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.