PM: RMG Gold will continue mining works in Sakdrisi

Garibashvili also noted that a museum would be built in Bolnisi, which will keep the artifacts found in Sakdrisi., 31 Dec 2014 - 13:14, Tbilisi,Georgia

We must define our priorities considering the country's interests and only then make a decision, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili noted while commenting on the controversial Sakdrisi Gold Mine issue yesterday.

On a Government Meeting, Garibashvili once again explained his position in this regard and stressed the importance of continuing gold-mining works in Sakdrisi.

The PM also noted that a modern archaeological museum would be built in Bolnisi to house the artifacts discovered in Sakdrisi, while the RMG Company would be given a new license to continue its operations in Sakdrisi. The company’s old license expires tomorrow.

"On one hand, we had an abandoned archaeological site neglected for years, so we transported the artifacts that were discovered there to a new space. We were promised by RMG Gold that a modern archaeological museum will be built in Bolnisi to preserve all artifacts discovered in Sakdrisi. This museum will serve as a cultural and tourism destination. We also plan to renovate the Old German Quarters,” he said.

"On the other hand, we had to decide the fate of 3,000 families and the whole district, as this company provides for the Bolnisi District in full. Allow me to confirm on behalf of the Government that we must extend the company's permit and allow RMG to continue its operations. This is our joint position. We discussed this issue with our economic team," the Prime Minister stated.

Sakdrisi Gold Mine has been one of the country’s main topics of discussion after the Government approved private gold mining company RMG Gold to resume mining at the controversial site one week ago.

Mining resumed on December 12 – one day after the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection and the National Agency of Cultural Heritage Protection approved RMG Gold’s request to resume mining at the site. Some experts believed Sakdrisi Gold Mine was one of the oldest gold mines in the world, dating back almost 5,000 years.

News of re-establishing mining at Sakdrisi Gold Mine was harshly protested by one part of society who said RMG Gold did not have the right to continue working at the site as Tbilisi City Court was still discussing the Ministry’s notion to revoke the mine’s status as a cultural heritage site.

The Sakdrisi Gold Mine was discovered in the early 2000s and excavations began in 2006. It was initially given the status of cultural heritage site but this was revoked by the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection in 2013.

A court debate is still going on about revoking the [cultural heritage] status of the monument.