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Illegal coal mining in the heart of Europe

Illegal coal mining in the heart of Europe

llegal coal mines are a matter of concern to environmentalists and labor activists alike. Zenica, Bosnia and Herzogovina. 30th November 2011

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Shena a 26 years old illegal miner is dragging bathtub which use as container for coal.
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Eko (R) a illegal coal miner taking a rest before he goes to hole to dig coal. Eko is father of two and he works in illegal coal mine on outskirts of central Bosnian town of Zenica.
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„Why they don`t let us do this, because I would do this for life“, says Grof, 22 years old man who dropped out of school when he was 16.
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Apples and coal are seen on entrance to illegal coal mine on outskirts of central Bosnian town of Zenica.
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A sixteen year old boy exiting hole of illegal mine. He works there during weekend and holidays when he doesn`t go to school.
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A pick is seen on entrance to illegal coal mine.
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Worker in illegal coal mine fixes cable which use for dragging container with coal.
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A 26 year old man with nickname Shena taking a rest in illegal coal mine. A father of one works as illegal miner for 6 years.
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Eko 33 years old worker adjusting light in illegal coal mine.
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A view hill on which is located about 15 holes which people use for illegal coal mining on outskirts of central Bosnian town of Zenica. Zenica was center of metal industry during Yugoslavia. More than 25000 people worked in steel factory in Zenica.
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Eko a worker in illegal coal mine arrange bags with coal.
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Coffee break outside illegal coal mine.
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Shena inside illegal coal mine.
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A 53 years old man smoking cigarette inside illegal coal mine.
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Two illegal miners digging coal.
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Worker Shena pulls wagon outside illegal coal mine
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Traces of tractor on the hill where is located about 20 holes which people uses for illegal coal mining.
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Eko a worker in illegal coal mine prepares machine which is mounted to tractor to drag bathtub with coal.
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An illegal coal miner exits illegal coal mine on bathtub with coal at outskirts of central Bosnian town of Zenica.
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An illegal coal miner has a break outside illegal coal mine on outskirts of central Bosnian town of Zenica.
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Three illegal coal miners inside illegal coal mine on outskirts of central Bosnian town of Zenica.
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Two illegal coal miners inside illegal coal mine on outskirts of central Bosnian town of Zenica.
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An illegal coal miner preparing fire for coffee in front of illegal coal mine on outskirts of central Bosnian town of Zenica.
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Footsteps in canal at entrance of illegal coal mine on outskirts of central Bosnian town of Zenica.
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An illegal miner going home after work near central Bosnian town of Zenica.

llegal coal mines are a matter of concern to environmentalists and labor activists alike. Zenica, Bosnia and Herzogovina. 30th November 2011

A matter of concern - illegal coal mining in the heart of Europe
By Jasmin Brutus

“I could do this job till the end of my life. True, it is dangerous and risky, but it pays of in the end”, says twenty four year old, rebellious “employee” of the illegal coal mine known by the nickname “Grof” (count). Work starts early in the morning, and sometimes if necessary it lasts all day. Very few people know about these mines. Government even buried some of them with explosives, and lately, inspection doesn't even come here because those in charge want to buy social order. Most of the illegal coal mines in Bosnia and Herzegovina are found in the periphery of Zenica- more than thirty of them. Reason for this is growth of economy problems in the land, so the people are compelled to do different jobs to survive. These mines, compared to the legal ones, owned by state, offer a kind of “benefit” to their customers, in relation to the bought amount of coal. They are more flexible to do business in smaller quantities.
“Those that don't have money for three tons of coal, but they need three bags of it, come to us”, says Grof about their business philosophy. The main preoccupations of these “Merry men” are money and women, and you can't go to work without alcohol, of course.
“I like a good drink. This job is very dangerous. Little mistake and in a wink you get buried without anyone knowing about it”, says Grof during the break, and playing with his big, sharp knife. He also explains the process of the coal mining. You dig with your bare hands, and the coal is dragged out on surface in the bath tab found on a junkyard. After that, coal is separated, packed in bags and distributed by tractors to its end-users- happy customers.

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