Law enforcement officers in Kazakhstan have busted another mining facility as they continue to crack down on illegal activities in the sector. The crypto farm, located at a railway station, is the latest targeted mining operation in the country which has been struggling with its power deficit.
Kazakhstan, a crypto mining hotspot since last year, has been trying to limit operations in its crypto mining sector which expanded rapidly after China launched an offensive against the industry in May 2021. The government has been mostly going after illegal miners this year, although the energy-hungry industry as a whole has been blamed for electricity shortages and blackouts.
After recently closing down more than 100 crypto farms, including registered mining entities which, according to an official announcement, “voluntarily” halted their activities, law enforcement officials have conducted a raid on another facility minting digital currencies. The farm was set up in a room on the premises of the Kundyzdy railway station, 24 Khabar reported.
According to the country’s Transport Police Department, which carried out the search, the officers found 130 crypto mining units as well as hard drives and spare parts. The mining equipment has been seized and a pre-trial investigation has been launched, a high-ranking police official told the news outlet. Quoted by the department’s press service, he noted:
“Other information in accordance with Article 201 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan is not subject to disclosure.“
Initially, a promising destination for crypto miners moving out of China, thanks to its capped electricity rates, Kazakhstan has in the past weeks begun to target mining operations as part of efforts to deal with its growing energy deficit. A number of illegal farms were unplugged from the grid and many registered companies were hit by power cuts in the cold winter months. Local media has covered the crackdown.
In February, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered the Financial Monitoring Agency to identify all mining entities with the help of other relevant government bodies. The watchdog has carried out numerous inspections, verifying tax, customs, and technical documentation.
Political turmoil in January and persisting power supply interruptions have already forced some mining companies to relocate to other countries such as the U.S. In late February, the National Association of Blockchain and Data Center Industry revealed that authorized miners had already moved a third of their equipment out of the country and warned that Kazakhstan could lose its leading position in terms of computing power in the bitcoin network.