Apr 272012

Photo by Teri Walker —

A rapidly expanding sand mining operation near Sanders has enough sand, according to mine representatives, to keep operating for the next 300 years. Preferred Sands wants to get a well-trained, qualified workforce in the pipeline to keep the plant, which will double production this year, working efficiently and safely. The company, which reactivated the dormant mining operation in 2011, is working with area educators to begin training future workers. NAVIT (Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology) Superintendent Matt Weber toured the Preferred Sands facility this week along with other NAVIT and Northland Pioneer College representatives to learn about the skills and certifications future workers will need and to discuss possible curriculum and training programs the educational institutions could develop to begin preparing a workforce, starting with area high school and community college students.