One of the largest mining facilities in the world – with output to rival a small power station – is set to open for business in the mining-friendly country of Kazakhstan in September.
- Mining facility operator Enegix told CoinDesk Friday it will be ready to open its 180 megawatt (MW) data center to mining pools at the start of September.
- Based in Ekibastuz, near the Russian border, the facility can host up to 50,000 mining rigs, according to sales director Dmitriy Ivanov.
- Assuming full capacity with Bitmain's AntMiner S19 series or MicroBT’s WhatsMiner M30, that would represent mining power of about 5-6 EH/s – approximately 4% of bitcoin's current hashrate.
- Enegix already operates two mining facilities but the Ekibastuz site is its largest – it will employ upwards of 160 people, including engineers, electricians and security personnel.
- The facility would handle as much electricity as needed to power 180,000 U.S. homes.
- Construction on the facility began in August 2019 and has reportedly cost $23 million, according to a series of slides shared with CoinDesk.
- The center will get its electricity straight from the Kazakhstani grid, which itself will source the power from a local coal-fired station. Ivanov said it was the cheapest source of power available.
- Electricity in Kazakstan is cheap and plentiful, with much of the country's surplus currently exported to neighboring countries.
- This makes the country well-placed to become a global center for mining facilities, said Ivanov. National power stations rarely operate at full capacity so there's room for facilities to expand, and more to come online to use the power.
- Unlike China, where electricity prices change depending on the season, costs at the Ekibastuz facility will stay much the same year-round.
- Keen to attract business and foreign investment, the government has created a taxation framework to help further legitimize cryptocurrency mining in the country.
- Indeed, Cambridge University's Bitcoin Mining Map shows Kazakhstan now ranks fourth in the world for hashrate distribution – up from sixth in Q3 2019.
- Although clients will be free to mine any cryptocurrencies they wish, Enegix anticipates – as with their existing data centers – that most will mine bitcoin.
- Representatives from mining companies ViaBTC, BTC.com, Canaan, and Innosilicon have already visited the site, Ivanov said.
UPDATE (Aug.22, 10:35 UTC): A previous version of this article stated that the power came from Russia, that Dmitriy Ivanov was a director and that F2Pool had visited the site. This has been corrected.