The Sakdrisi site. (Photo by Georgia’s Culture Ministry.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–A campaign to save an ancient gold mine in southern Georgia is planning to start a protest camp on Monday.

The Public Committee to Save Sakdrisi, which consists of students, scientists and an initiative group of non-governmental organizations, plans to put up tents to raise awareness of the threat against the site where archaeologists found stone age tools.

According to a short statement, the committee has decided to launch a wave of rallies because their public appeal to the prime minister, the president and parliament has led to no results – not even a response.

Their appeal, sent March 31, demands immediate access for archeologists to Sakdrisi so they can describe the condition of the area. The campaign also asks to conduct a monitoring and trustworthy and qualified assessment of the site. They demand not to allow mining work there before the results of the assessment and monitoring have been made public.

The committee also wanted to meet the PM along with experts and gave him until April 4 to answer, but there was no response from Prime Minister Gharinashvili, and the committee now plans to bring tents to the site and start protesting.

Members of the committee believe that it is important to save the ancient gold mine and develop its potential as a site for tourism.

Last week, the government issued a decree expanding the license given to mining company RMG Gold and allowed it to conduct mining at Sakdrisi for nine more months. After nine months, another company, Mining Investment, will continue the mining work.

RMG had a license until April 7, but now the term has been extended to January, 2015.

The problem is that RMG Gold’s license included the territory of Sakdrisi in its contract, which foresees conducting mining work in Bolnisi, while Mining Investment contract doesn’t include Sakdrisi.

There are claims ( that Sakdrisi is a 5,400 year old mine. Scientists, as well as many other people, do not want to allow RMG Gold to destroy the cultural value of the site and demand a proper study of the area.