A tiny figure of an old-fashioned gold digger stands on top of a gold Bitcoin.
Photo Credit: Dado Ruvic / Reuters

Is There a New Gold Rush in Gold River?

Old pulp mill site could be pressing Bitcoin soon

This kind of mining still needs a lot of power

There never was a lot of gold in Gold River. But that doesn’t mean people haven’t made their fortunes in the area. It’s just that the fortunes looked like forests before they looked like money.

But there might be a new money-making game in town.

Ocean Falls Blockchain wants to open up a Bitcoin crypto mine at the old mill site.

Bitcoin mining is the process of creating new Bitcoins. But instead of heading out with a pick and a pan, you need a bank of computers to solve math problems. The first computer in the world to solve that math problem gets the fresh new Bitcoin.

At their March 21 meeting, the Village of Gold River changed their regulations and made it legal to mine Bitcoin on industrial-zoned land in the village.

“This isn’t saying the project is a go, it’s just another stage of it,” village Mayor Brad Unger told the Campbell River Mirror. “What it does is for that piece of property, it just allows this type of work.”

But the folks at Ocean Falls Blockchain sound pretty sure this project is going ahead.

“The initial results from the viability tests look great,” Oded Orgil told the Campbell River Mirror. He’s the CEO at Ocean Falls Blockchain. “We are very excited for this partnership.”

The project still needs to go through an impact study with BC Hydro.

One of the downsides of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is that they need a lot of electricity to run. Mining Bitcoin uses more energy per year than some small countries. And when those mines use dirty energy like coal plants, they’re really bad for the climate.

It will be interesting to see if the new mine makes it harder or easier to keep the lights on in NorthIsle.

Also, if the mine uses electricity from BC Hydro’s grid, will that overload the system in bad weather? Or will this mean BC Hydro will actually invest in fixing problems?

Only time will tell.

If the impact study goes well, construction on the project could start in the fall.

It’ll take up to 25 people to build the new centre. But once it’s running, it’ll employ 5-8 people.