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Private company management changed

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, May 15
For the first time in Georgia's history, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Georgia has appointed the head of a private company, namely the Georgian Manganese corporation.

The decision was made after a court verdict, which said that the company created extremely grave ecological conditions in town Chiatura, in the Imereti region of western Georgia.

Georgian Manganese is a major producer of high-grade and regular-grade manganese in Georgia. Georgian Manganese’s mining operation includes seven mines and eight quarries throughout the country.

The company has been fined several times for polluting the environment while obtaining manganese. However, after being warned many times, the situation remained unchanged.

“After detailed examinations, carried out this month, it was revealed that the company did not eliminate the contamination and degradation of the river and soil, but rather worsened the situation. This created an ecological catastrophe at the scene,” the statement of the Environment Ministry reads.

The ministry appointed Nikoloz Chikovani as the manager of the Chiatura Manganese Mine, who will be responsible for improving the ecological situation in the town.

“We would like to emphasize that the company continues to function in the usual manner, the employees of the company will not be dismissed and soon the company's special manager will present a plan-schedule to improve the situation,” the ministry stated.

The experts say that the air pollution rate in Chiatura is 27 times more than average.

Shota Gaprindashvili, a member of the Chiatura Union association says that the River Kvirila turned out to be one of the most polluted rivers in Georgia.

“The polluted river poses a threat not only to the Chiatura Municipality but to the whole of western Georgia,” he added.

Environmentalists say that the manganese has been scattered into the air and then gets affects both local people and the water system, which has increased the number of oncological diseases in the town.

The locals say that after their excavations, the Georgian Manganese company leaves the sites open and they breathe the harmful particles of manganese. They also say that the company has destroyed all the nearby pastures.

Experts say it will take at least ten years to improve the current grave situation in Chiatura.