A regional government in Northwest Spain has launched a data center unit as it prepares to launch a data center at a former coal mine site.

The Government of Asturias and its telecoms arm GITPA, local association Cluster TIC Asturias, software firm Seresco, and other local companies have launched Asturias Data Center, a public-private initiative to attract investment and for companies in the sector to come to the community.

Asturias spain mine Dc
Renderings of the coal mine engine room being turned into a data center – Asturias Government

The initiative has its origins in the Principality’s project to develop a data center in the San Jorge well in Aller.

Asturias Director General of Innovation, Iván Aitor Lucas, said the data center in the Aller mining pit “will be the spearhead” for more investment.

He said Asturias has the potential and capacity to attract investments in this area: “We have water, idle spaces, some with electrical connections in use.”

More than a dozen companies were present at the signing of the initiative. Among the companies that participated in the creation of the hub are TSK, Seresco, Duro Felguera, Ricoh, and Asac. The Asturias government said other companies were not present but have expressed their interest in the initiative.

In 2022, the government of Spain's northwestern Asturias region began proposing to repurpose mining sites for data center uses. Local officials hoped that sites such as the Santiago well could form the latest node within the Spanish Supercomputing Network (RES), a series of supercomputing nodes available to Spanish researchers.

The government is now working on converting a building at the San Jorge well in Caborana into a data center. Its Sekuens Science Agency has a budget of €3 million ($3.2m) for the project from the EU’s Just Transition Fund.

The University of Oviedo and energy company Hunosa are also involved in the project, which will see the installation of a data center in the well's engine room. The 196 sqm (2,110 sq ft), two-story building will be able to host up to 70 racks; it will form the basis of a planned 'Asturian Cloud.'

The site was previously a coal mine opened by Hunosa's predecessor Sociedad Hullera Española (The Spanish Coal Company) in the 1940s, partially closed in the mid-1990s, and fully closed around 2018.

"This infrastructure will be the first step towards a sovereign Asturian cloud, where the Administration can collect and centralize its data, as well as a space to generate new companies and business models. Our idea is for it to be the seed of future actions," Borja Sánchez, the Minister of Science, Business, Training and Employment, said earlier this year.

A version of this story appeared on our Spanish edition.