Sakdrissi-Goldmine - Sakdrissi gold mine >>

ZERSTÖRUNG DER ANTIKEN MINE IN SAKDRISSI DURCH RMG UND DAS DEUTSCHE BERGBAU-MUSEUM ALS GEGENSPIELER
Brief von Prof. Dr. Thomas Stöllner (Ruhr Uni Bochum - Archäologie) an Prof. Dr. S. Ratiani (UNM-Abgeordneter, UNM = ehemalige Regierungspartei) zur historischen, kulturellen Bedeutung des ältesten untertägigen Goldbergwerks der Welt: Seite 1 - Seite 2 - tzona.org
Die Goldfahnder - Auf der Suche nach dem Goldenen Vlies - 17.03.2015, TV-Sendung auf PHOENIX, programm.ard.de
Gold war schon in der Antike heiß begehrt. Es war und ist ein Machtfaktor, ein Statussymbol, und es hat auch in Tausenden von Jahren nichts an Nimbus und Wert eingebüßt. Schon die alten Griechen waren ganz versessen auf das Edelmetall, was die Geschichte vom Raub des Goldenen Vlieses beweist. Die deutschen Wissenschaftler Andreas Hauptmann und Thomas Stöllner sind Spezialisten im Aufspüren antiken Goldes. Um dem Ursprung vom Mythos Gold auf den Grund zu gehen, verfolgen sie zwei getrennte Spuren. ...
Auf der Webseite ist eine Petition zur Erhaltung von Sakdrissi aufrufbar !
Gemeinsam mit georgischen Archäologen erforscht das Deutsche Bergbau-Museum Bochum (DBM) seit 2004 das Goldbergwerk von Sakdrissi. Es liegt ca. 50 Kilometer südwestlich der georgischen Hauptstadt Tiflis, in einem Hügel mit dem Namen Katschagiani (in dem Gebiet Sakdrissi). Unsere Untersuchungen haben ergeben, dass dieses Bergwerk gut 5.000 Jahre alt ist. Somit ist es das älteste untertägige Goldbergwerk der Welt. Dieses herausragende kulturhistorische Denkmal soll einem Tagebau zur Goldgewinnung zum Opfer fallen. ...
Dear ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues, I am writing you to ask your help!
As you perhaps know Sakdrissi Gold mine is in great danger to be exploited and de- stroyed in near future. Then one of the most important prehistoric mining sites will be destroyed forever. Georgia will lose one of its most important cultural heritage sites while archaeology and science will have never access again to this outstanding docu- ment. ...
Salz, Kupfer, Gold: Früher Bergbau im Kaukasus - Infos und Fotos, ruhr-uni-bochum.de/archaeologie/
Ansprechpartner: Prof. Dr. Thomas Stöllner & Prof. Dr. Andreas Hauptmann
Der Kaukasus war eines der bedeutendsten „Erzgebirge“ der Alten Welt, speziell des Alten Orients. Als Land des „Goldenen Vlies“ umfasst den Westteil Georgiens, die Kolchis, ein Synonym für den Goldreichtum in der Antike.
Eines der ältesten bekannten Goldbergwerken der Menschheit
Als erster „Metallurge“ wurde Prometheus, der Gigant, von den Göttern an die Felsen des Kaukasus geschmiedet und bis heute ist der Archäologe überwältigt vom Metallreichtum der prähistorischen Fundkomplexe in dieser Region. Zu den Besonderheiten der Region gehören neben den reichen polymetallischen Lagerstätten vor allem auch der Goldreichtum der Antike. Aber schon am Beginn der Frühbronzezeit besaß das Edelmetall große ökonomischeund gesellschaftliche Bedeutung. ...
Salt, copper, gold: Early mining in the Caucasus - bergbaumuseum.de/index.php/en/
The Caucasus was one of the most important ore-containing mountain ranges of the ancient world, or more specifically of the ancient Orient. As the country of the “Golden Fleece”, it includes the western part of Georgia, Colchis, a name synonymous, in ancient times, with an abundance of gold. The giant Prometheus, the first ever “metallurgist”, was chained to the rocks of the Caucasus by the gods, and even today archaeologists are overwhelmed by the abundance of metals in the prehistoric find complexes in this region. The special features of the region include rich polymetallic deposits, and of course the abundance of gold found in antiquity. But even at the beginning of the Bronze Age, the precious metal had great economic and social significance. ...
Älteste Goldmine wird nach dubiosem Gutachten einer modernen Minengesellschaft preisgegeben - 22.08.2013, archaeologik.blogspot.de, Eingestellt von Rainer Schreg
... Auf Anweisung des georgischen Ministeriums für Kultur und Denkmalpflege vom 5. Juli 2013 wurde der Schutz aufgehoben. Bis zum 15. September müssen zudem die archäologischen Forschungen dort beendet werden.
Die Entscheidung beruft sich auf eine Formfehler bei der Unterschutzstellung sowie auf ein Gutachten, an dem keiner der einschlägigen Experten, wohl aber Vertreter der Bergbaugesellschaft RMG Gold Ltd beteiligt waren. Diese hat die Abbaurechte erhalten und möchte ab September 2013 im Tagebau eine Goldmine betreiben, der auch das Areal der prähistorischen Bergbaus betrifft. ...
Prof. Thomas Stöllner von der Ruhr-Universität Bochum schildert die Situation in einem offenen Brief v. 3.8.2013, der sich bei http://www.archeologia.be/georgia.htmlfindet. Hier sind auch die zugehörigen Dokumente als pdf abzurufen: 
kommentiertes Gutachten: Resolution of the committee of Minister of Georgian Culture Heritage studying the subjects referred to the ancient Sakdrissi mining site in Municipality of Bolnissi
Projektbericht: The Gold Mine of Sakdrissi: Results and analyses and a calculation of the prehistoric gold-exploitation
Die georgischen Kollegen haben eine Petition gestartet, die die Kommission 
und ihr Gutachten in Frage stellt: http://www.petitions24.com/sakdrisi
ECONOMIA, HISTORIA - TAN VALIOSO COMO EL ORO, P.4 - 24.04.2014, constructoraindustrialyminas.com/blog, SERGIO BARRAZA
Tvalcheridze, el miembro de la comisión, comento sobre la importancia arqueológica del sitio Sakdrisi, rechazando las afirmaciones de que el oro se extraía allí hace 5.400 años como un “disparate científico.” El conocimiento de la extracción de oro a partir de minerales locales no existía en el momento y no hay evidencia que pruebe que el oro se extrajo en el sitio, dijo. ...
by Paul Rimple Georgia EurasiaNet's Weekly Digest Archeology Georgian Culture Georgian Economy
Bone tools used in the extraction of ore were found at the site. (Photo: German Mining Museum)
A researcher pushes up a bucket of excavated soil from inside the mine. (Photo: German Mining Museum)
The excavation site is 50 kilometers southwest of the Georgian capital Tbilisi. (Photo: German Mining Museum)
German and Georgian scientists have been excavating and studying the Sakrisi-Kachagiani ancient gold mining site in southern Georgia since 2004. The nine-hectare site, whose caves have revealed caves and mining tools believed to date to the third millennium BC, is now caught in a legal battle that pits preservation against new commercial mining. (Photos: German Mining Museum) ...
