to acquire its high-quality Hanson Lake facility assets in a deal that is beneficial to all parties involved,” Jim Lightburn, managing director of the commercial and industrial division of Gordon Brothers, said in the release.

“While the acquired assets have served sand mining applications for the oil and gas industry,” the release added, “they have adjacent uses in many other industries, including general mining, construction and infrastructure development.”

Fidler, who estimates at least 20 Creighton residents used to work at the sand mine, said he would be looking into the situation himself.

Representatives from Gordon Brothers and Hilco did not return calls and emails.

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