Location of industrial sand extraction site

Industrial sand refers to sand with a high percentage of quartz, thus having a fairly pure SiO2 content.  Many industrial uses for sand require that it be pure, inert, and resistant to high temperatures.  High purity industrial sand is used in glass making, ceramics, filtration, hydraulic fracturing, and in chemicals.

Industrial (silica) sand is presently mined at a single location in Virginia. COVIA conducts surface mining and mineral processing at facilities located near Gore in Frederick County.  The material is mined from the Devonian-age Ridgeley Sandstone. In 2019, the company reported total production of about 556 thousand short tons, down about 4 percent from the tonnage reported in 2017.

COVIA processing plant and fresh water impoundment

COVIA processing plant and fresh water impoundment


Year of first production in Virginia: 1978
County locations with commercial mining: Frederick
Quantity produced in 2019: 556 thousand tons
Estimated value of produced minerals in 2019: $25.4 million

Figure 2. Industrial (silica) sand production

Annual production and estimated value1

1 Estimates of annual mineral value are calculated using tonnages reported to DMME and commodity sales prices reported in numerous published and unpublished sources. The prices may include national or global industry averages. The calculated annual values do not necessarily reflect the actual sales prices received by mine operators in Virginia.

Selected References:

Virginia Division of Mineral Resources, 1993, Geologic Map of Virginia: Virginia Division of Mineral Resources, scale 1:500,000.

Harris, W.B., 1972, High-silica resources of Clarke, Frederick, Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren counties, Virginia: Division of Mineral Resources Mineral Resources Report 11, 42 p.  https://www.energy.virginia.gov/commerce/ProductDetails.aspx?productID=2311

Sweet, P.C., 1981, High-silica resources in Augusta, Bath, Highland, and Rockbridge counties, Virginia: Division of Mineral Resources Publication 32, 22 p.  https://www.energy.virginia.gov/commerce/ProductDetails.aspx?productID=2418

Sweet, P.C., and Wilkes, G.P., 1986, High-silica resources in Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig, and Roanoke counties, Virginia: Division of Mineral Resources Publication 67, 22 p.   https://www.energy.virginia.gov/commerce/ProductDetails.aspx?productID=2377

Sweet, P.C., 1986, Virginia's industrial silica resources: Division of Mineral Resources Virginia Minerals, Vol 32, No 1, February 1986, p. 1-9.