14.11.2013 - The Sakdrissi gold mine in Georgia was discovered in 2004 by German ... The Institute of ArchaeologicalStudies at Ruhr-University of Bochum has ... /08/2013/ plea-to-save-ancient-georgian-gold-mine-from-total-destruction ...
Plea to save ancient Georgian gold mine from total destruction ... - archaeologicalnews.tumblr.com, 29.08.2013
The 5000 year old gold mine of Sakdrissi in Georgia lies 50 km southwest of ... However, this status was removed on the 5th July 2013 to pave the way for an ... In 2004, German archaeologists from Ruhr-University Bochum ...

SAKDRISSI-GOLDMINE 5000 JAHRE ALT IN GEORGIEN ENTDECKT
Gold ist das erste Metall, das man allein wegen seines Prestigecharakters gewann und verarbeitete, in der Entwicklung der Kulturepochen spielte es eine herausragende Rolle. 2004 machte ein Forscherteam aus georgischen und deutschen Archäologen, darunter der federführende Wissenschaftler Prof. Dr. Andreas Hauptmann (Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum) und RUB-Archäologe Prof. Dr. Thomas Stöllner (Lehrstuhl für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum) bei einer Lehrausgrabung in Georgien einen sensationellen Fund: Ein frühbronzezeitliches Goldbergwerk bei Sakdrissi aus der Zeit von 3.000 v. Chr. In diesem Sommer beginnt ein dreieinhalb Jahre dauerndes Projekt, bei dem das Team das Bergwerk weiter ausgräbt und erforscht. Die Volkswagen-Stiftung fördert das Projekt, das auch die Förderung von georgischen Nachwuchsforschern vorsieht. Das Projekt wird in Zusammenarbei mit dem Georgischen Nationalmuseum, Otar Lordkipanidze Zentrum für Archäologie (Frau Dr. Irina Gambaschidze) durchgeführt. ...
Vorgeschichte: Im Sommer 2003 bewilligte die Stiftung dem Deutschen Bergbau-Museum Bochum eine Förderung des Projekts „Auf- und Ausbau interdisziplinärer Konzepte in Forschung und Lehre im Bereich der Montantanarchäologie und Archäometallurgie in Georgien“. Die Forschungs- und Lehrkapazitäten konnten in den Bereichen erweitert und die Zusammenarbeit mit Natur- und Ingenieurwissenschaftlern in der Archäologie gestärkt werden. In Georgien fanden Lehrausgrabungen statt, wobei das Goldbergwerk ans Licht kam. In Folge dessen fand ein Symposium „Von Maikop nach Trialeti – Gewinnung und Verbreitung von Metallen und Obsidian in Kaukasien im 4.-2. Jahrtausend v. Chr.“ statt. 
Archäologen graben ältestes Goldbergwerk aus - scinexx.de, 25. Juli 2007 – (idw - Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 25.07.2007 - DLO)
2004 entdeckten georgische und deutsche Archäologen um Professor Andreas Hauptmann vom Deutschen Bergbau-Museum Bochum und ...
Neue Forschungsarbeiten in Georgien
Gold ist das erste Metall, das allein wegen seines Prestigecharakters vom Menschen gewonnen und verarbeitet wurde. In der Entwicklung der Kulturepochen spielte es eine herausragende Rolle. 2004 machte ein Forscherteam in Georgien einen einmaligen Fund: Das älteste Goldbergwerk der Welt bei Sakdrissi aus der Zeit von 3.000 vor Christus. In einem neuen, dreieinhalb Jahre dauernden Projekt wollen die Archäologen nun das Bergwerk weiter ausgraben und ihm seine Geheimnisse entlocken. 
2004 entdeckten georgische und deutsche Archäologen um Professor Andreas Hauptmann vom Deutschen Bergbau-Museum Bochum und Professor Thomas Stöllner von der Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) bei einer Lehrausgrabung das Goldbergwerk in Sakdrissi. Auf das dritte Jahrtausend vor Christus datiert, erscheint es sensationell, da man bisher angenommen hatte, dass Gold in Flüssen als so genanntes Seifengold gewonnen wurde. Dass man das Edelmetall zu dieser Zeit schon in Stollen abbaute war bisher unbekannt. Die georgische Region ist berühmt für ihr Goldvorkommen, zum Beispiel das Gold der Kolchis, welches auch in der Sage um das Goldene Vlies vorkommt. ...
Georgien: Goldrausch im Kaukasus
31.07.2008, Von Heiko Schwarzburger 
(tagesspiegel.de) Deutsche Forscher suchen in Georgien nach dem Goldenen Vlies – und finden ein 5000 Jahre altes Bergwerk. ...

Goldminen, Bergbau >>

www.bergbaumuseum.de/web/moar-projekte-georgien - In dem arbeiten deutsche und georgische Archäologen, Geowissenschaftler und Botaniker zusammen: Mit eingebunden ist ein Wissenschaftleraustausch, der ...

Andreas Brunn, 10.12.2001 
Seit der Antike ist das Goldene Vlies ein Synonym für den märchenhaften Metallreichtum des Landes am Schwarzen Meer. Auch die langjährigen Forschungsaktivitäten des Deutschen Berbau-Museums Bochum im Vorderen Orient ergaben immer wieder deutliche Hinweise auf massive Metallgewinnung und Handel in dieser Region. Nach der politischen Öffnung des Landes in den 1990er Jahren ergab sich erstmals die Möglichkeit, in Georgien selbst zu forschen und Kontakte zu knüpfen. So entstand in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Zentrum für Archäologische Forschungen der Georgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften das Forschungs- und Ausstellungsprojekt »Georgien – Schätze aus dem Land des Goldenen Vlies«.
