The retired vice president of technology and development for ConocoPhillips, Stephen Brand, will give the keynote address Monday in Brooklyn Center at a three-day silica sand mining conference organized by the University of Minnesota-Duluth's Precambrian Research Center. The Conference on the Silica Sand Resources of Minnesota and Wisconsin will delve into various frac sand issues, including air quality, land reclamation and ground water protection.

The event will draw protesters at 4:30 p.m. on Monday. Opponents to the frac sand industry have chartered a bus from southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin to rally outside the Earle Brown Heritage Center, 6155 Earle Brown Drive. The theme of the protest? "There is no right way to do something so wrong."