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Canal Flats tech company commits annual contribution to Ktunaxa Nation

Iris Energy is donating $500,000 to four Ktunaxa communities with profits made from a high-tech bitcoin and data centre in Canal Flats.

The annual contributions will be divided equally among Akisqnuk, Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it, ʔaq’am, and Yaqan Nukiy, as long as the 30MW data centre operation remains profitable.

“It’s just the beginning of what we’re hoping will be a deepening relationship over time,” said Lorri Fehr, CEO of Columbia Lake Technology Centre. “We have not put any criteria around the spending of that money. We believe the First Nations will want to make their own decisions about that money.”

Iris Energy said its facility in the former lumber mill in Canal Flats is powered by hydroelectricity, noting that the sustainable power source will help ensure the company’s future in the region.

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Fehr said a portion of the Columbia Lake Technology Centre’s facility was bought out by Iris Energy to convert into a bitcoin mining operation.

“The infrastructure that is built for a bitcoin mine can be repurposed very quickly for high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, and communications. So right now, as bitcoin is making some money, we’re able to use it for mining, and then make it sustainable for us in the future with other purposes.”

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