Environment

Uncertain if Georgian parliament will investigate destruction of ancient mine

by | Feb 21, 2015
sakdrisi_mining_work

(Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Parliament in Georgia has still not created a committee to investigate why a pre-historic gold mine was destroyed by a Russian mining company in mid December last year.

The Free Democrats on Friday nominated one of their members to chair the committee, underlining the importance to set up it.

Several months ago, parliamentarians reached agreement about putting together the committee, but nothing happened, as MPs can’t seem to agree on the importance of having the committee.

A simple majority of 76 votes is required to create an investigative commission. The purpose of this investigation is to study what happened when the Sakdrisi gold mine near Bolnisi in southern Georgia with more than 5,400 years old human traces was almost completely destroyed by the mining company RMG Gold.

For more than a year, environmental activists and scientists have been fighting to prohibit the company from carrying out mining work and restore the area’s status as cultural heritage.

But their efforts were unsuccessful, and despite there being a lawsuit and a court order to halt work until a decision has been made by the court, RMG Gold suddenly resumed mining blasts there in the middle of December, destroying most of the archaeologically interesting parts.

Then it was agreed to suspend work and let a parliamentary committee study the issue, but so far parliament has failed to put together the committee.

On Friday Nino Goguadze, MP from the Free Democrats, a party that left the government coalition in November, suggested having Shalva Shavgulidze as chair of the committee. She said it is necessary to resume the process of setting up the commission. If the parliamentary majority wants to nominate a candidate to chair the committee, they welcome to do so too, she added, and the Free Democrats will relinquish that position.

Nukri Kantaria, MP from Georgian Dream, said the same day that in 2006, when Sakdrisi was first granted status as cultural heritage, there was no evidence and documents to make such a decision, so it is necessary that the Culture Ministry publishes all the documents and information about Sakdrisi to reveal what happened then and what is happening now.

Many MPs from the Georgian Dream coalition are against creating the commission, believing instead that it is a way for politicians to get higher rating and score political points.



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