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Statement by the RMG Company – Regarding the Start of Mining Operations on the Sakdrissi-Kachagiani – License Site #1

On December 12th, 2014, as per order №03/266 issued by Georgia’s Minister of Culture and Monument Protection and per order №2/271 issued by the general director of Georgia’s National Agency of Cultural Heritage Protection, the company “RMG” has renewed mining operations on the Sakdrissi-Kachagiani license site N1.

The decisions were based on part of the site being fully archeologically studied in accordance to law. Conducting further studies on the remainder was rendered impossible due to the critical state and danger of collapse on the site, which is confirmed by the respective geological survey. Additionally, as per conclusions drawn by international experts, no expectations existed of finding further new artifacts on the site.

The company’s position in the ongoing scientific discussions and law disputes around the Sakdrissi-Kachagiani site was that we wouldn’t participate in the scientific discussions. We considered the site’s historic importance and the matter of its status to be the prerogative of scientists and respective state agencies, and we fully conformed to the court and the decisions of Georgia’s government when it came to carrying out works on the license site.

Because of the Sakdrissi-Kachagiani archeological site being given the cultural heritage monument status in 2006 without sufficient scientific argumentation and procedures dictated by law, “RMG” was unable to carry out mining operations on the owned license site, which forced the company to work on minimal load. Because of this, the central and local budget did not receive tens of millions of lari in income, the export rates experienced a drop, and the company employee numbers, as well as the working conditions and the possibility to improve the social state in the Kazreti population in general, was decreased.

In a state of lowered workload, the company was necessitated to decrease its currently employed staff by 55% in order to avoid production becoming unprofitable. However, the company decided to take the bulk of the financial load on itself and retained virtually all job positions, by which it helped the government and the Kazreti, Bolnisi and Dmanisi municipalities avoid dire economic problems and a risk of social implosion.

In the given situation, delaying the start of operations each day resulted in tens of thousands of laris of loss to the company. A threat of the company closing down entirely became real, which, apart from massive employee firing rates, would create dire ecological risks.

The company confirms that protecting cultural heritages represents a priority for it. Regardless of what verdict the scientists arrive to regarding the historic value of the Sakdrissi-Kachagiani hill, we consider it of important to protect and duly present the artifacts discovered by the expedition. As a result, the company intends to finance and, in conjunction with the national museum, construct a new archeological museum in the Bolnisi municipality, as well as continue to further help the defense and studies of cultural heritages.