CanWhite Sands (CWS) – Vivian, MB

The proposed silica sand mining and processing plant is targeted to be built just south of Vivian in Springfield.

Silica sand is a purifying and cleansing agent for our water.

  • It will utilize an unprecedented airlift/water mining process with no established safe outcome to extract approximately 1.36 million tones per year of silica sand from the Sandstone Aquifer. 
  • This naturally present silica sand is a purifying and cleansing agent, creating some of the most pristine sources of water in the world.
  • CWS will drill in excess of 450 wells per year through both the Carbonate and Sandstone Aquifers which will create potentially permanent contamination sources to both aquifers.
  • With sustained drilling into it, the limestone layer between the aquifers does not meet minimum thickness required for stability and may potentially collapse, compromising well seals which will expose the aquifer to contamination from surface contaminants I.e. fecal, chemical, bacteria, pathogens.
  • CanWhite admits that the protective shale layer (Aquitard), separating the Carbonate and Sandstone Aquifers, may be compromised by sand extraction, resulting in cross contamination.
  • To move the silica sand a slurry transport via an untested pipeline system will carrying highly toxic acrylamide monomer to/from the processing plant. 
  • A break in the line could spill close to 24 cubic meters a minute (enough to fill about an Olympic sized pool every 2 hours) potentially contaminating the underlying Carbonate Aquifer and nearby water bodies.
  • CWS proposes UV sterilization of aerated water before re-injecting the water used from the mining process back into the wells. Not only would this process potentially introduce aerobic bacteria and fungi to grow in the Sandstone aquifer the effectiveness of this treatment is questionable due to high amount of suspended particulates including iron and manganese concentrations being above allowable limits for scattering of UV light which would render the sterilization process ineffective.
  • Contamination of the aquifer by re-injected aerated water could also react with proven sources of sulphide containing materials to form sulphuric acid that may leach toxic heavy metals, arsenic, aluminum, cadmium as well as oxidizing other toxic metals such as selenium.
  • 124,000 cubic meters or 32,000,000 gallons of water will be directly lost annually from the Sandstone Aquifer from the 1.36 million tonnes of silica sand being mined. 
  • CWS silica sand mining and processing will put at risk drinking water from all private wells north and west of Vivian, as well as the municipal water supply for Oakbank, Dugald, and Anola which will all use the Sandstone Aquifer.