Die Ausstellung im Deutschen Bergbau-Museum Bochum ist in drei Teile gegliedert. Eine geheimnisvolle Stimmung umgibt den Besucher im ersten Raum, der ganz in Schwarz gehalten und effektvoll ausgeleuchtet ist. Der Blick wird sogleich auf eine monumentale mehrteilige Skulptur gelenkt, die den Bug eines Schiffes darstellt. Der Rumpf des Schiffes wird angedeutet durch die Position mannshoher stelenförmiger Vitrinen, die fast vollständig aus schwarzem Metall bestehen. Lediglich ein kleiner, etwa in Augenhöhe gelegener Teil der Stelen besteht aus Glas – hier sind beispielhaft einige der schönsten Fundstücke aus der Vor- und Frühgeschichte Georgiens in Szene gesetzt. Der obere Abschluß der Vitrinen besteht wiederum aus schwarzem Metall und erinnert in der stilisierten Form an antike griechische Helme. An den Vitrinen sind etwa in Brusthöhe Metallstäbe angebracht, die schräg nach unten zum Boden verlaufen. Erst wenn man das Ensemble aus Skulptur und Vitrinen eingehender betrachtet, erkennt man, daß es sich hier um die Darstellung der Argo und ihrer Besatzung handelt – jenes Schiffes, mit dem Iason und die Argonauten sich auf die Suche nach dem Goldenen Vlies begaben, mit Visionen von sagenhaften Schätzen in ihren Köpfen. 
In Fahrtrichtung des Schiffes setzen Gemälde mit Darstellungen des an einen Felsen geketteten Prometheus und von Iason mit der kolchischen Königstocher Medea leuchtend farbige Akzente. 
Der weitere Weg durch die Ausstellung führt jedoch zwischen den 'Argonauten-Vitrinen' quasi durch den Schiffsrumpf hindurch in den zweiten Raum, der einen rundovalen Grundriß mit in die Wände eingelassenen Vitrinen hat. Hier lernt man anhand der großformatigen Bilder und der Informationstexte Interessantes über die Landschaft und die Menschen in Georgien, sowie über die wechselvolle Geschichte des Landes. Vielen dürfte z.B. nicht bekannt sein, daß der bisher früheste Bewohner Eurasiens eben hier in Georgien entdeckt wurde: der 1,75 Millionen Jahre alte Homo erectus von Dmanissi ist der älteste Fund dieser Urmenschenart außerhalb Afrikas. Weiterhin werden in diesem Raum die bedeutendsten archäologischen Kulturen der Jungsteinzeit und Bronzezeit vorgestellt. Andere Vitrinen sind der eher jüngeren Geschichte und den Beziehungen zwischen Deutschland und Georgien gewidmet, wie etwa deutschen Siedlern und Forschern in Georgien des 18. / 19. Jahrhunderts bis hin zu dem Treffen im Jahr 1990 im Kaukasus, bei dem Gorbatschow, Schewardnadze, Kohl und Genscher die deutsche Wiedervereinigung vorbereiteten. 
Im dritten und größten Raum wird dann deutlich, wieso diese Ausstellung ausgerechnet im Deutschen Bergbau-Museum Bochum stattfindet: hier dreht sich alles um die Gewinnung und Verwendung der verschiedenen Metalle und anderer mineralischer Rohstoffe in der Vor- und Frühgeschichte Georgiens. Im Zentrum des Raumes dreht sich auch etwas, nämlich die überdimensionale Nachbildung einer bronzezeitlichen Hirschfigur. Im Original nur wenige Zentimeter groß, beherrscht diese Figur mit einer Größe von etwa drei Metern den Raum, dessen Wände in ihrem Dekor an kirchliche Architektur erinnern. 
Wie Fenster in die Vergangenheit wirken die in die Wände eingelassenen Vitrinen, auf deren Rückwänden sich meist sehr dezente zeichnerische Darstellungen finden, welche die ausgestellten Objekte hervorragend illustrieren. Mit grauem Strich auf weißem Grund wird so den Exponaten ein wenig Leben eingehaucht und gezeigt, wie etwa die ausgestellten Geräte verwendet oder wie Waffen oder Schmuck getragen worden sein könnten. Dabei drängen sich die Illustrationen nie in den Vordergrund und lassen dem Besucher stets Raum für die eigene Vorstellungskraft. 
Gleich links vom Eingang werden die bergmännisch gewonnenen Rohstoffe und Erze vorgestellt, die in der Geschichte Georgiens eine wichtige Rolle spielten, wie etwa Antimon- und Kupfererze, Blei- und Silbererze sowie Goldvererzungen, aber auch Obsidian. Die verwendeten bergmännischen Werkzeuge findet man gleich eine Vitrine weiter: Rillenschlägel, Hämmer, Klopf- und Reibesteine aus harten Gesteinen wie Granit, Andesit oder Diabas. Nicht in diese Vitrine passte wohl ein sehr bemerkenswertes Exemplar eines Rillenschlägels aus einem Kupferbergwerk des zweiten vorchristlichen Jahrtausends, das gesondert präsentiert wird: Es ist über 44 kg schwer und konnte wohl kaum von einem Bergmann allein gehandhabt werden. 
Zu den montanarchäologisch besonders interessanten Stücken gehören u.a. auch die seltenen Holzfunde, wie etwa das Fragment eines spätbronzezeitlichen Fördertroges und das hölzerne Model einer Tüllenaxt zur Herstellung von Gußformen aus der Mitte des 3. Jahrtausends. 
Da der Schwerpunkt der Ausstellung auf der Metallgewinnung und -verarbeitung liegt, bekommt man entsprechend wenig Keramiken zu sehen, die sonst üblicherweise einen Großteil der Exponate stellt. Statt dessen wird in Bochum ein breites Spektrum an Grußformen, Tiegeln und natürlich zahlreichen Metallobjekten präsentiert. Darunter finden sich aus gediegenem Kupfer kaltgeschmiedete Pfeilspitzen und Ahlen aus dem 6. Jahrtausend als früheste Belege für Metallverarbeitung, einige im Gußverfahren hergestellte Objekte aus reinem Kupfer und viele Waffen, Schmuckstücke und andere Gegenstände der Bronzezeit, die aus verschiedenen Kupferlegierungen hergestellt wurden – neben der 'klassischen' (Zinn-) Bronze sind hier insbesondere Antimon- und Arsenkupfer zu nennen. 
Neben zahlreichen Werkzeugen, Waffen und Schmuckstücken aus Bronze, Eisen, Gold und Silber sind in der Ausstellung auch andere Metallobjekte vertreten, die man ansonsten wohl kaum zu sehen bekommt, so z.B. bronze- und eisenzeitliche Schmuckstücke, die aus reinem Antimon bzw. reinem Zinn bestehen oder einen Bronzehortfund aus zahlreichen z.T. miteinander verschmolzenen Einzelobjekten, der wohl als Rohstoffdepot diente. 
