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Fascinating: Growing hydroponic potatoes inside Europe’s deepest metal mine

The Pyhäjärvi mine project is funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Regional Innovations and Experiments Foundation (AIKO) in Finland

The deepest metal mine in Europe, at a depth of 1,444 meters, is located in the Finnish town Pyhäjärvi. In about two years from now, the metal recovery from the mine is expected to come to an end. To develop a new, and somewhat unexpected, new purpose for the mine, a research team recently launched a pilot project to investigate the potential of using the mine as a site for sustainable crop development. Thus, at a depth of no less than 660 meters. the researchers found a stable environment in which they believe crops can grow well if done under controlled conditions. At this depth, the temperature in the mine is constantly stable between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius throughout the year. Since July, researchers have been testing the cultivation of potatoes as well as nettles in the mine. The crops grown are illuminated with LED light bulbs of the Finnish company Valoya, producer and supplier of LED grow lights.

In addition, these pilot crops are grown using hydroponic technology, a soil-less method of planting crops in water where nutrients are added as needed by the crops. The plants absorb the right amount of nutrients in each growth stage. In addition, and the use of pesticides is unnecessary.

The aim of the project is to enable the production of a year-round supply of high quality plant material with uniform quality. The project will run until at least until the end of 2018.

Report in Dutch published by DuurzaamBedrijfsleven