In the late summer heat of Poland, scores of vehicles and trucks await at the Lubelski Wegiel Bogdanka coal mine, while residents concerned of winter fuel shortages wait for days and nights in lineups reminiscent of Soviet times.
On Tuesday, Artur, 57, a retiree, traveled up from Swidnik, around 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the mine in eastern Poland, intending to purchase several tonnes of coal for himself and his family.
Poland prohibited purchases with immediate effect in April, but the EU stipulated that they be phased out by August.
Despite the fact that Poland produces over 50 million tonnes of coal from its own mines each year, imported coal, much of it from Russia, is a household staple due to competitive costs and the fact that Russian coal is marketed in chunks that are more appropriate for domestic usage.
Soaring demand has pushed Bogdanka and other state-controlled mines to restrict supplies or give limited quantities of gasoline to private purchasers via online platforms. Artur, who declined to disclose his full name, stated that he had gathered documents from his extended family in the hopes of picking up all of their gasoline allotment at once.