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Head of the Sakdrisi expedition in Tbilisi

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Thursday, July 3
After long term rallies regarding the Sakdrisi-Kachagiani gold mine, the protesters’ demand was fulfilled. Dr. Thomas Stollner is finally in Georgia. Protesters were demanding to bring him to Georgia since the very begging of the rallies. Stollner was invited by the Foreign Ministry.

Stollner said that he is in Georgia to provide recommendations.

“Reason for my attendance here is to participate in negotiations and to give advice. I am not the one who must make the decision. I know that this is a very sensitive issue; there is commercial interests on the one hand and protection of cultural heritage on the other hand,” stated Stollner.

Head of the expedition Irina Gambashidze, said that she cannot predict the results of the upcoming meetings.

“We will have constructive negotiations and meetings. This issue has been ongoing for more than a year already and no one could find a solution. I hope we will find the way out of the situation with Stollner,” stated Gambashidze.

The Ministry of Culture and some analysts claim that Sakdrisi gold mine is not as important heritage-wise as it was illustrated. The current government members and the ministry also indicated the commercial interests and employment. RMG Gold, an entity that evolved from Georgia’s former mega-mining company Madneuli, is believed to rank as one of the country's largest taxpayers. RMG Gold executives claim that to find fresh gold and maintain their operations, they need access to Sakdrisi-Kachagiani. Meanwhile, German scientists, NGOs and a great portion of analysts state that Sakdrisi Kachagiani is one of the oldest gold mines and an important historical gem for the country.

Despite such claims, several months ago the ministry of culture revoked the status of historical heritage from the mine. However, the court annulled the decision on June 16.

The Court said the Ministry violated procedures and made the decision to suspend the historical monument status of Sakdrisi Gold Mine without archaeological studies.

Rallies are being held by civil activists nearby the Sakrdisi-Kachagiani mine.