(Bloomberg) — Polish taxi driver Grzegorz says his phone won’t stop ringing, such is the demand for his services. Yet it’s not a ride people want. Grzegorz has given up driving for a far more lucrative line of work as Poland grapples with energy shortages: illegal mining.
Around his home in the Lower Silesian city of Walbrzych, coal sits as little as a meter below the surface in fields, recreation areas and even gardens. A four-man team can unearth a ton in an hour and make 1,000 zloty ($220) each for half a day’s work, roughly 60% of what an average person earns in a week.