An Address to the Humans of the World to Protect the Cultural Heritage of Humankind
Today, every one of our voices is important to protect that cultural heritage that does not belong to a single company or a state, but that heritage that belongs to the entire civilized world.

On December 13 2014, the company RMG Gold [1]  blew up and demolished [2]  the oldest gold mine in the world for the sake of its own financial interest [3]. Many years of work by international scientists established that the ancient mine, located in the country of Georgia represented a special object of cultural heritage. The largest and one of the most important and most prestigious cultural institutions in Germany declared, “Sakdrisi is the oldest gold mine worldwide and therefore a unique heritage site not only of Georgia, but of mankind”.[4]  Various international scientists have examined the heritage site, including scientists from France, Switzerland, Austria, and Great Britain.

The major argument of the company and its supporter – the Ministry of Culture Protection of Georgia - is the grave socio-economic environment in the region and the social responsibility of the company by which it claims to take care of the local population. However, the footage obtained on the ground is drastically different to the company’s propaganda: according to the information spread through the media and the locals themselves, the population in the region today is extremely poor and many of the people often do not even have the means for buying meals, despite the fact that the company has been present in the region for years.[5]  

Apart from this, it is notable that the information, obtained through various sources, indicates a high possibility that the manufacturing waste of the company’s actions might threaten ecological safety.[6]  Specifically, the water (and as a result the soil), contaminated with production waste as noted by media, might be the cause of the drastically increasing number of people ill with oncologic diseases.[7]   At the same time, the produce (everyday food like potatoes, cucumbers, etc.), irrigated with the poisoned water, are being distributed throughout the country and are thought to pose a threat to human health and life.[8]  Due to this widespread opinion among the public, information was publicized that the local farmers face difficulties in selling their agricultural products. In order to examine those allegations, the objective and impartial examination is necessary.

Despite the broad public outcry on the issue, the Government has disregarded the demands of its citizens who have been using various means to protect the site, including physical presence in tents near the site to record the demolition, submitting lawsuits against the company and the Government, as well as protests.[9]   Moreover, the NGOs: Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) and the “Green Alternative” have submitted the lawsuits against the Ministry of Culture and the RMG Gold; as a result, the Court’s ruling has prohibited the company to continue the works on the cultural heritage site (despite this the company blew up the site). Unfortunately, the Government of Georgia has demonstrated neglect towards its people, the law, and the Judiciary System of Georgia and made the decisions non-transparently raising suspicion amongst the public.

Further, various other circumstances raise suspicion that there is a corruptive interest. Specifically, we would like to underline that on the previous day, prior to blowing up the cultural heritage, the Ministry of Culture and the state Agency of the Protection of the Cultural Heritage made five (5) decisions in a single day, which is practically impossible considering previous practice when the Government took months to make decisions and provide responses. The dynamite was installed long before those decisions were made, which is evidenced by the footage made in secret by the volunteering group. The explosion took place early next morning following the consent of the Government to de-construct the archaeological object. The fact that the dynamite was installed before the official decision and that the large number of lengthy decisions were made in one day creates significant suspicion that the government and the company might have had covert communication beforehand, circumventing their own citizens, the judiciary and the law.

We would like to strongly emphasize that the members of the German-Georgian archaeological group that have been working on the site for more than 10 years and the representatives of the state National Museum of Georgia have emphasized that it would not have been possible for the explosion to entirely erase the traces of the cultural heritage and a large portion can still be saved.

We address the world communities to join us to protect this object of the utmost cultural value, which belongs to all of us. Demolition of this unique object for the sake of the financial interest of a single suspicious company represents a crime against the culture of humanity, especially considering the disrespectful and neglectful approach of the company towards the environment, human safety and cultural heritage.

By joining the present petition, we, the signatories, address all the responsible institutions of the Government of Georgia:
To undertake effective actions against the demolition of the mine;
To allow the presence of archaeologists on the site and make it possible to conduct comprehensive research on the site.

the company RMG Gold itself:
To stop the demolition works at Sakdrisi-Kachaghiani (to avoid demolition of the parts that may have survived the dynamite explosion);
To demonstrate high level social responsibility and protect the ecology and cultural heritage.

Apart from that, we address the parliament of Georgia, as the institution having the jurisdiction over the site of world cultural heritage significance:
To create an independent investigative mechanism to examine this grave crime against the culture of humanity and to ensure prevention of such cases in the future.

And finally, we address all of the countries of the world - their people, communities, NGOs, media, business representatives, researchers, representatives of academic institutions and the Governments  that value a cultural heritage, human health, life and environment sustainability, to respond to the mentioned act of vandalism and to address the Government and the Parliament of Georgia in writing and thus to demonstrate their support towards that universal human value – preservation of the cultural heritage of the humankind and handing it over to the next generations.

The existence of the world’s oldest gold mine depends on each one of You – sign the petition and join us in supporting the cultural heritage!

*The list of signatories will be periodically updated and publicized.

[1]  The company, known under various names, is currently named “RMG Gold” and its real owner is not known to the wider public, due to being registered offshore;
[2]   See the dynamite explosion on the footage obtained on the ground - from 0:19 – until 1:10; 
[3]   “Excavations proved that the Sakdrisi gold mine is the oldest in the world”; see paragraph 23 under “6. Conclusions” at the following link 
[4]   Letter on Sakdrisi, page 2: 
[5]   The footage of the living conditions of the locals, see from 1:22:38 – until 1:24:50; (the text is in Georgian): 
[6]   Research by NGO: 
[7]   Documentary by the investigative journalism union - Studio Monitor, see at 16:54: 
[8]   Expert paper: 
[9]   Public statements of GYLA: 

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