Georgian National Platform held a press conference on Gold Mine of Sakdrisi-Kachagiani

21 Feb, 2014

On February of 18th, Georgian National Platform held a press conference on seeking national monument status for the Gold Mine of Sakdrisi-Kachagiani. The conference was hosted by the office of the Open Society Georgia Foundation. 

A statement signed by 66 NGOs of the National Platform and 8 non-membership organizations has been presented to the journalists and the society invited to the press conference.

Signatories of this statement appeal to the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia for immediate, clear and public declaration of their position on the recovery of the national monument status for the Gold Mine of Sakdrisi-Kachagiani. The organization also applied to international organizations to consider the universal value of the Sakdrisi-Kachagiani mine and to make immediate response to the current alarming situation in order to save the monument.  

The press conference was attended by: Alexandra Kalatozishvili – the coordinator of the fourth working group of the Georgian National Platform, Sulkhan Saladze – the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, Marine Mizandari – former Deputy Minister of Culture and Monument Protection, Nato Tsintsabadze – Georgian National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), Goderdzi Narimanashvili – archaeologist, Senior Research Fellow at the National Museum,  Nino Gujaridze – Association “Green Alternative”.

The scientists from Australia, Germany and the United States wrote letters about this monument and these letters have been shown to the journalists at the conference.

Marina Mizandari, the former Deputy Minister of Culture said it would be better to invite international experts in order to study the mine in a way that neither the cultural heritage nor the economic interests of the country is affected. “No one is fighting and no one opposes the interests of the enterprise (RMG) and no one thinks that the company should cease its activities. Moreover, no one wants to leave the employees of this company without their jobs” – said Marina Mizandari. She emphasized that the only demand of the society is that the company should protect cultural heritage and carry out mineral extraction by using the shaft (tunnel) method instead of the blasting one (which will damage the cultural heritage).

The archaeologist Goderdzi Narimanashvili said that the international conventions and the association agreement between the EU and Georgia oblige the Government of Georgia to take care of and protect the country’s cultural heritage. He voiced the initiative of the National Council of Science Museums and the readiness to host an international conference on the issues related to Sakdrisi-Kachagiani mine.

Confrontation between economic, cultural, social and environmental interests should to be addressed through a constructive partnership so in a way that will not damage the public interest and that many other “Sakdrisi-Kachagiani” will not require to be protected in the future – said Nato Tsintsabadze, the representative of ICOMOS.

The importance of cultural heritage with regard to the development of museums, cultural tourism and scientific activities has been highlighted at the press conference.

Future actions for solving the problem instantly have been discussed after the press conference.

4 basic requirements have been identified:

1.      Recovery of the national monument status for the Sakdrisi-Kachagiani mine.

2.      The local monitoring group should carry out the research of the present status of the Sakdrisi-Kachagiani mine. The monitoring group should be composed of the experts from the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia and representatives from all interested parties.

3.      Commission of international experts should be invited and the problem related to Sakdrisi-Kachagiani mine should be addressed.

4.      Organizing International Conference on issues related to the Sakdrisi-Kachagiani mine.

The opinion about holding the next meeting at a roundtable format has been expressed.