Bitmain Invades, Again
In a post-industrial society, many areas that relied on the extraction of raw resources such as coal are beginning to face an economic struggle. Luminant, Texas’s largest electricity generator, has plans to shut down three coal-powered plants this year of which already included the closing of their Sandow plant in January 2018. J.T. Deely Station, another coal plant in San Antonio, Texas, announced back in 2013 that they would suspend operations by the end of 2018 as well.
With cheap and plentiful alternative energy resources on the rise like natural gas, wind, and solar energy, industries of the past have been feeling the grip of death lately. While tax revenue is on the decline, the most immediate impact was the loss of 325 jobs, the equivalent to ten percent of private sector jobs in the county.
But Bitmain, the notoriously secret Chinese crypto mining outfit most known for their Bitcoin ASICs, is looking to convert an old aluminum smelter right outside of Rockdale to a full-scale mining operation.
BItmain would be the second company to convert an old smelter for mining purposes, with Coinmint converting an old Alcoa plant in upstate New York for the same reasons. Coinmint is investing up to $700 million in the new location, which should create 150 jobs over the next 18 months.
Aluminum smelters require massive amounts of electricity and thus include the necessary infrastructure to handle a similar wattage needed for Bitcoin mining.
There is no word on when the site is supposed to go live, but it seems the idea was a long time coming. Bitmain has already posted a job listing on Indeed, seeking a project manager in the Rockdale area as well.
Bitmain’s plans for the smelter are expected to offset the jobs lost from the shutdown of the plant, as well as introduce another 300-500 jobs from the operations.