Green Diamond Sand makes 40 varieties of a special sand project and sells six times the amount of sand it did 14 years ago.
The green-tinted sand is even used to fill unsightly divots in golf courses.
Most sand is dredged from beaches or rivers, ground down from gravel, or -- in the Northwest -- the result of the Mount St. Helens eruption. This silica sand has rounded grains and when used can create free silica dust that is dangerous to lungs.
The nickel ore byproduct is different. The smelting process leaves each grain of sand with sharp edges and locks up the sand's free silica so there is no danger from lung silicosis.
"What makes ours different is the characteristics of the sand -- its color and unique properties, durability and sharpness," Schweizer says. "It has enhanced characteristics that make it more valuable."
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