TBILISI, DFWatch–A court in Georgia on Wednesday decided that a mining company must allow experts access to a site so they can inspect an ancient gold mine which was destroyed last December.
Tbilisi City Court ruled that the parties in the conflict, experts and witnesses may enter the Sakdrisi site to observe what condition it is in, before the court reaches its decision.
The lawsuit was filed by Kakha Kozhoridze and Giorgi Gogochuri, against the Culture Ministry, the National Cultural Heritage Protection Agency and RMG Gold, and asks to abolish administrative protocols issued on December 12, 2014, which granted RMG Gold the right to make Sakdrisi collapse.
European archeologists have been excavating at the Sakdrisi site for almost a decade and consider it one of the most important historical remains of the Kura-Araxes civilization, which thrived in this region between the mid fourth and the mid third millennium BC and is noted for its innovations in metal works and particularly gold jewelry.
Sakdrisi had status as a protected cultural heritage site for some years, but the protection was lifted in the summer of 2013 to allow the mining company RMG Gold to extract gold there. This decision was challenged by campaigners, and Tbilisi City Court decided to halt any kind of mining works there until a final decision had been made.
But in the end the company was allowed to proceed by the government, which referred to claims by a committee it organized which concluded that there is nothing of archaeological value at the site. The final detrimental incident took place in December, 2014, in spite of the court ruling.
Next court hearing will be on May 18.