Scott County, which showed little interest in stalling silica sand mining within its borders despite some citizen opposition, is now making clear just how big the potential payoff is.
The County Board approved an agreement under which it would collect 27.5 pennies per ton in royalties, based on the current average price, from the first of two mining operations expected to function along Hwy. 169 south of Shakopee.
While prices and tons mined per year will depend on various factors, officials said, the county would reap more than half a million dollars a year from just the smaller of the two sites if that site were to yield 500,000 tons in a year.
"The agreement is based on a percent and not a set amount," commissioners were told in an internal memo. "Thus if the price goes up for silica sand the county shares in that increase; if it goes down we are also a party to that decline."
Demand for silica sand has skyrocketed as its use in "fracking" to extract oil has increased.