Superior Silica Sands : Every Grain Counts

Lauren RobinsonLily Sawyer
Lauren Robinson - Project Manager Lily Sawyer - Senior Editor
Superior Silica Sands Main

Superior Silica Sands, a leading supplier of high-quality sand products for the industrial and energy sectors, is dedicated to its vision to provide efficient, cost-effective industry solutions. Billy Ray Smith, CCO, and Stefan Hocheggar, CFO, tell us more.

EVERY GRAIN COUNTS

The sand mining industry in North America is currently experiencing a transformative period marked by innovation and sustainability.  

As such, it emerges as a stimulating trade environment with rising trends that focus on digital transformation, automation, and environmental stewardship.  

“Companies are increasingly adopting advanced technologies to enhance their efficiency and reduce environmental impacts,” introduces Billy Ray Smith, CCO of Superior Silica Sands (SSS). 

Over the years, SSS has garnered attention for its diverse range of high-quality sand products, alongside its dedication to customer service excellence and innovative industry solutions.  

The company’s primary asset is a sand mining facility near San Antonio, Texas, from which it operates two state-of-the-art sand plants.   

The industrial plant provides a wide range of products for use in the construction, sports, and industrial (CSI) market segments, equating to over one million tons (t) of sand per year.   

The second plant is SSS’s Frac Sand Division, which provides high-quality mesh sands for horizontal hydraulic fracturing applications and vertical wells for the Eagleford formation.  

Today, the Frac Sand Division has an annual output of around 3 million t and has the capacity to load-out 15,000 t of sand daily.    

Stefan Hochegger, CFO of SSS, is motivated by a long-standing belief that the sand mining industry is not merely about extracting resources but contributing to a larger mission of bettering human lives. 

As SSS’s burgeoning success in the ever-expanding US energy sector continues to be felt, this belief is undeniably becoming a reality.

KEY PRODUCT OFFERINGS

As the US industrial and energy sectors evolve, the demand for innovative and reliable solutions grows.  

“At SSS, the work we do in mining is fundamental to this progress, supplying essential materials that drive innovation and development,” Hochegger states.  

In its provision of sands for the CSI and oil and gas industries, SSS’s product diversity is keenly felt.  

“Our extensive portfolio of construction sand includes brick and block, stucco, cement, roofing, masonry, ready-mix, specialty, and all-purpose,” Smith details.  

The company’s industrial sands provide material for glass, foundry, and filtration, whilst its sports sand products are often used on golf courses, artificial turfs, and volleyball courts. 

“SSS is the leading supplier of construction and topdressing sand for the US Golf Association (USGA) in Texas, having completed over 300 courses in the last 10 years alone,” he prides. 

In addition, the company is able to customize and blend its standard sand products to create a unique and individually tailored product – an unusual and competitive advantage.

MINING FOR ENERGY INDEPENDENCE

In recent years, the US mining industry’s role in supporting widespread national energy independence cannot be overstated.  

“By ensuring a stable and reliable supply of critical minerals, SSS empowers the US to develop its energy resources more efficiently and sustainably,” Smith outlines.  

Motivated by its desire to contribute to national energy independence, SSS’s provision of raw materials for domestic energy production reduces the country’s reliance on foreign energy sources and minimizes associated geopolitical tensions.  

“Energy independence not only strengthens our economy but enhances our national security by reducing the need for military engagements overseas to secure energy supplies,” Hochegger adds.  

Having spent the last decade working in companies that support the oil and gas industries, Hochegger has cultivated a profound appreciation for the critical role energy plays in modern society.   

“Over the years, I have witnessed first-hand how energy contributes to economic growth, technological advancement, and community development,” he emphasizes.  

By supporting energy independence, SSS hopes to create a foundation for technological innovation and community development to offer a more secure future for all.

