Last update:
2022-05-18

Manganese mining in Chiatura, Georgia

On June 9, 2021 the dwellers of village Shukruti, Georgia, ended the 31 day-long hunger strike and 110 day-long protests. Demonstrators, including 10 with sewn mouths shut, demanded compensation for environmental damage caused by the manganese extraction.



Description:

On the 9th of June 2021, in Georgia, dwellers of Shukruti (Chiatura municipality) stopped a 31 day-long hunger strike and 110 day-long protests. The protestors were demanding compensation for environmental damage caused to their living area and housing space due to the uncontrolled extraction of manganese by Georgian Manganese LLC and its contractor company “Shukruti+.” [1]

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Manganese mining in Chiatura, Georgia
Country:Georgia
Location of conflict:Chiatura, Georgia
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Chemical industries
Specific commodities:Manganese
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Chiatura Mine Enrichment Plant on average produces and enriches 1.3 million tons of manganese ore per year. The average annual production volume of manganese concentrate is 330,000 tons.

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Project area:54 200
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:39 000
Start of the conflict:01/02/2021
End of the conflict:10/06/2021
Company names or state enterprises:LLC Georgian Manganese (GM) from Georgia - The extraction company
Relevant government actors:Government of Georgia,
Public Defender's office of Georgia,
US Embassy of Georgia
Levan Samkharauli National Forensics Bureau
Ministry of Internal Affairs
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Green Alternative - https://greenalt.org/en/who-we-are/
Social Justice Center - https://socialjustice.org.ge/en
Transparency International -https://www.transparency.ge/ge
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Industrial workers
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Street protest/marches
Strikes
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Mine tailing spills, Other Environmental impacts
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other Health impacts, Accidents
Other Health impactsheadaches because of the noise of explosions; 212 employees died as a result of work-related accidents and 691 were injured in 2011-2015;
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Negotiated alternative solution
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Proposal and development of alternatives:The memorandum that ended the protest was signed by both sides, the company "Georgian Manganese" and the affected people. The document said that the affected people would get compensation according to the assessment of Levan Samkharauli National Forensics Bureau. The involvement of the Bureau was the protestors’ initiative.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The agreements were signed by Georgian Manganese with only 10 individual owners. Reports of an agreement, as well as the uneven and opaque nature of the negotiation process, are fundamentally problematic, as the fairness and credibility of the agreed compensation mechanism remain questionable, and the ongoing prosecution of protesters raises additional questions about the subject matter of the agreement.
In addition to that, houses are being demolished in the village of Itkhvisi, Chiatura Municipality, that is 10 kms away from Village of Shukruti. According to locals, the processes, which intensified in March, 2022, cracked up to 20 houses and brought some to a condition that made them uninhabitable. Inhabittants of village Itkhvisi claim all these is cause by the mining activitied under their living place.
Sources & Materials

[1] Dumbadze, A. (2021). Lips Sewn Shut in Chiatura: Protest against “Georgian Manganese.” [online] Georgia Today. Available at: https://georgiatoday.ge/lips-sewn-shut-in-chiatura-protest-against-georgian-manganese/ [Accessed 28 Mar. 2022].
[click to view]

[2]formulanews.ge. (2021). 14:00 საათზე შუქრუთელების მხარდასაჭერი აქცია გაიმართება. [online] Available at: https://formulanews.ge/News/51546 [Accessed 28 Mar. 2022].
[click to view]

[3] Parulava, D. (2019). Speaking up through sewn lips: a wildcat strike in Chiatura. [online] OC Media. Available at: https://oc-media.org/features/speaking-up-through-sewn-lips-a-wildcat-strike-in-chiatura/.
[click to view]

[4] Chkareuli, T. (2021). www.radiotavisupleba.ge.
[click to view]

[5] Mtivlishvili, G. (2021). Weeping of Shukruti - A report from the subsiding village. [online] www.mountainstories.ge. Available at: https://www.mountainstories.ge/news/item/1307-weeping-of-shukruti-a-report-from-the-subsiding-village [Accessed 28 Mar. 2022].
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[6] www.greenalt.org. (2021) ჯორჯიან მანგანეზი -კომპანიის პროფილი ჭიათურის მანგანუმი. (2019). [online]
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[7] Kartozia, M. (2021). US Ambassador: We are trying to facilitate meeting for Shukruti residents with public defender’s office, NGOs who can help them. [online] 1TV. Available at: https://1tv.ge/en/news/us-ambassador-we-try-to-organize-meeting-with-public-defenders-office-to-help-shukruti-protesters/
[click to view]

[8] საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო. (2016). Joint Statement Of Non-Governmental Organizations And Professional Unions Regarding The Incidents Of Loss Of Life At Workplaces. [online] Available at: https://www.transparency.ge/en/post/joint-statement-non-governmental-organizations-and-professional-unions-regarding-incidents-loss [Accessed 28 Mar. 2022].
[click to view]

[9] www.topnews.ge (2020). რა შეიცვალა ზესტაფონში, "ჯორჯიან მანგანეზის" საქმიანობაში?
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[10] Apriamashvili, S. (2021). ამოკერილი პირებით აშშ-ის საელჩოსთან — რამ აიძულა შუქრუთელებს მსგავსი პროტესტი. [online] NETGAZETI.ge.
[click to view]

[11] gm.ge. (n.d.). ინფორმაცია. [online]
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Teona Chakvetadze
Last update18/05/2022
Conflict ID:5863
Comments
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