The messenger logo

Sakdrisi anti-mining supporters hold rally

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, December 16
The Sakdrisi Protection Committee held a rally in front of the President’s Palace on December 10 demanding the suspension of the mining works carried out by RMG Gold in the Sakrdisi mine, which might be one of the most significant pieces of cultural heritage of Georgia.

The committee, composed of civil society representatives, NGOs, environmentalists and ordinary people, claim that a significant part of the site, where scholars and environmental groups say is an ancient gold mine with invaluable artifacts from prehistoric times, might have been destroyed as the company has been undertaking mining work since December 13.

Georgia’s Minister of Culture and Monument Protection, Mikheil Giorgadze took responsibility for the latest developments in Sakdrisi. According to him, the decision was made in accordance with the law, based on the factual circumstances and documents.

“I mean the geological findings. This issue was also discussed by the Scientific Council of the National Museum; we have their written answer. I have not made a decision unilaterally. There are competent people, agencies, and they made this decision, however, I, as the Culture Minister, take responsibility for the fact,” Giorgadze says.

The company RMG Gold stresses that they have not violated law, as the status of the cultural heritage was removed for the site. Statement concerning the issue from the company side was made by the RMG Gold’s legal advisor, former Chief Prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili.

Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili states that a legal dispute was ongoing regarding the issue and despite this fact the company launched works there. He stresses that the Ministry of Culture should create a working group composed of all interested sides that will study the issue.

Georgia’s Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) claims that even in the case the National Agency for Cultural heritage removed the status of cultural heritage the company was deprived of the right to mine in Sakdrisi. The NGO states that apart from the decree of removing the status, another decree was necessary, which would permit the company to continue mining works there.

Meanwhile, the Georgian church condemned the fact of explosion in Sakdrisi, demanded investigating of the fact and punishing those who committed the action.

"There is a question whether Sakdrisi is significant. Scientists say this is the oldest gold field. There was an explosion and Georgia’s church would like to condemn the incident,” Patriarch Ilia II declared.