Zur Ausstellung ist ein knapp 500 Seiten starker, durchgängig farbig illustrierter Katalog erschienen, in dem die einzelnen Themen noch einmal ausführlich dargestellt werden. Entsprechend der Ausrichtung der Ausstellung behandelt die Mehrzahl der Beiträge montanarchäologische bzw. archäometallurgische Themen, die ersten 80 Seiten sind jedoch einer Einführung in die Landeskunde und einem Überblick über den aktuellen Stand der archäologischen Forschung in Georgien gewidmet. 
Im Katalogteil selbst sind die Exponate - die anläßlich der Ausstellung einer Materialanalyse unterzogen wurden - jeweils noch einmal in Farbe abgebildet und ausführlich beschrieben (inklusive der Analyseergebnisse). Außerdem sind hier auch Fundstücke aufgeführt, die aus Platzmangel nicht in der Ausstellung gezeigt werden konnten. 
Der Katalog, der trotz der guten Ausstattung und des großen Umfangs nur 48,-- DM kostet, ist somit eine der wenigen umfassenden Quellen und ein wichtiges Nachschlagewerk zur Archäologie, Metallurgie und Bergbaugeschichte des Landes am Schwarzen Meer. 
Fazit
»Georgien – Schätze aus dem Land des Goldenen Vlies«ist eine rundum gelungene Ausstellung über ein bisher in Deutschland nur wenig bekanntes Land und seine Geschichte. Sie hinterläßt beim Besucher einen tieferen Eindruck als manche andere Ausstellung, die mit wesentlich größerem finanziellem, materiellem und medialem Aufwand realisiert wurde. Auch wenn man sich nicht in erster Linie für Metallurgie oder Bergbau interessiert, ist die Ausstellung auf jeden Fall einen Besuch wert, denn hier kann man auf ansprechende und lebendige Art viele interessante Dinge über das Land am Schwarzen Meer lernen. 
Wegen der großen Besucherresonanz wurde die Ausstellung verlängert und ist noch bis zum 1. September 2002 im Deutschen Bergbau-Museum Bochum zu sehen. 
Siehe auch
Homepage der Georgien-Ausstellung
Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum
Kategorie Georgien im Guide von Archäologie Online 
Sakdrissi-Goldmine in der Politik - Sakdrissi gold mine in politics >>

KONTROVERSE IN DER POLITIK: ZERSTÖRUNG DER ANTIKEN MINE IN SAKDRISSI MÖGLICH ODER EIN FEHLER ?
Brief von Prof. Dr. Thomas Stöllner (Ruhr Uni Bochum - Archäologie) an Prof. Dr. S. Ratiani (UNM-Abgeordneter, UNM = ehemalige Regierungspartei) zur historischen, kulturellen Bedeutung des ältesten untertägigen Goldbergwerks der Welt: Seite 1 - Seite 2 - tzona.org
The last undamaged part of Sakdrisi was blown up, United National Movement (Anmerkung: UNM = ehemalige Regierungspartei) made an announcement. Sergo Ratiani has reported that an explosion took place today at about 16 am. Parliamentary minority requires visit of experts on the ground. 
" This is a barbaric act. The world"s leading scientists have confirmed that Sakdrisi is the world"s oldest gold mine. This is shame for the country and therefore it is necessary to set up a commission to investigate ongoing events"- Sergi Ratiani stated. Gia Volski responded to UNM members. He underlines that archaeological activities aren`t dangerous according to the report of commission.
The briefing by Sergo Ratiani - 01.04.2015, parliament.ge  
Prof. Dr. S. Ratiani (Anmerkung: UNM-Abgeordneter, UNM = ehemalige Regierungspartei) spoke about necessity to set up the Interim Investigation Commission on Sakdrisi Ore. He introduced the letter by the Head of the Institute of Ancient History of the Institute of Archeological Sciences of the Bochum University (Germany) (Anmerkung: namentlich Thomas Stöllner), providing that Sakdrisi is one of the most important archaeological monument of Georgia, which is the oldest mining for gold obtainment in the world. It is important that each MP shall well understand importance of Sakdrisi and necessity to save it and support the Commission.
The Committee on Sakdrisi Ore Salvation held the photo exhibition in Kutaisi Parliament, exposing the photos of the IV cent. A.D., photos of Sakdrisi history, mining works, gold obtainment methods experiments, literature and maps.
"საყდრისი ოქროს სამთო წესით მოპოვების უძველეს მტკიცებულებას წარმოადგენს მსოფლიო მასშტაბით" - 02.04.2015, gurianews.com
"ერთიანი ნაციონალური მოძრაობა" გერმანელი მეცნიერის, ბოხუმის უნივერსიტეტის პროფესორის, თომას შტიოლნერის წერილს ავრცელებს, სადაც საუბარი საყდრისს შეეხება.
როგორც წერილიდან ირკვევა შტიოლნერი საქართველოს განათლების, მეცნიერებისა და კულტურის საპარლამენტო კომიტეტის თავმჯდომარის მოადგილეს, სერგო რატიანსა და პარლამენტის წევრებს მიმართავს.
"მე მოგმართავთ ჩემს მშობლიურ ენაზე და მინდა შევეცადო, აგიხსნათ თქვენ საყდრისის მნიშვნელობა, მოკლედ წარმოგიდგინოთ ჩვენი კვლევითი პროექტის შედეგები 2004 წლიდან დღემდე და ასევე წარმოგიდგინოთ შექმნილი დილემის გადაჭრის შესაძლებლობები. ...
უკვე რამდენიმე თვეა, რაც საზოგადოება და მედია  „საყდრისის გადარჩენის კომიტეტის“ წევრების მხრიდან კომპანია „არემჯის“ მისამართით გავრცელებულ  უსაფუძვლო, ცილისმწამებლური და კომპანიის იმიჯის შემლახველი განცხადებების კასკადს ისმენს. დაახლოებით ერთი თვის წინ, კომიტეტის წევრებმა ბრალი დასდეს „არემჯის“, თითქოს ყაჩაღიანის უბანზე მიმდინარე სამუშაოებისას ადგილზე ამოიყარა მნიშვნელოვანი არტეფაქტები, რომლებიც „სადღაც გადამალეს“. ... Gegendarstellung von Fa. RMG ... Aber Rettungs-Komitee sagt: Neue archäologische Funde sollen durch Fa. RMG zurückgehalten werden ...
Despite Parliament’s endorsement two months ago of a probe into controversy over Sakdrisi gold mine, the legislative body failed on March 4 to adhere to its own decision after most, but not all, of the lawmakers from the Georgian Dream (GD) ruling coalition refused to vote for composition of the investigative commission, effectively blocking the probe.
