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Vitali Valtanen

  • Faculty of Design
  • Product Design
  • MA
  • Exploitation of exhausted underground mines for mushroom cultivation
  • Tutor: Pavel Sidorenko

I was inspired to write this thesis by one of the biggest challenges of our time — climate change effect and the subsequent food crisis. Most countries of the world have begun an active fight against the issues caused by climate change and the directives of the European Union require that its member states must achieve climate neutrality. The aim of these directives is to decrease the use of fossil fuels. For Estonia, this means shutting down all oil shale mines which will then remain abandoned.

My aim was to analyze how to use exhausted subterranean mines, while helping solve relevant issues such as health and food safety.

I found that exhausted mines can be successfully used to establish new activities. There are a variety of potential uses, and the re-use of abandoned mines would have a positive impact on the social life of the region, adding new business and jobs.

Secondly, I am certain that creating mushroom farms in the underground shafts is a feasible solution. It will allow us to increase food supplies. In addition, the effects of many mushrooms with proven therapeutic qualities are quite underrated in Estonia. Certain mushrooms help fight cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, restore neural tissue, and do many other things. By cultivating them, we can contribute to prolonging the lives of many people in Estonia and beyond.