Mr Gulliver Cragg of BBC reported that illegal coal
mines in Ukraine, which started as a mode for hand to mouth survival in the woods outside villages or even in backyards and under houses, is now big business with bigger open cast operations
Mr Mihailo Volynets head of Ukraine's Independent Miners' Union told “We know how much coal is from the state mines and private mines and we know how much coal is up for sale. About 6.5 million tonnes more coal, 10% of Ukraine's total output, is for sale than is officially mined.”
Mr Volynets said “There's no explanation. Maybe Martians brought it.”
The report added that illegal mining in the Donbass and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine is there for all to see. Coal trucks routinely rumble along roads where there are no legal mines.
With no taxes to pay or workers' rights to respect, wildcat mines produce far cheaper coal than legal ones.
Thanks to their contacts in the murky world of Ukrainian politics and business, the illegal mining bosses can sell this coal via legal mines.
Ukraine’s biggest coal mining company DTEK confirmed for the BBC that the company is deeply concerned about illegal mining as it constitutes unfair competition, and lures young miners away with better pay, albeit to worse and more dangerous conditions.