A vote on March 4 on endorsing proposed members of the ad hoc parliamentary investigative commission was a second stage of two-step procedure required for setting up of the commission.
The first one was the vote on whether to support or not the investigation in principle to look into circumstances surrounding issuing of a permit to a gold and copper mining company, RMG, allowing it to carry out mining activities at Sakdrisi, which some archeologists believe is the world’s oldest gold mine.
In late December the decision in favor of launching the probe was endorsed with 58 votes to 14. 
 Unlike many of their colleagues from GD ruling coalition, Republican Party and National Forum lawmakers voted in favor together with opposition MPs from UNM and Free Democrats parties.
But while 58 votes were enough to endorse the parliamentary probe, composition of the actual commission needed a higher threshold of support – at least 76 MPs of 150-seat Parliament.
55 MPs voted in favor, 21 short of required.
It means that although the Parliament deemed it “appropriate” in late December to investigate circumstance surrounding Sakdrisi gold mine, no commission will be established for now to launch the probe.
The issue of composition of the commission was discussed by the Parliament on February 20, but at the time lawmakers were not able to put the issue on vote due to lack of quorum.
During those discussions, MP Nukri Kantaria of Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party, the largest faction with the GD ruling coalition, said that Sakdrisi “turned into the issue of political speculation” and although he had nothing against of proposed members of the commission, he was not anyway going to vote in favor because he was against of parliamentary probe.
MP Nino Goguadze of FD opposition party, which initiated launch of the parliamentary probe, said at the parliamentary session on February 20 that such a position of GDDG lawmakers was causing “bewilderment” as technically the vote was about proposed members of the commission and not about whether to launch or not the probe as this latter issue had already been decided positively in late December.
She also called on the lawmakers from the ruling coalition “not to become accomplices of an alleged crime” surrounding Sakdrisi gold mine by blocking the parliamentary probe.
 
Parliament backed on Thursday with 58 votes to 14 a proposal to establish an ad hoc investigative commission of lawmakers to look into recent developments over Sakdrisi, which some archeologists believe is the world’s oldest gold mine.
Launch of gold mining activities at Sakdrisi, a hillock in Bolnisi municipality of Kvemo Kartli region, by gold and copper mining company, RMG, after it received go-ahead from Ministry of Culture, caused outcry from preservationists and opposition parties; it also drew condemnation from the Georgian Orthodox Church and has been disapproved by President Giorgi Margvelashvili as well.
Proposal to launch a parliamentary investigative commission was tabled by opposition Free Democrats (FD) party and was also supported by the UNM parliamentary minority group.
Georgian Dream (GD) ruling coalition was divided on the issue with lawmakers from the Republican Party and the National Forum in favor of the parliamentary probe.
Senior lawmakers from the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party, as well as some other lawmakers from the Georgian Dream parliamentary majority group, spoke against of setting up of such commission.
But as the vote results late on Thursday evening showed, they failed to convince many of their colleagues from GD to vote against of the proposal, and FD’s initiative was endorsed.
Outcry as RMG Launches Gold Mining at Sakdrisi
PM Slams Sakdrisi Campaigners
President Weighs in on Sakdrisi
Georgian National Museum ‘Extremely Concerned’ over Sakdrisi 
Sakdrisi has been in the center of dispute since 2013 when the Ministry of Culture removed it from the list of protected heritage sites, which was then followed by the ministry’s decision in March, 2014 to give permission to RMG to launch open-cast mining at the area. But facing resistance from a group of preservationists, backed by some civil society organizations, including through a court case, RMG was not able up until December 13 to carry out works.
The Culture Ministry’s March 13, 2014 decision was challenged in court by Tbilisi-based legal advocacy Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA) and as an interim measure, pending final verdict, court ordered in early June not to carry out any operations at the disputed site.
But on December 12, after hastily going through otherwise lengthy bureaucratic procedures, the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation at the Ministry of Culture took a decision allowing RMG to launch activities at the Sakdrisi mine. The decision was endorsed by Culture Minister Mikheil Giorgadze on the same day and next morning, on December 13, the company carried out couple of blasts at and sent heavy equipment to the site, prompting protest from activists, who have been campaigning against open-cast mine at Sakdrisi.
Since then PM Irakli Garibashvili defended twice the decision of the Culture Ministry and spoke strongly against of Sakdrisi campaigners. His main argument is that halt of operations at Sakdrisi would leave about 3,000 employees of RMG without livelihood. He also argued that economic benefits from gold mining at Sakdrisi should not fall victim to, as the PM put it, “sterile archeological site.”
Sakdrisi campaigners hold regular protest rally since mining activities were launched. RMG employees also rallied outside the government building in Tbilisi on December 23 to back mining operations at Sakdrisi.
 Parliamentary opposition parties Free Democrats, led by ex-defense minister Irakli Alasania, and United National Movement (UNM) proposed separately to set up a parliamentary investigative commission. UNM’s proposal also includes draft of a resolution, calling on the government to order suspension of mining activities at Sakdrisi.
On December 25 Parliament discussed FD’s proposal.
FD MP Nino Goguadze, who presented the proposal to lawmakers, said that non-transparent and hurriedly taken decision by the authorities to allow the company carry out mining activities at the heritage site was a “crime” and “violence committed against the society and history.”
Chairman of parliamentary committee for culture and education, GD MP Vano Kiguradze, said that setting up of investigative commission was premature at this point; he said that his committee summoned the Culture Minister Mikheil Giorgadze at a hearing planned for December 29.
“Let’s at first hold such a committee hearing and it will help to find out whether the investigative commission is needed,” said MP Kiguradze, who is from the Georgian-Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party.
GD MP Zurab Tkemaladze from the Industrialists party voiced the similar position in favor of holding a committee hearing on this issue at first; Industrialists faction also had a proposal to set up a group of rapporteurs to look into the issue.
But FD MP Zurab Abashidze responded that holding of a committee hearing in an attempt to address the problem was too little too late.
“It is obvious that there are signs of crime and it has to be investigated… to find out who was behind it and why it happened,” he said. “The committee should have reacted much earlier. I do not think the committee will be able to resolve the issue.”
Many lawmakers from the UNM parliamentary minority group, who spoke during the debate, were saying that going hastily through all the bureaucratic procedures in a course of one day to give go-ahead to RMG would not have been possible without instructions from ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili, who, according to UNM, might have business interests in gold mining. UNM MPs were also saying that parliamentary probe may substantiate this allegation.
MP Gia Volski, who chairs GDDG’s parliamentary faction, said during the debate that investigative commission should not be established because opponents, referring to UNM, wanted to use it only for the political motives for the purpose of “discrediting” the authorities and also for “destabilizing” situation in the country.
