COOS BAY — A company that foresees an industrial renaissance in the Oregon coastal city Coos Bay hopes to mine sand for use in U.S. construction and energy production and then build a 500-unit housing complex on the leveled site.
Ocean Grove Development Group, which has an office in Ashland, and headed by a California real estate developer is seeking proposals from contractors to extract and sell sand from the 69-acre property, the World newspaper in Coos Bay reports.
The company estimates up to 4 million cubic yards of sand could be removed from the site next to a Kmart store.
Local business operators, however, say they're not seeing a demand for sand outside the local market.
Ocean Grove's website says the port at Coos Bay is in line for major improvements and could become "a strategic US energy transportation center," attracting other industries.
One of the proposals for exporting U.S. natural gas from Oregon in liquefied form would put a terminal at the port.
The company said it sees rising demand for sand for construction in regional projects such as the proposed Interstate 5 replacement bridge across the Columbia River and in hydraulic fracturing to produce natural gas. The sand is pumped into gas-producing rock formations along with water under high pressure, creating fissures that the sand props open once the water is gone.
Local sand miners say they are selling sand for local construction and so far haven't been able to cash in on demand elsewhere.
"Everybody wants to," said Marci Goodrich, a project estimator with Benny Hempstead Excavating in Coos Bay, which has a sand pit on the North Spit.