Hoffman Construction begins work on Monroe County sand mine

February 29, 2012

by Steve Rundio | Lee Newspapers

Jim Hoffman believes there’s a big upside to the frac sand mining boom. “We have all our equipment working,” said James Hoffman, president of Hoffman Construction Co. in Black River Falls. “It has been a huge benefit for our company.” Hoffman’s company, established in 1927, was awarded the earthwork contract for the Unimin sand mine in the town of Greenfield in Monroe County. He expects the earthwork portion to be completed by April 27.

“We are working two shifts, six days per week to get the site prepared for the next step of construction of the building and rail spur,” he said.

It’s the third sand mine project for Hoffman Construction, which also has done earthwork for mines in Chippewa County and Minnesota. Hoffman also hopes to win contracts for other mines on the drawing board.

He said sand mining has filled a void left by a shrinking number of highway projects.“Instead of doing DOT work, we’re working frac sand mining,” he said.

Hoffman said his firm recently has purchased $5 million in heavy equipment that has a “positive economic ripple effect that extends to businesses in Tomah ... along with Peoria, Ill., where the machines were made.”

Hoffman acknowledged local opposition to the project. He said his company and Unimin are “committed to being good neighbors to residents of Tunnel City and the surrounding area.”

He said the company erected a berm to prevent headlights from shining into neighboring houses and that water is regularly spread over the dirt to mitigate dust.

The company has more than 150 full-time workers at the site. “There is a positive in this activity, and it’s reflected in the payroll,” he said.

::Originally posted by The Tomah Journal, February 29, 2012::