“Our opponents are now directly telling us that Ivanishvili has business interests in this [gold and copper mining] company. It [calls for parliamentary probe] has nothing to do with the desire to actually find out what is the situation [with Sakdrisi],” MP Volski said, adding that he was not referring to Free Democrats. “We should not let setting up of a group, which will aim at discrediting and destabilization.”
In his speech during the debate, a senior UNM lawmaker Giorgi Gabashvili, who was Minister of Culture in 2006 when Sakdrisi became protected under the heritage laws, spoke less on politics and focused mostly about the site’s importance for the country from its archeological and historical point of view. He, however, also said that GD should not get infuriated if in political debates opponents express suspicion about main decision-maker in the country, referring to Ivanishvili, having links to Sakdrisi-related issues.
MP Tamar Kordzaia of GDDG, who is no stranger of voicing views different from those of her party mates, spoke in favor of setting up of the parliamentary investigative commission.
“Parliament should get involved and provide for more transparency and it should guarantee observance of the law through setting up of this commission,” she said during the debate.
Republican Party, which is voicing views dissenting from those of its partners from the GD ruling coalition more and more frequently recently over various issues, also spoke in favor of the investigative commission.
GD MP Gubaz Sanikidze of the National Forum said that his faction was also joining supporters of the commission. MP Sanikidze, however, also said that he was skeptical that such a commission would yield any result, but would vote for its creation because he does not want anyone to call him supporter of “blasting” Sakdrisi.
113 lawmakers registered in the chamber before the voting started.
Proposal to set up investigative commission required support of majority of MPs present in the chamber, but not less than 50.
Just before the start of voting, a lawmaker from GDDG faction, Gia Zhorzholiani, offered to postpone the vote on FD’s proposal and to hold it after the Parliament discussed UNM’s similar proposal on the same issue following day. The proposal to delay the vote was perceived as an attempt by those against of the investigative commission to buy time to try convincing undecided GD members to vote against. FD, which as a sponsor of the proposal had a final say, insisted on an immediate vote.
Now the Parliament has to compose the commission, which will be established for a three-month term, with a separate decision.
PM Irakli Garibashvili said that stir over gold mine Sakdrisi has been caused only by a small interest group, which, he claimed, tries to benefit from “grants” for archeological research; he dismissed allegations against government about disregarding cultural heritage as “very irresponsible and groundless.”
 Launch of gold mining activates at Sakdrisi, a hillock in Bolnisi municipality of Kvemo Kartli region, which some archeologists believe is the world’s oldest gold mine, caused outcry from preservationists, opposition parties; it also drew condemnation from the Georgian Orthodox Church and has been disapproved by President Giorgi Margvelashvili as well.
President Weighs in on Sakdrisi 
Georgian National Museum ‘Extremely Concerned’ over Sakdrisi 
Outcry as RMG Launches Gold Mining at Sakdrisi
PM Garibashvili suggested that livelihood of about 3,000 employees of gold and mining company RMG should not fall victim to, as the PM put it, “sterile archeological site.”
“I do not remember anyone mentioning Sakdrisi-Kachagiani in course of this year; it was an interest triggered by some kind of narrow group, which had obtained a grant of 1 million Euro. And as far as I know, as I was told, they are also waiting for an additional grant to continue archeological digs,” PM Garibashvili told journalists on December 20 while visiting Samtredia in western Georgia.
 “It’s all good – archaeology is good; cultural monument is also very good, but there is livelihood of 3,000 families and their well-being on the one side, and on the other there is a sterile archeological site,” Garibashvili said.
“I want to ask the public – which one do we prefer? Saving 3,000 families and the entire Bolnisi municipality, which is completely tied to this company, or preserving of something, this archeological site, which will be of no use?” Garibashvili said.
A group of Georgian and German scientists started research of the site with the funding from Germany’s largest private science funder, Volkswagen Foundation, in 2004. Artifacts found there, archeologists say, show that the mine dates back to the early third millennium BC and some samples even point to the second half of the fourth millennium BC, making Sakdrisi one of world’s oldest known gold mines.
Sakdrisi has been in the center of dispute since 2013 when the Ministry of Culture removed it from the list of protected heritage sites, which was then followed by the ministry’s decision in March, 2014 to give permission to RMG to launch open-cast mining at the area. But facing resistance from a group of preservationists, backed by some civil society organizations, including through a court case, RMG was not able up until now to carry out works.
The Culture Ministry’s March 13, 2014 decision was challenged in court by Tbilisi-based legal advocacy Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA) and as an interim measure, pending final verdict, court ordered in early June not to carry out any operations at the disputed site.
But on December 12, after hastily going through otherwise lengthy bureaucratic procedures, the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation at the Ministry of Culture took a decision, further endorsed on the same day by Culture Minister, allowing RMG to launch activities at the Sakdrisi mine. Next morning, on December 13, the company carried out couple of blasts at and sent heavy equipment to the site, prompting protest from activists, who have been campaigning against open-cast mine at Sakdrisi.
President Giorgi Margvelashvili, who met campaigners for Sakdrisi on December 19, said in a statement that carrying out mining activity at the site, while court proceedings were still underway, was “inadmissible.”
President Weighs in on Sakdrisi - 19.12.2014, Civil.ge
President Margvelashvili said in a statement on December 19 that carrying out mining activities at the Sakdrisi gold mine, while court proceedings are still underway, are “inadmissible.”
Russian-owned RMG gold and copper mining company launched works at Sakdrisi, a hillock in Bolnisi municipality of Kvemo Kartli region, which some archeologists believe is the world’s one of the oldest gold mine, on December 13.
Outcry as RMG Launches Gold Mining at Sakdrisi 
Georgian National Museum ‘Extremely Concerned’ over Sakdrisi
Sakdrisi has been in the center of dispute since 2013 when the Ministry of Culture removed it from the list of protected heritage sites, which was then followed by the ministry’s decision in March, 2014 to give permission to RMG to launch open-cast mining at the area. But facing resistance from a group of preservationists, backed by some civil society organizations, including through a court case, RMG was not able up until now to carry out works.
The Culture Ministry’s March 13, 2014 decision was challenged in court by Tbilisi-based legal advocacy Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA) and as an interim measure, pending final verdict, court ordered in early June not to carry out any operations at the disputed site.
But on December 12, after hastily going through otherwise lengthy bureaucratic procedures, the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation at the Ministry of Culture took a decision, further endorsed on the same day by Culture Minister, allowing RMG to launch activities at the Sakdrisi mine. Next morning, on December 13, the company carried out blasts at and sent heavy equipment to the site, prompting protest from activists, who have been campaigning against open-cast mine at Sakdrisi. Campaigners said that they were deliberately kept in dark about the Culture Ministry’s intention to issue a new permission.
