Once key to the economy, Bosnia's coal mines face closure

As Bosnia-Herzegovina prepares to switch from coal to renewables,

the country's miners face an uncertain future.

Workers at the Abid Lolic pit fear its closure will bring financial collapse to the central region,

wreaking ruin upon its 15,000 inhabitants.

Adis Kasumovic is the mine's director.

"The whole valley of Nova Bila is financially dependent on this mine, if this mine stops working, there will be a big financial collapse in this valley as people wouldn't have anything to live from."

Miners were once a trademark of the former Yugoslav republic, rich in coal.

A miner even features on one of the country's banknotes.

But Bosnia, and its Western Balkan neighbors who are clamoring to join the EU, have pledged to reduce CO2 emissions -

and close their coal mines by 2050 in line with the rest of Europe.

Major restructuring plans are in the works.

The government says that no miner will lose a job in the process,

but thousands of families fear unemployment -

as the country has yet to develop alternative job schemes.

Senad Kasumovic has worked at the Abid Lolic mine for 28 years.

"My grandfather, father and brothers who worked here all earned a pension, I hope I will earn one too."

Unions have announced a general strike and subsequent protests -

until their demands for socially-sensitive restructuring have been respected.

Some, such as ecologist Anes Podic, say the pressures on the coal industry are less to do with sustainability,

and more rooted in inefficiency and corruption.

"A 2008 study examining energy in the whole country of Bosnia-Herzegovina found major problems with the productivity of a number of mines. When you add corruption ad employ people along political party lines, then you get the current situation, in which the chaos is caused not so much by the pressure to switch to renewable energies, but by the general state of Bosnian-Herzegovinian society."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting