UPDATE: Bitmain not out, just scaling down

Bitmain has not suspended operations in Milam County but rather is scaling down the size of its operation for the time being.

Milam County Judge Steve Young said in a statemnent on Wednesday, “I regret to report that Bitmain has suspended operations at the Alcoa site. All of the employees have been laid off except for the HR person and two engineers. We understand that Bitmain made the decision due to the low prices of the bitcoin and the declining stock market.”

Young said that he was contacted by a Bitmain representative late Wednesday who said an official statement would be coming sometime today.

The statement said:

At the Rockdale mining farm project site, we conducted work force reduction. This reduction in force is a Bitmain company wide activity, no location / teams are excluded from it. The right-sized team at Rockdale now has the expertise to re-start the project at small scale anytime. Bitmain would like to ramp up the site at a slower pace and scale based on the market conditions."

Young said he takes this as good news. It appears Bitmain is not leaving or closing but rather scaling down the planned operation.

On Wednesday Young said that Bitmain had spent a lot of money at the Alcoa site renovating the old pot room buildings by raising the ceiling and pouring concrete flooring.

“Bitmain came to Milam County for a number of reasons, but the biggest is probably the cheap source of electricity,” Young said. “Milam County has huge power lines that run from Alcoa north and tie into the major power grid with approximately 18 substations along the way. This is a valuable asset to the county and it will remain and some company will come here and take advantage of this cheap source of power.”

 “We will just have to wait and see,” he said. “However, in the meantime we will do our best to go after the next business. We certainly want the business community know that we welcome and want new business in Milam County.”

In August the Rockdale Municipal Development District announced Bitmain Technologies Ltd., a world leader in blockchain hardware, software, and services would create approximately 400 full-time jobs and invest $500+ million to build a new data center in Rockdale at the site of the Alcoa site. The initial investment included $465+ million in retro-fitting buildings, machinery, and equipment. New jobs will be full-time, fully benefited and will include positions in engineering and management, as well as opportunities for data center technicians.

The Milam County Industrial Development Corporation and the Milam County Commissioners Court approved an economic development incentive that included a tax abatement phased in over ten years.