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Court of Appeal: Revise the status of Sakrdisi Gold Mine

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, March 3
The Court of Appeals of Tbilisi has upheld the verdict of Tbilisi City Court on the Sakdrisi mine case, and ordered the Ministry of Culture to revise Sakdrisi's cultural heritage status.

Cultural heritage status was removed from the site by the ministry last year. This resulted in recurrent rallies near the mine and in Tbilisi. The rallies were organized by various NGOs and civil society.

Minister of Culture Mikheil Giorgadze, claims that the verdict does not concern the status of the mine.

Giorgadze’s body is eligible to appeal the verdict within a 21-day term.

Meanwhile, the parliamentary majority failed to agree on the formation of a temporary commission on the Sakdrisi issue.

Majority MP Gia Volski states that the Georgian Dream coalition representatives in parliament are against such a commission. However, fellow majority MP Ani Mirotadze and the National Forum party from the coalition support the creation of the Sakrdisi mine.

The opposition United National Movement claims that the majority is likely to wreck the topic, as there was no political will to solve the issue in favor of historical heritage status.

For ten years, Professor Thomas Stoellner, a leading specialist in mining archaeology from the University of Bochum, Germany, has been studying the archaeological record at Sakdrisi, together with his Georgian colleagues.

"When we went to do the first survey, we found hammer stones - typical mining tools - thousands of them," says Prof Stoellner, who believes that tunnels inside the hill date back 5,400 years.

"At once I realized the importance of the site. When we got the first value carbon dates, and they were around 3,000 BC, it was clear that this was an exciting find, which had never occurred in pre-historic mining."

The government supported removing cultural heritage status from Sakdrisi mine.

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili spoke about the importance of continuing the mining work in Sakdrisi-Kachaghiani by RMG Gold Company. Gharibashvili stated that the fate of 3,000 men employed by the company would have been unfavorable in the case of the closure of the mine. The government and the ministry also put the importance and the historical meaning of the site under question.