A groundbreaking was held Tuesday for what is being touted as the largest bitcoin mining facility in the world.
Operated by company Riot Blockchain, the facility will be located on a 256-acre site seven miles outside Corsicana in Navarro County.
The company has boasted a $333 million investment in the local economy and 270 jobs to start.
“We’re very excited about this project. We think the impact it’s going to have throughout this region will be positive,” said John Boswell, Economic Development Director for the city of Corsicana and Navarro County.
Not everyone is pleased.
Protestors stood outside Tuesday’s groundbreaking voicing concerns about the strain on local resources.
“We do not want Riot building here,” said Jackie Sawicky with the group Concerned Citizens of Navarro County.
Mining for bitcoin is a 24-hour operation that requires enormous quantities of power and water – two resources in tight demand in Texas.
“We believe we can meet the water needs, but we don’t know what the final number will be,” Boswell said, adding he does not foresee any updates to the current water system.
Set to become the largest taxpayer in Navarro County and one of the top employers, the site is expected to be up and running in 2023.
Boswell said his office has not done an economic analysis on the project, but say it will open the door for more high-tech companies to move to the area, along with new housing and retail.
To date, he said the company has not applied for any local tax abatements.
Sawicky says she and others will continue to voice their concerns, demanding transparency from local leaders.
“We still do not know some of the most basic, fundamental questions from day one,” said Sawicky.
“We’re all on a learning curve on Bitcoin. It’s a pretty new project but it’s not anything to be scared of,” said Boswell.
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