The Ponderay Newsprint Mill in Usk, Washington has new ownership with big plans for cryptocurrency mining.
After it sold to Allrise Capital Inc. in April for $18.1 million, the Ponderal Newsprint Mill might be back in business. The new owners formally requested sufficient power from the grid for a crypto mining farm , according to The Spokesman-Review.
If their request passes, the operation becomes one of the largest crypto mining operation in the United States. The mill sits on a 927-acre property that is home to 29 buildings and storage areas.
Before it shuttered in 2020, Ponderay was one of the biggest employers in the area of Pend Oreille County. I had around 150 workers. The mill went under after the previous owners, Lake Superior Forest Products and five major U.S. publishers, filed for bankruptcy. Lake Superior Forest Products is a subsidiary of Resolute Forest Products in Quebec.
According to the new owners, along with mining the mill will also be used to make cardboard packaging.
In addition, job creation is a major factor in the reopening of the mill. Todd Behrend previously worked at the mill and is now the CEO of Poderay Industries LLC. Behrend said that he hopes to rehire most of his former co-workers. Eventually the facilities hopes for 100 additional workers. The CEO said many stars must align to pull it off but “it would be a very substantial operation and certainly a premier employer in the county again.”
According to the Public Utility District of Pend Oreille County, the mill requested to restore the 85 average megawatts a month to restart the mill. An additional 220 average megawatts a month for the Blockchain LLC was also requested.
As it stands, Ponderay must wait for the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to decide how much power the mill can pull. Behrend said that figure will “drive all the decisions.”