Activists union Movement for Cultural Heritage (Sakdrisi Committee) this week responded to the current processes in the village of Mushevani, Georgia’s Kvemo Kartli region, Bolnisi Municipality, which have been going on episodically for several months. Based on the high interest of the public, the Sakdrisi Committee confirmed that it has been actively involved in the fight against environmental violations of the mining company RMG for more than eight years.
The activists union claims that not a single environmental violation by the RMG company will remain unanswered.
“Since December 2021, we’ve been following the preparatory process of RMG Cooper’s new project – ‘Mushevani 2’ (gold-copper mine). In January 2022, during the scoping of the project, the Sakdrisi Committee was the first to protest the population’s lack of information about the expected risks, which was then supported by the entire village.
“We applied to the Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture for an appropriate response. The Ministry, considering the demands of the activists to be fair, recommended the company be more communicative about the project, both with the local population and with other groups interested in the topic.
“In July 2022, members of the Movement for Cultural Heritage (Sakdrisi Committee) attended the review of the environmental impact assessment document (EIA) of Mushevani 2.
“Among other things, it was important to understand the position of the local population, therefore, at the meeting, which was attended by about 200 residents, we repeatedly requested they openly state their position on the project.
“We had some questions and requests for the company, including the issues of cultural heritage sites, deforestation and soil and water research, which we are still actively demanding. At the end of the meeting, the locals said that ‘for vital social projects, they would support the start of mining operations.’
“On the initiative of the residents, a conversation was held with the members of the Movement for Cultural Heritage (Sakdrisi Committee), at which time it became known that they objected to the Mushevani 2 project, however, only one of them noted this during the meeting.
“The Movement for Cultural Heritage (Sakdrisi Committee) calls on the relevant services to fully protect the freedom of expression of the part of the population who opposes the open mining of minerals in the vicinity of the village.
“Also, once again, already publicly, it calls on RMG to make additional clarifications regarding the issues of the project which cause such concern among the population. The Movement for Cultural Heritage (Sakdrisi Committee) is closely monitoring the ongoing processes around Mushevani 2, and we would like to assure the public that not a single environmental violation by RMG company will remain unanswered,” reads the statement.
For the record, September 13, part of the population of Mushevani planned to gather at 11 o’clock and distribute a protest petition against RMG Gold’s open-pit mining of minerals in the vicinity of the village, but the demonstrators were met on the spot by fellow villagers who told them that they would not let them hold the rally. Marneuli Radio reported that the opponents of the rally said that RMG had promised to provide them with water and gas and to repair the village school. They emphasized that they were not against the company RMG.
At the same time, the opposing demonstrators collected signatures for the petition to address the parliament, the prime minister and the president. According to the petition, RMG GOLD and RMG Copper have been granted a mineral exploration-mining license by the state in Bolnisi and Dmanisi municipalities until 2042.
By Ana Dumbadze