The Georgian mining company Rich Metals Group (RMG) received a special prize, established by the organizers of the Georgia’s most influential business award – Golden Brand, for its outstanding contribution to the regional development of Georgia.
RMG, one of the largest enterprises in Georgia and the Caucasus region, produces copper concentrate and dore gold alloys by mining and processing copper and gold ores in the Bolnisi region.
The main customers of RMG’s products are large international trading companies. Traders carry out refining (purification) of purchased products and melt pure metals (gold, copper and silver) at metallurgical plants.
RMG is an important employer in Georgia and the Bolnisi region. The company currently employs about 3,000 employees, 90% of whom are local residents.
Since 2012, RMG has invested about 300 million US dollars in Georgia.
Golden Brand turned to Tornike Lipartia, executive director of RMG, who spoke about the history of production, the latest activities of the companies that contributed to the regional development of Georgia and attracted the attention of the Golden Brand organizers.
Q. Please recall the history of production, the period when the company started its activities in Georgia and what obstacles did you have to overcome?
A. The first non-ferrous industrial metal production in Georgia is considered to be Madneuli polymetallic mine, the predecessor of RMG. Intensive geological studies and deposit exploration operations were carried out in several stages, in the 1940-1970s. Since 1975, Madneuli industrial complex initiated mining and processing of barite and polymetallic ores.
This deposit used to lag behind in terms of technological development since the 90s, because neither the mine nor the processing plant was repaired during those tough years. In those challenging times, it was just a matter of survival. The only important and valuable thing the company had at that time was the people working here, with their experience.
RMG has been investing in Georgia since 2012. It is the leader of the mining business in Georgia, one of the largest employers in the field.
In 2012-2017, the company’s management, along with its team of engineers, worked on companies rapid development. One of the main challenges was how to redesign the pits and what mining techniques to implement. We have devoted a lot of research to this issue.
Also, a big investment project was implemented to modernize the copper processing plant, in which we invested 40 million US dollars. We are in an active phase of the implementation of the project despite the pandemic. By the end of the year we will have a modernized plant that will be promising both for the region and for the people working here.
We expect increase in number of employees during the operation of the new processing plant. Meanwhile our employees are trained in new technologies.
Q. What are the priorities of RMG?
A. Labor safety is one of the main priorities, because any production, including mining, implies an excessive risk. Relevant standards have already been established today, within which we strive to work. We want to make sure that the work we are doing is as safe as possible. We have very high-level specialists who monitor labor safety conditions 24 hours a day.
Q. Which achievements of the company are you most proud of?
A. Over the years, the company’s challenges have been related to minimizing the environmental impact. We have had a number of international organizations involved in the research process on how to deal with this obstacle.
As soon as the risks of environmental protection were identified and we received the initial document, we started to develop an Environmental Program that we had to agree on with government structures.
Today we have 97 fulfilled commitments out of 100, imposed on us by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia. since 2017, we have invested more than 30 million GEL in this process, which is being accompanied by an audit report.
It is also a great honor for us to be among the top ten exporting companies in Georgia. We are also proud of the fact that we have more than 100 subcontracting Georgian companies, which is very important for the Georgian economy.
We do our best to popularize different areas of engineering. We have programs in this direction, for example, the program ‘Become a Miner’. We give our scholarships to young people who are getting an education in this field in order to increase their motivation.
The company has invested more than $300 million since 2012. It employs more than 3,000 people. More than $ 20 million of these investments have been spent on the social side. This applies to culture, sports, and various infrastructure projects.
The goal of our management team is to continuously improve processes. We carry out our work with social responsibility, and take care of the environment, individuals and communities, thereby contributing to the development of the region and the country as a whole.