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The Sakdrisi Mine problem

By Natalie Osipovi
Tuesday, January 14
The student movement “Green First” is demanding a reaction from the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia over the illegal actions of RMG Gold. They want to return the status of immovable monument to the Sakdris-Kachaghiani mountain-archaeological mine and to salvage the monument from complete and final destruction.

Sakdrisi mountain-archaeological mine is believed to be the world's oldest gold-mining center. The settlement from the Bronze Age period is found on this territory. In 2006, the mine was granted the status of cultural monument, which was lifted in 2013.

According to Green First, despite the agreement between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and Germany about the study of the issue by an international scientific commission, RMG Gold launched the criminal destruction of the ancient mine. They think that state agencies have not reacted adequately and the representatives of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection are still not allowed on the territory of mine.

The representatives of Green First want to make the company responsible for its illegal vandalism. In the case that the ministry does not take strict measures, it will create doubts about whether on there are corrupt deals between the state and the investor.

A mining company has adamantly denied claims it will vandalize the ancient gold mine when it begins excavating the site. RMG Gold said charges against the company concerning the Sakdrisi Gold Mine, were "unfounded” and "absurd” at a press conference on January 13.

The consultant to the Cultural Heritage issues of the RMG Gold Company, Soso Tsabadze, said the Ministry of Culture was acting one-sidedly against the company.

"Sakdrisi Gold Mine does not have cultural monument status. So all charges that we are vandals and trying to annihilate a cultural monument is absurd,” said Tsabadze at the press conference. He also claimed the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection had delayed approving permission for the company to begin working on the Sakdrisi territory.

The Petition against the actions of the company is being spread in social networks and it has 1,866 signatures already. The undersigned demand the granting of the ancient monument status to the Sakdrisi Mine.

“The decision of the Ministry was based on the statements of non-qualified persons and who were biased towards the conclusion. We demand the return of the status to the mine in order to make it possible to carry out international scientific research on the project,” the petition says.

According to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection, the public hearing will take place on February 6, in Bolnisi and on February 7, in Dmanisi.