TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s culture minister promises to halt excavation work at an ancient a gold mine in the south of the country after protesters camped near the site raised the alarm that it was being damaged by RMG Gold.
Culture Minister Guram Odisharia promises that the area will not be touched until a full examination and assessment has been completed. In a few days, foreign specialists are expected to come to Georgia and carefully study the area.
Odishara visited Kazreti on Tuesday and met with the young environmental activists and NGO workers who set up camp there on April 14 with tents at the entrance to the Sakdrisi mine, which scientists say is 5,400 years old.
According to Odisharia, the examination work will start on Wednesday, while foreign experts will arrive in eight days.
The initiative group which has organized the tent camp will continue with protests until excavation work is stopped and monitoring and research has begun.
Also on Tuesday, there was a small scuffle with locals in Kazreti, a town close to Sakdrisi where many residents are employed at RMG Gold, the mining company which wants to dig in the area with the ancient gold mine.
People came to the rally saying that if mining work in Sakdrisi stops, many of them will suffer, because they are employed there.
Workers at RMG want to have some kind of compromise so there is no harm done to the ancient mine, but also that the workers won’t end up on the losing end.
There was a verbal confrontation between employees and anti-mining protesters in Kazreti, but police managed to defuse the situation.