Iris Energy commits to an enduring relationship with First Nations at Canal Flats
Iris Energy is a bitcoin miner using renewable energy to power its operations
(Vancouver, BC) – Iris Energy and one of its strategic shareholders, BC businessperson Brian Fehr, have collaborated to create a high-tech bitcoin and data centre operation out of an old lumber mill in Canal Flats.
Today, Iris Energy announced that it will contribute $500,000 to four Ktunaxa First Nations communities as part of its commitment to the Canal Flats region. The contribution will be divided equally amongst the Akisqnuk, Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it, ?aq’am, and Yaqan Nukiy. Iris Energy will make this an annual contribution subject to the continuing and profitable operation of its 30MW data centre at Canal Flats, and will work with the First Nations to deepen the relationship in a number of areas, including employment opportunities.
Iris Energy’s operations are powered by hydroelectricity previously used by the lumber mill in Canal Flats. Iris Energy’s use of this power provides much needed stability to the energy grid and ensures ongoing job opportunities and economic support.
“Iris Energy’s vision is to create sustainable data centre operations in partnership with rural communities facing economic uncertainty, creating new jobs and partnering with First Nations on whose traditional homelands we operate,” says Jason Conroy, CEO of Iris Energy.
“Iris Energy has helped to facilitate Brian Fehr’s vision of retooling shuttered rural BC mills and other dormant industrial sites into new operations – creating jobs and economic stimulus in local communities.”
“Our bitcoin mining operation in Canal Flats is just the start. Together with Brian, we are working to identify more sites, and support more rural BC communities which are adapting to new energy uses and industries.”
Eighteen months ago, Iris Energy purchased a large portion of the Columbia Lake Technology Centre (CLTC) site, a new business centre the Brian Fehr Group was creating on an un-used mill site in Canal Flats. Iris Energy built a data centre on the site and is expanding its capacity to 30MW, creating local jobs and opportunities.
The Brian Fehr Group purchased the former Canfor mill site in Canal Flats in 2018 to create CLTC. With a direct fibre optic data connection and access to ample hydroelectricity, the site was recreated as a rural business hub now housing several high-tech and value-added businesses supporting dozens of local jobs. The Group is planning to pursue several similar projects in the coming months – purchasing shuttered rural BC ‘brownfield’ sites and remaking them into something new that creates good local jobs and prosperity. Read more about CLTC here.
“What we do at each site will vary with the local conditions, but the focus of each will be taking a large, currently-unused industrial site and remaking it into a vibrant centre of local business in the new economy,” Brian Fehr says. “As we have in Canal Flats, we will be looking for partners and tenants who share our vision of dynamic, modern rural BC communities where people can raise a family with a good job, where local First Nations are engaged, and we are addressing today’s environmental challenges with sustainable technology.”
“Iris Energy is a clean, green company focused on the future and improving the economy of rural communities,” Fehr added. “Supporting their entry into BC with the Canal Flats project is a natural for me.”
Brian Fehr receiving the gift of an otter from Yaqan Nukiy Nasukin Jason Louie.
Iris Energy’s Kent Draper speaking at the event.