April 11, 2019
To support rapidly growing global demand for high-quality medical cannabis in Canada and abroad, Aurora Cannabis’s Aurora Sun facility will be expanded to 1.62 million square feet, representing a 33% increase from its originally announced 1.2 million square feet.
“Aurora Sun represents the next evolution in our Sky Class facility design, delivering massive scale, low cost production, and consistent, high-quality cannabis,” says Terry Booth, CEO of Aurora in a press release. “The increased scale of Aurora Sun reflects our expectations for the long-term growth in global demand, especially the higher margin international medical markets which will be faced with significant supply shortages for the foreseeable future.
Sun is also designed with flexibility in mind to enable us to quickly meet changing market demands, particularly as breeding and cultivation technologies evolve and as customer preferences and requirements change.”
Headquartered in Edmonton, Aurora is one of the world’s largest cannabis companies. The company is vertically integrated and horizontally diversified across every key segment of the value chain, from facility engineering and design to cannabis breeding and genetics research, cannabis and hemp production, derivatives, high value-add product development, home cultivation, wholesale and retail distribution.
In April 2018, Aurora Cannabis selected Medicine Hat for the site of its latest and largest indoor cannabis grow facility. Construction started at the site, located adjacent to the Trans-Canada Highway in Box Spring Business Park, in June 2018.
With much of the deep services and groundwork nearing completion, erection of the steel structure is advancing and installation of the glass at Aurora Sun is expected to be completed in May 2019.
“The weather has been very cooperative,” says Allan Clerien, chief operating officer at Aurora, of Aurora Sun’s construction progress. “We’re working very collaboratively with the City of Medicine Hat, who have been great to work with.”
Aurora expects its Sun grow rooms will be available for planting before the entire facility is completed, pending Health Canada licensing. A similar process was employed at Aurora Sky, allowing that facility to begin growing before the facility was complete.
Most post-harvest processing will be handled at Aurora’s other facilities, such as Aurora Polaris, the company’s logistics and derivatives production hub at the Edmonton International Airport.
Aurora Sun is a purpose-built, indoor cannabis grow facility designed to create the most optimal growing conditions for cannabis. A sophisticated glass roof, rainwater and snow melt recapture system, and a high level of technology give Aurora full control over all anticipated harvest conditions, resulting in the production of consistently high yield, high-quality cannabis at low-cost.
Aurora Sun’s features include a low maintenance climate management system for superior plant health, yield and cannabinoid potency, additional energy management via improved implementation of thermal screens and expanded and upgraded automation for cloning and production, further lowering production costs.
At full operation, there will be more than 1,000,000 plants in various stages of growth in Aurora Sun’s 37 grow rooms, which measure 32,500 square feet each.
“It is going to be the largest and most technologically advanced cannabis facility in the world,” says Clerien.
Once complete, Aurora Sun is expected to employ 450 people. Pending Health Canada licensing, Aurora Sun may be able to begin growing in its first grow rooms as soon as June 2019.