In January 2010 the Tomislawice Stripmine opened in central western Poland. Consisting of a series of open pits scattered across the area, it is run by the state-owned company Konin Mine, which extracts brown coal for use by the power industry.
Lignite, or brown coal, supplies 93 percent of Poland’s energy and three nearby power stations burn materials from the Konin mines. The initial impact of open-cast mining highly physical, causing local lakes to disappear, forests to dry up and water supplies to dwindle. Local residents and Greenpeace activists argue that open-cast mining, which sucks up water within a several-kilometre radius, will rapidly drain the shallow Lake Goplo within a few years.
I documented and interviewed the families who have been left on the edge of The Tomislawice Stripmine, both those who’ve stayed and those who’ve received new housing through compulsory displacement or voluntary relocation packages.