TEAMS AND TECHNOLOGIES

Just as diverse as SSS’s product offerings is its client base, which ranges from oil and gas majors and concrete ready-mix companies down to a small nursery plant shop on the north side of San Antonio.   

In addition, an efficient and dedicated team instills a sense of quality and care into every facet of the company, something Smith believes sets SSS apart from the competition.  

“Our biggest asset is our people – a team of around 125 professionals who are committed to excellence in both service and sustainability,” Smith confirms.   

Furthermore, SSS’s dedication to continuous improvement and innovation ensures that it remains at  the forefront of the industry, always striving to exceed expectations and contribute positively to society.  

By investing in cutting-edge technologies, the company seeks to produce the highest quality products with minimal waste. 

“In short, people and processes are our key differentiators,” he surmises.  

Whilst its team and technologies provide a robust foundation for SSS’s success, its supply chain operations are equally integral.  

“We place great importance on building strong, collaborative relationships with our partners and suppliers,” Smith divulges.  

SSS’s supplier relationships are based on trust, transparency, and shared values.  

By working closely with its suppliers, the company is able to ensure the consistent quality and timely delivery of materials which, in turn, allows it to meet the needs of clients.

“We place great importance on building strong, collaborative relationships with our partners and suppliers”

Billy Ray Smith, CCO, Superior Silica Sands

SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE

Within the mining industry, a strong emphasis on community engagement seeks to ensure that operations contribute positively to local economies and livelihoods. 

As such, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is at the heart of SSS’s operations.

Not only does it engage in conservation initiatives at the plant, such as the preservation of on-site vegetation and water, but it is also actively involved in initiatives that aim to improve the quality of life in local communities.  

“For example, we have been supporting a program that promotes personal safety and well-being in a small community we serve,” Smith divulges. 

SSS provides this community support through one of its largest customers, demonstrating how many of the company’s customer relations and CSR responsibilities are intrinsically linked.  

In addition, SSS maintains that people are the cornerstone of its success.  

As such, it is deeply committed to empowering its people and recognizing their important contributions.  

“We invest in continuous training and development programs to help our employees grow and achieve their full potential,” he reveals.  

The company culture at SSS is one of inclusivity, respect, and collaboration, in which every team member is encouraged to share ideas and take the initiative. 

TODAY’S SUCCESS, TOMORROW’S EXPANSION

SSS’s dedication to innovation and continuous improvement is tantamount to its success.  

“We believe that staying ahead of industry trends and constantly seeking new ways to improve our processes and products is crucial,” Smith outlines. 

In this way, the company has spent the past two years increasing its throughput capabilities and its ability to generate fit-for-purpose blends.   

“We increased our throughput by more than 50 percent, which has allowed us to focus multiple sales channels simultaneously,” he discloses.    

Additionally, in terms of utilizing fit-for-purpose blends, SSS has identified the glass, foundry, and filtration markets in the US and Mexico as an area of growth. 

“Mexico is one of the largest glass manufacturers in the world,” Smith points out. 

In the coming year, the company’s key priorities include further expanding its operational capabilities, continuing to build a strong employee base, and providing best-in-class, quality products and services.  

Another of the company’s unique goals is to emerge as the most interesting and valued workplace in San Antonio. 

“With our growing leadership development program, alongside our reputable interaction with both employees and customers, I believe we’re well on the way to achieving this,” he concludes.

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By Lauren Robinson Project Manager
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Lauren Robinson is a Project Manager for Mining Outlook. Lauren is responsible for showcasing corporate stories in our digital B2B magazines and Digital Platforms, and sourcing collaborations with Business Leaders, Brands, and C-suite Executives to feature in future editions. Lauren is actively seeking opportunities to collaborate. Reach out to Lauren to discover how you and your business could be our next cover story.
By Lily Sawyer Senior Editor
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Lily Sawyer is an in-house writer for Mining Outlook Magazine, where she is responsible for interviewing corporate executives and crafting original features for the magazine, corporate brochures, and the digital platform.