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article imageAurora Cannabis to build production facility in Medicine Hat

By Karen Graham     Apr 17, 2018 in Technology
Medicine Hat - Aurora Cannabis Inc. today announced it is acquiring approximately 29 hectares (72 acres) of land in Medicine Hat, Alberta, where the Company plans to begin construction on a new high-technology hybrid greenhouse cannabis production facility.
Aurora Cannabis has signed a memorandum of understanding with the city of Medicine Hat that includes terms and a general understanding of potential transactions, including a prospective 10-year, 42 MW energy supply agreement, reports New Cannabis Ventures.
The company’s wholly owned Aurora Larssen Projects Inc. division will be responsible for the new facility's design and engineering. The facility will be called “Aurora Sun” in recognition of Medicine Hat’s status as the sunniest city in Canada, with more than 2,500 hours of sunshine per year.
Aurora Sun will be the size of 21 football fields, about 1.2 million square feet, and 50 percent larger than its "Aurora Sky" Health Canada operation being completed at Edmonton International Airport. Aurora Sky is expected to produce 100,000+ kg per year.
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Aurora Cannabis
To date, Aurora has nearly 280,000 kg per year of funded capacity. With the addition of Aurora Sun, total capacity will increase to over 430,000 kg per year. Besides supplying the medical cannabis market, the new facility is expected to serve the soon-to-be-legalized adult marijuana market and the expanding international market.
Aurora has the production capacity and access to capital to exploit international marketing opportunities. They already are shipping high-grade cannabis to Germany and Italy, and intends to expand its supply chain to new European markets as they come online.
Aurora Sun facility is high-tech
Like all of Aurora's facilities, the new one in Medicine Hat will be built in compliance with European Union (EU) Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards. This ensures that the marijuana product produced can be exported anywhere in the world where cannabis is legal.
But it is the innovative technologies being added to the Aurora Sun facility that blow this writer away. First, about 850,000 square feet of the 1.2 million square feet will be devoted to flowering space. That is bigger than the whole Aurora Sky facility.
Over a dozen EU countries have authorised the use of cannabis for medical purposes
Over a dozen EU countries have authorised the use of cannabis for medical purposes
Robyn Beck, AFP/File
Several advanced technologies will be used, including a forced air positive pressure system that reduces the risk of contamination. The closed system also uses less energy, says Aurora, To minimize human interaction, and reduce cross-contamination risks, the plant will be fully automated.
Automated bench movement will maximize plant density, as well as accelerates crop turnover - ultimately resulting in a higher yield per square foot and superior economic efficiencies (costs per gram).
A specialized glass is being used for increased light penetration, shadow reduction, and diffusion, all to support plant growth and also cut down on the use of electricity. The facility will have custom nutrient systems in place, based on the strain of cannabis being grown, and an irrigation system engineered to reduce waste.
The design of the facility will also have a precipitation collection system for the reuse of water in the irrigation of the crops, as well as a best-in-class HVAC system to ensure that optimal climate conditions are met. All this will be run with robotized internal logistics.
The first planting in Medicine Hat is expected in the first half of 2019, with completion slated for the second half of the year.
More about aurora cannabis, medicine hat bantam tourney, Alberta, third facility, hughtech
 
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