One startup gives a second life to contaminated or exhausted soils, enables regenerative farming, and improves primary and secondary minerals
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Spotted: In our ever-developing world, demand for raw materials surges, surpassing our supply. Until now, we have relied on increased mining and agrochemicals to try and balance supply with demand. However, this has come at the expense of our resources, environment, health, and the planet’s biodiversity.
Using a technology that’s been developing for over 35 years, Slovakian startup Ekolive is rewriting the playbook. The company has found a way to ecologically process minerals, revive mining waste, and rejuvenate contaminated or exhausted soils using microorganisms.
The company’s eco-friendly solution to the mineral supply-demand challenge harnesses the power of bacteria to remove impurities. This method enhances raw material value, accessibility, and usability of unprocessed, primary materials and secondary minerals. Ekolive’s technology can also be applied to hazardous materials like mining waste, giving newfound value to materials previously deemed useless.
But that’s not all: Ekolive discovered its technology also had amazing effects on agriculture. Managing Director Darina Štyriaková explains that the specially selected mix of minerals and microorganisms “regenerates” contaminated soils, optimises the structure of exhausted soils, and “strengthens plants in different ways.” Štyriaková adds that these results are “not created by mixing chemicals” but “by a replication of natural weathering and soil formation recipe.”
Founded in 2018, Ekolive is now focusing on commercialisation after successful validations. The company currently has five bioleaching production sites in the EU, with three more in the pipeline outside of Europe.
Written By: Georgia King