MINING

Renewable mine investment in Whyalla

South Australia’s first solar-powered digital mining centre is diversifying Whyalla’s renewable-focussed business ventures while reimagining cryptocurrency mining.

Operated by Lumos Digital Mining, an environmentally friendly high-performance computing company, the newly operational five-megawatt data centre is using solar power to mine bitcoin.

Digital mining involves using powerful computers to figure out complex mathematic equations that are rewarded with bitcoins – a process that requires excessive electricity.

A recent White House Office of Science and Technology Policy report revealed that as of August 2022, the total global electricity usage for crypto-assets falls between 120 and 240 billion kilowatt-hours per year – more than the total annual electricity usage of Australia.

Lumos Digital Mining CEO Dong Wang said using solar power could change this.

“We came to South Australia because it has traditionally been a stronger adopter of new technologies and digital innovation and the state is rich in renewable energy generation,” Wang said.

This is a multi-million-dollar investment into the region as one bitcoin currently amounts to $28,633 AUD.

Lumos Digital Mining Representative Angelo Kondylas said the facility is capable of mining at least 100 bitcoins each year, but that’s dependent on power availability.

An inbuilt intelligent control capability enables the mining computers to heighten or lessen operations if the grid has a power shortage.

If the company needs to increase production, it will draw electricity from the main grid.

“We’re basically like a sponge; we soak up the excess that’s not used,” Kondylas said.

The venture is supported by the local council and state government to bring more national companies to invest in Whyalla.

Minister for Trade and Investment Nick Champion said, “Whyalla is an important economic contributor to our state and has huge potential to grow – attracting industries of the future.”

City of Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin said Lumos is the perfect fit for the city and is excited to contribute toward a sustainable approach to crypto mining.

“This also builds on our city’s mining focus, now adding data to our existing iron ore industry base, as well as providing yet another career opportunity for our local students to explore,” Mayor McLaughlin said.

“All these facets demonstrate that this private sector investment is helping create and strengthen a sustainable and healthy local economy.”

Mayor McLaughlin said the renewable digital mining project joins Whyalla’s green hydrogen initiative, showcasing the “Steel City’s” potential as the sustainability capital of South Australia.

Lumos intends to launch its second 10-megawatt mining facility in Whyalla later this year.

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