“First of all, it should be noted that it is a duty of any civilized country to take care of its cultural heritage. The Sakdrisi gold mine is one of the oldest among Georgia’s cultural heritage sites,” President Margvelashvili said in a written statement.
“Court proceedings are still underway over Sakdrisi. Everyone has to wait for the conclusion of the court proceedings and then to follow court’s final verdict,” the President said. “Until then, it is inadmissible to carry out large scale works on the site.” 
“I also believe that the government should act in accordance with the law and ensure transparent process with the participation of all the stakeholders,” he added.
The President released his statement after he met on December 19 with a group of activists, who are campaigning against open-cast mine at Sakdrisi and who are pushing for further archeological research at the site.
Activists gathered outside the Ministry of Culture on December 15, 2014 to protest against decision giving go-ahead to the gold and mining company, RMG, to carry out mining activities at Sakdrisi hillock in southern Georgian, which some archeologists believe is one of the world’s oldest gold mine. Photo: Eana Korbezashvili/Civil.ge
The Georgian National Museum said it’s “extremely concerned” by developments over Sakdrisi archeological site, where gold and mining company, RMG, launched digging gold after receiving a go-ahead from the Ministry of Culture, causing outcry from preservationists, opposition parties and also drawing condemnation from the Georgian Orthodox Church.
The Georgian National Museum released a statement on Monday evening saying that Sakdrisi represents an “archeological site of international importance.”
The museum, whose researchers have been involved in study of the site for years, also said that there were attempts to misinterpret its role in the dispute. Some comments of Culture Ministry officials and executives from the mining company have been perceived as having national museum’s consent on the decision to proceed with mining activities at Sakdrisi and in exchange for the mining company to build a new museum in Bolnisi to house artifacts found at the site. 
 “The Georgian National Museum is extremely concerned over recent developments around Sakdrisi-Kachagiani. Activities and competences of the Georgian National Museum have been often misinterpreted recently, which damages the national museum’s scientific reputation, which in turn causes misleading of the public; therefore we want to reiterate once again our position that research, carried out by us together with the German side and other partners in full compliance of all the international standards, [demonstrates that] Sakdrisi represents an archeological site of international importance,” the Georgian National Museum said in the statement.
Archeologists from the Georgian National Museum have been studying the site together with colleagues from the German Mining Museum (Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum) with the funding from Germany’s largest private science funder, Volkswagen Foundation, since 2004. Artifacts found there, researchers claim, show that the mine dates back to the early third millennium BC and some samples even point to the second half of the fourth millennium BC, making Sakdrisi one of world’s oldest known gold mines.
The site was granted a special status and became protected under the heritage laws in 2006, but in 2013 the Georgian Ministry of Culture revoked this status.
A screengrab from a video showing a bulldozer on Sakdrisi hillock on December 13, 2014 after gold and mining company, RMG, launched preparing ground for open-cast mine at the site.
The Georgian National Museum said that current “poor condition” of the archeological site was a result of that decision by the Ministry of Culture.
“This decision was made based on a conclusion compiled by an 11-member commission without participation of those Georgian and foreign scientists, who had been studying the site for almost ten years,” the Georgian National Museum said, adding that in 2013 this international team of scientists was actually “isolated” from the Sakdrisi site and a separate team of archeologists were granted access to the site for archeological research.
In March, 2014 the Culture Ministry gave go-ahead to RMG to launch open-cast mine at Sakdrisi, but the decision was challenged in court by Tbilisi-based legal advocacy Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA) and as an interim measure, pending final verdict, court ordered in early June not to carry out any mining operations at Sakdrisi.
Yielding to demands from the campaigners and preservationists, the Ministry of Culture and RMG agreed in summer, 2014 to engage with the team of international archeologists, who have been originally carrying out the research.
As a result, the Georgian National Museum said, a plan for continuation of archeological examination of the site was prepared.
But on December 13 RMG announced about the launch of mining activities at Sakdrisi, carrying out couple of blasts and sending heavy equipment to the site. The Russian-owned company was able to launch the activities after the Ministry of Culture issued new permission on December 12.
This sudden twist caught campaigners by surprise. GYLA said that after December 12 decision of the Culture Ministry, which the public was not aware of, and by its rapid execution by the mining company campaigners were left without even the possibility to file a lawsuit against the ministry’s decision. Technically the case can still be taken to court, but in substance it will change nothing as mining activities are already underway and the site is already damaged, said head of GYLA Kakha Kozhoridze.
The Georgian National Museum, however, said that it is “ready to consider possibility of resumption of scientific research” of the site in case there are proper conditions on the ground.
Photo: Eana Korbezashvili/Civil.ge
Meanwhile a group of activists, who have been campaigning against open-cast mine at Sakdrisi, gathered outside the Ministry of Culture on Monday evening and held a protest rally, which they dubbed as “rolling stone from Sakdrisi” – campaigners brought stones at the ministry to symbolize that, as they put it, “criminal decisions” taken over Sakdrisi would haunt officials’ future careers.
“Blast of Sakdrisi-Kachagiani is not the end,” campaigners said in a statement. “A movement is being launched to achieve a fundamental change of country’s cultural policy and policy of environment protection.”
Outcry as RMG Launches Gold Mining at Sakdrisi - 15.12.2014, Civil.ge
Launch of gold mining operations at a site, which some archeologists believe is the world’s oldest gold mine, caused outcry from preservationists, opposition parties and also drew condemnation from the Georgian Orthodox Church.
The site in question is Sakdrisi, a hillock in Bolnisi municipality of Kvemo Kartli region, where Russian-owned RMG holds license to carry out mining operations.
The company carried out blasts at and sent heavy equipment to the site on December 13, a day after the Ministry of Culture issued permission for the company to carry out works.
The site has been in the center of dispute since 2013 when the Ministry of Culture removed it from the list of protected heritage sites, which was then followed by the ministry’s decision in March, 2014 to give permission to RMG to launch open-cast mining at the area. But facing resistance from a group of preservationists, backed by some civil society organizations, including through a court case, RMG was not able up until now to carry out works.
The Culture Ministry’s March 13, 2014 decision was challenged in court by Tbilisi-based legal advocacy Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA) and as an interim measure, pending final verdict, court ordered in early June not to carry out any operations at the disputed site.
