Wanipigow Sand Extraction Project Update


Project Purpose and Key Changes

Sand will be used only for CPS Solar Glass Production

During the past few years, CPS has transformed its business to process Manitoba sand to create solar glass for renewable energy instead of for other uses such as fracking in the oil and gas industry. It is the first time solar glass will be produced in Canada. 


The time for renewable energy products has never been greater or more welcome. CPS will provide the essential resource, sand, to produce high specification glass at our future CPS manufacturing plant in Selkirk, Manitoba which is proposed to be licenced as a separated project. The high specification glass will be used in the assembly of solar panels across North America.

It’s time to invest in Canada and build on Canadian soil rather than import solar glass from other countries. 


In 2019, CPS received an Environment Act Licence from the Manitoba Government for the Wanipigow Sand Extraction Project. 

Under CPS’s new plan there will be less sand extracted, less traffic and a reduced environmental footprint.

CPS is applying to have its existing Environment Act Licence altered to reflect the updated Project and is hosting formal and informal community conversations about these changes. 

We welcome any questions at any time. Reach out if you have further questions or ideas. We are listening.

Glenn Leroux, President & CEO | | Denelle Bushie, Project Lead

Email us at: sandtosolar@cpsmail.com 

OLD (2019)


NEW (2022 & FUTURE)

Multiple uses
(e.g. fracking in oil & gas industry)


High clarity glass to cover solar panels used for renewable energy



An application to alter the licence is being prepared to reflect the new Project purpose

~1.2 million tonnes per year


~300,000 tonnes per year for 2 solar glass facilities

24 hours per day
7 days per week
12 months per year


10 hours per day
7 days per week
~6 months per year

Sizing and washing at a wet plant and drying at a dry plant


Sizing, scrubbing and magnetic iron removal at a smaller wet plant (no dry plant required)

8,000 tonnes dry sand in storage silos
– No wet sand stored


0 tonnes of dry sand stored
– 1 working stockpile of damp processed sand
– No barging on Lake Winnipeg

– 3 to 4 times per hour
– 24 hours per day
– 7 days per week
– 12 months per year


Flexible schedule
– 2 to 4 times per hour
– 10 to 20 hours per day
– 5 to 7 days per week
– 10 months per year

54 years 


~35 years 

75 at site + up to 50 truck drivers


~17 at site + up to 20 truck drivers


Canadian Premium Sand is a solar glass company.

Several years ago, there was a plan to sell the sand for fracking in the oil and gas industry. That is no longer the plan, it no longer makes business sense to sell the sand to the oil and gas industry. Processing the sand found at Hollow Water into solar glass offers significantly more value, making this a good time to move to solar energy.

It is also time to build on Canadian soil rather than buy solar glass from halfway around the world where shipping creates even more environmental challenges.

The multi-million-dollar sand processing plant planned for Seymourville is designed to exclusively produce solar glass quality sand.

A request to amend the licence is being prepared to reflect the new plans to use the sand to manufacture solar glass. The new project is considerably scaled back in scope and size and does not include a frac-quality sand production facility.

We have no interest in supplying sand for fracking and we will be extracting 70% less sand compared to the original amount of sand proposed in the 2019 plan. CPS is not an oil and gas company – we are a solar glass company.

Absolutely. We have tested samples at several international labs to confirm the sand is suitable for solar glass. It will require processing to remove some of the iron content, but that is normal and relatively straight forward.

At CPS we’ve invited and included several local people to work with us because we know that to do this right, we must do it together. While the idea for this project may have started in Alberta, we know it will be made possible by leaders of Indigenous communities and the contributions from the people of Manitoba. And we’re excited that the City of Selkirk, which has an excellent reputation as an environmental leader, has invited us to build the glass manufacturing plant in its community.

We are going through a rigorous environmental impact assessment process that addresses construction, operation and closure of the quarry and sand processing plant. Provincial and federal environmental workplace safety regulations today are far more stringent than in the past, and certainly more rigorous than when sand was extracted from Black Island in the 1920s. Everyone is bound by more rigorous standards today and CPS takes this very seriously. Our neighbors will be our neighbors for 30+ years and our workers will be neighbors to the project. So, everyone is invested in getting it right.

Prior to the design and clearing activities for the roadway, CPS was very proactive in its approach with the impacted trapper. We toured the site with the trapper, documenting the locations of all of his traps using GPS. This approach led to us mitigating this impact by making real-time adjustments to our road alignment in order to avoid his trap locations. This work was done before the signing of the participation agreement and submission of the Environment Act Licence application out of respect for the Hollow Water Elders and Chief and Council. No known traps are located within our forecasted operations area. In addition, there are multiple clauses in our Environment Act Licence that require CPS to:
  – develop a heritage resource protection plan
  – undertake surveys for traditional use plants
  – identify and mitigate adverse impacts to local trappers
  – establish a monitoring advisory group with representation from local Indigenous communities

Many jobs will be filled by local workers. We expect a handful of jobs in Selkirk will require specialized glass-making skills that may not be able to be sourced locally at first. But Selkirk, Hollow Water and Seymourville have the right talent for the majority of jobs. We see the opportunity to create jobs that keep families closer to home and invite more families to move to the area, build homes, buy groceries and volunteer in the community.

It’s unlikely the stockpiles will ever be higher than the tree line, and they will be out of sight. But our job is to work with our partners like Hollow Water and Seymourville because we know that to do this right, we need their input.

Sand will be stored and transported wet in order to reduce the risk of dust. Provincial and federal regulatory bodies make sure that everything meets rigorous and modern health and safety standards. It’s not an option, it’s a non-negotiable part of the license to operate, unlike what happened decades ago at Black Island. All companies are bound by these standards, and CPS takes this very seriously. We will follow all modern practices as required by law.

Our goal is to minimize the truck traffic when possible, particularly after dark and at peak hours during cottage season. Our new plans drastically reduce the truck traffic as CPS will be extracting 70% less sand compared to the original amount of sand proposed in the 2019 plan. Because we are transporting less sand, we have more flexibility in deciding when the trucking operations will occur and can modify the trucking schedule throughout the year.

No. That was contemplated as part of the 2019 plan; that is no longer in this plan.

In 2018 a participation agreement was ratified by the Hollow Water leadership as the community’s signing authority, but the agreement is specifically with the Hollow Water Community, not the elected leadership or any other individual within the community. As part of that agreement, an upfront payment was paid to the community and there will be continual payments during the life of the project.

There is no connection between CPS and CanWhite and no connection between the CanWhite project and this one. CPS is using sand to make glass for solar panels, nothing else.

Although the Seymourville quarry site will be drawing groundwater as part of its operation, nearby existing wells will not be impacted.

Most of the potable water for the communities is sourced from Lake Winnipeg. This project does not use Lake Winnipeg water nor does it send water to Lake Winnipeg.

It is expected that pit dewatering may be enough to meet the overall water demand for the state-of-the-art mechanical wash plant, in which case groundwater use will be greatly reduced if not eliminated. Sedimentation ponds will be used to store the groundwater to meet wash plant water demand. A water monitoring program will be employed for the ponds and prior to any discharge, strict water testing will be completed and approved by regulators.

Moving to solar glass production means we are going to offset our carbon footprint – and then some!

Click to see our carbon life-cycle chart.

We welcome any questions at any time. Reach out if you have further questions or ideas. We are listening.

Glenn Leroux, President & CEO | | Denelle Bushie, Project Lead