Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Current Time

Illegal Mining In Kyrgyzstan: Life Threatening, But Well-Paid

"Many have kidney diseases," says miner Marat Ergeshev. "It's cold during winter and hot during summer. There is no time to see a doctor. We have to work while we can."
"Many have kidney diseases," says miner Marat Ergeshev. "It's cold during winter and hot during summer. There is no time to see a doctor. We have to work while we can."
By RFE/RL's Current Time TV

A growing number of men in southern Kyrgyzstan are making their living in illegal hand-dug coalmines. The job is dangerous, but in a good week, each miner can make up to 10,000 soms (about $150).

A few people die in illegal Kyrgyz mines every year, but the men tell RFE/RL’s Current Time TV correspondent Zhibek Begaliyeva they consider it worth the risk.

It’s not just the danger of working underground, where the walls are reinforced by simple logs that could give in at any moment. Simply going down into the mine is a risk -- a miner sits in a twine loop, while men on the surface work the mechanism to pull him down or up. One mistake could result in a deadly 70-meter fall.

Workers also risk lung silicosis, eye and musculoskeletal system diseases.

"Many have kidney diseases," says miner Marat Ergeshev. "It's cold during winter and hot during summer. There is no time to see a doctor. We have to work while we can."

But the men smile as they talk about their job.

"Every day we make 1,000-2,000 soms. Where else are you going to make such money?" explains Ryspai Dykanov.

The miners say they try not to think about the risks.

"Well, if God wills, we could die above the ground, too," says Kylychbek Kyrgyzbaev. "If disaster strikes, then it is Allah's will. But we, of course, try to follow safety rules."

Illegal Coal Miners In Kyrgyzstani
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January 15, 2016
Southern Kyrgyzstan is dotted with small coal mines that operate without official permission or regulation. These illegal mines pay their workers an above-average wage -- at the cost of risking life and limb. (Jibek Begalieva, RFE/RL's Current Time TV)

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Comment Sorting
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by: Mamuka
January 17, 2016 21:04
If poor people are this desperate to earn a living, won't poor nations still turn to coal to stoke their economies? Is the fight against climate change or global warming a luxury that only wealthy nations can afford?

About This Blog

Using regional media and the reporting of Current Time's wide network of correspondents, Anna Shamanska will tell stories about people and society you are unlikely to read anywhere else.   

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