But groups, campaigning against open-cast mine at Sakdrisi, were caught by surprise when RMG announced on December 13 that it was given by the ministry a new permission to carry out works. The groups, among them GYLA, said the public was deliberately kept in dark about the ministry having plans to issue new permission; they also say that this decision runs counter to court’s earlier interim ruling.
Minister of Culture, Mikheil Giorgadze, said the decision was fully in line with legal requirements.
Head of the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation at the Ministry of Culture, Nikoloz Antidze, said that the decision, allowing RMG to carry out works, was taken because part of the site was already fully examined for archeological purposes; he also said that it would have been impossible to carry out any archeological excavations on the remaining portion of the site because of safety reasons as there was threat of collapse.
A group of activists, which has been campaigning against open-cast mine at Sakdrisi, say that although newly launched mining activities have caused irreversible damage to the site, it will not stop them from campaigning, which will now focus on shaming those officials, who have been behind the decision allowing RMG to dig gold at Sakdrisi, as well as on pushing for new cultural policy that would help prevent similar cases in the future.
“Blast of Sakdrisi-Kachagiani is not the end,” campaigners, who plan a protest rally outside the Culture Ministry on December 15, said in a statement. “A movement is being launched to achieve a fundamental change of country’s cultural policy and policy of environment protection.”
Head of the Georgian Orthodox Church Ilia II joined condemnation by saying in his Sunday sermon: “Blasts were carried out at the ancient gold mine. We condemn it and those people, who have done these blasts. We ask the authorities to investigate it and to punish appropriately those people.”
The Georgian Orthodox Church also released a written statement on December 14, saying: “It is incomprehensible how could the Ministry of Culture issue a permit to destroy the site when scientists, large part of specialists, civil society, were all against of it.”
The move also drew criticism from opposition parties.
Ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, chairman of the UNM party, said in a statement on his Facebook page that “barbaric explosion” of Sakdrisi is “a heavy blow for the Georgian culture, as well as for the world heritage.” When in 2013 the Ministry of Culture removed Sakdrisi from the list of protected heritage sites, the decision was also endorsed by relevant changes in a presidential order, which was signed by then president Saakashvili.
Free Democrats opposition party, led by ex-defense minister Irakli Alasania, also condemned launch of mining operations at Sakdrisi as a “barbaric” act.
A group of Georgian and German scientists started research of the site in 2004 with the funding from Germany’s largest private science funder, Volkswagen Foundation. Artifacts found there, archeologists say, show that the mine dates back to the early third millennium BC and some samples even point to the second half of the fourth millennium BC, making Sakdrisi one of world’s oldest known gold mines.
RMG said that it would fund construction of an archeological museum in Bolnisi, which would house all the artifacts found as a result of the archeological excavations at Sakdrisi.
The company argued that although Sakdrisi-Kachagiani site makes only a small portion of its licensed territory, it is so rich with gold deposit that without Sakdrisi it would be financially unviable for the company to continue operations in the country. RMG said that because of delays to launch mining at Sakdrisi it already had to downsize operations, which was causing financial losses.
Export of raw or semi-processed gold in 2013 declined 16.6% y/y to USD 73.3 million. Gold worth of USD 27.97 million was exported in the first nine months of 2014.
The government was backing the company. PM Irakli Garibashvili said in March that it was not possible to prove that Sakdrisi represented the world’s oldest gold mine; he also said at the time that RMG invested USD 300 million in Georgia and halting of company’s operations would leave 3,000 employees without job.
A small group of activists gathered outside the Ministry of Culture on March 14 to protest against giving permission to gold and copper mining company, RMG, to dig gold at Sakdrisi site. Activists hold a banner reading: “Protect Sakdrisi”. Photo: InterPressNews
Georgian Ministry of Culture gave green light to gold and mining company, RMG, to extract gold from Sakdrisi-Kachagiani site, which some archeologists believe is the world’s oldest gold mine.
While announcing the decision on March 14, Deputy Culture Minister, Alexander Margishvili, said that the claim about Sakdrisi being the world’s oldest gold mine is a “myth.”
“Presence of the world’s oldest gold mine on Sakdrisi-Kachagiani site is not being substantiated. We cannot afford to create material problems to 3,000 families and leave them without livelihood based on myths,” Margishvili said referring to RMG’s claims that it would be forced to halt operation and leave its 3,000 employees without job if it is not allowed to launch an open-cast mine at Sakdrisi.
Strike-Hit Gold Mine Spills Polluted Water into River
The announcement came just a day after PM Irakli Garibashvili said, echoing position of RMG, that it was not possible to prove that the site represents the world’s oldest gold mine; when speaking on the issue during a meeting with a group of students on March 13, Garibashvili mainly focused on economic aspects saying that RMG invested USD 300 million in Georgia and halting of company’s operations would leave 3,000 employees without job.
Sensing that PM’s remarks signaled government’s decision to give go-ahead to RMG, a group of archeologists and preservationists, who have been campaigning actively against open-cast mine on Sakdrisi-Kachagiani site, convened a press conference earlier on March 14 before the Ministry of Culture announced its decision.
“We, the organizations and individuals working in the sphere of culture disagree with Prime Minister’s comments about the cultural heritage, in particular Sakdrisi-Kachagiani archeological site. It is a huge injustice to ignore results of nine-year old scientific research and broad public interest on the issue of Sakdrisi-Kachagiani,” their statement reads.
A group of Georgian and German scientists started research of the site in 2004 with the funding from Germany’s largest private science funder, Volkswagen Foundation. Artifacts found there, archeologists say, show that the mine dates back to the early third millennium BC and some samples even point to the second half of the fourth millennium BC, making Sakdrisi one of world’s oldest known gold mines.
In a letter to the Georgian government President of the German Association of Archaeology wrote last year that in case of open-cast mine on Sakdrisi, “not just Georgia, also Europe, will lose one of its most important prehistoric mining sites forever.”
Former first deputy minister of culture, Marine Mizandari, said destruction of the Sakdrisi archeological site would amount to “crime”. Mizandari was sacked by PM Garibashvili upon Culture Minister Guram Odisharia’s request on February 10 on the grounds of “violating official duties”; Mizandari said that she was dismissed mainly because of dispute over Sakdrisi. Two weeks after Mizandari was sacked, the head of the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation was also replaced.
New head of the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation, Nikoloz Antidze, said on March 14, that since his appointment on the post the agency reviewed once again all the available documents on Sakdrisi and concluded that the site does not represent the oldest gold mine.
Deputy Culture Minister, Alexander Margishvili, said that the permission to launch mining on Sakdrisi-Kachagiani site was issued on the condition that the process will be carried out under the “monitoring” of international experts.
Culture Minister, Guram Odisharia, was not present at the announcement of the decision as he is on a month-long leave.