British Columbia Court Backs Ban on Crypto Mining in Canadian Province

Conifex, a B.C.-based cryptocurrency mining company, challenged B.C. Hydro's 18-month moratorium on mining.

AccessTimeIconFeb 6, 2024 at 6:22 a.m. UTC
Updated Feb 6, 2024 at 6:24 a.m. UTC
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British Columbia’s provincial power utility, B.C Hydro’s, moratorium on crypto mining projects was ruled as reasonable by a provincial supreme court judge, according to a ruling posted on Monday.

The moratorium was being challenged by Conifex Timber, a forestry company that had branched out into crypto mining. Conifex was planning a mining operation with Tsay Keh Dene Nation, an indigenous tribe.

In the ruling, Justice Michael Tammen said that the moratorium, first enacted in December 2022, was reasonable, not discriminatory, and within the bounds set out by the province’s Utilities Commission Act.

Justice Tammen wrote that B.C. Hydro’s ban was grounded on a cost-of-service basis, which considers the unique, substantial energy demands of cryptocurrency mining and aims to preserve affordable energy access for the broader population.

“The evidence amply establishes that cryptocurrency mining centers have unique electricity consumption characteristics... The total amount of megawatt hours that would have been required to service all the interconnection requests from cryptocurrency operations in 2023 grossly exceeded the projections of BC Hydro,” the Judge wrote.

For its part, Conifex highlighted that it believed the continued ban was a missed opportunity for the province.

“Conifex continues to believe that the provincial government is missing out on several opportunities available to it to improve energy affordability, accelerate technological innovation, strengthen the reliability and resiliency of the power distribution grid in British Columbia, and achieve more inclusive economic growth,” Conifex said in a public statement to the press.

In November 2022, New York State imposed a two-year moratorium on crypto mining.

British Columbia is home to a number of zero-carbon footprint mining projects that exist off-grid such as Ocean Falls Technology, which utilizes orphaned power from a hydroelectric plant in an abandoned mining town.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.

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