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Gold 2020 Editorial / Environmental

Coal Survivors

  • Prize
    Gold in Editorial / Environmental
  • Photographer
    Alain Schroeder

The mining town of Toretsk is isolated from the rest of eastern Ukraine. The mines in this coal-rich Donbas region, have closed one by one since the 1990s. Since the start of the (ongoing) Donbas conflict in 2014, young people have left from the region due to the proximity of the frontline, just 10 kms away. Centralna Mine, is the oldest and deepest coal mine (1124 meters) in the region. Its infrastructure is dilapidated and in dire need of repair. The situation is tense and as of mid-February 2020, miners had not been paid for four months and rumors of closure by the summer of 2020 are rife.

Belgian photojournalist Alain Schroeder has been working in the industry for over four decades. First as a sports photographer in the 80s, then shooting books and editorial pieces in art and human stories. In 2013, he uprooted his life, trading-in his shares in Reporters, to pursue life on the road with a camera. He now travels the world shooting stories focusing on social issues and people. He has won many international awards including Nikon Japan, Nikon Belgium, TPOTY, Istanbul Photo, Days Japan, Trieste, PX3, IPA, MIFA, BIFA, PDN, the Fence, LensCulture, Siena, POYI and World Press.