Mining in Suriname

The government of Suriname has been sold logging and mining rights to the interior of the country without the consent of the people who have occupied these lands for centuries.

Now the government has licensed Brazilian and Surinamese small-scale miners, however this means that the government receives revenue while forest people suffer the consequences. The Forest Peoples Programme issued this statement.

Conflict between Maroon gold miners and the Surinamese government have lead the Forest Peoples Programme to issue a press release and the World Rainforest Movement to issue a Urgent Action Appeal.


'Small-scale' gold miners in Nieuw-Koffiekamp, Suriname (photo from NRC Handelsblad).

The Surinamese government and the Canadian company Golden Star are attempting to establish a gold mine on Maroon land south of Paramaribo that has rich gold deposits.

In April 1994, Golden Star Resources signed a mineral agreement with the Republic of Suriname and Grasshopper Aluminium Company N.V. granting Golden Star the exploration rights to Gross Rosebel, next to the Marron village of Koffie Kamp. Two months later, Cambior bought a 50% stake in Gross Rosebel. Cambior is a large Canadian mining company that operates throughout the Guianas. Grassalco holds the option to acquire part of the company after the mining rights are granted.

Mining Companies Active in Suriname

Many companies have gold and dimaond exploration programs on-going in Suriname. These companies include the many Vancouver-based companies.

Blue Ribbon Resources Ltd. claims its holds seven mining concessions totally 68,800 hectares. They have six crews prospecting concession at Dijon, Basigado, Oelemari, Lawa, Wetiedele, Bemau and Toeboeka concessions.

Canarc Resource Corp., is prospecting for gold in the area of Sara Kreek. It claims to have found a "high grade gold deposit". It also claims to have "optioned" concessions four properties in the Pakira Kreek Area, two properties in the Nassau Mountains Area, three properties in the Tosso Kreek Area, and five properties in the Saramacca River Area that in total cover over 177,530 hectares. Canarc's current stock price and press releases are on-line.

Cambior has operations in many countries including all of the Guianas. It is partnered with Golden Star Resources at Omai and Gross Rosebel. Its current stock prices and press releases are available on Yahoo.

Golden Star Resources claims its holds concssions in Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname. Its concession include Headley's, Thunder Mountain, Saramacca, South Benzdorp, and Tapanahony properties in Suriname.

Calgary based, Savanna Resources Limited claims it has acquired exploration rights to 130,000 hectares of eastern Suriname. They plan to begin exploring along the Lawa River in April 1997. They are listed on the Alberta Stock Exchange. Recent press releases from all these companies are available at their web sites and from Canada News Wire (search its database using company names of Suriname).

Omai Cyanide Spill

Golden Star Resources and Cambior, another Canadian company, run the Omai gold mine in Guyana which recently released a large amount of cyanide.

Reports of the spill from IPS, CIMRA, the Albion Monitor and World Wide Rainforest Report claim its consquences have been much worse than the companies have admitted, and point out Golden Star Resource's poor environmental record. Suriname sent a team of experts to visit the spill site. A report commissioned by the government of Guyana suggested improvements at Omai, but allowed the mine to continue to operate. A class action suit against Cambior was recently filed in Canada, which it plans to vigoursly contest.

Dealing sloppily with mine wastes is an acknowledged problem in the mining industry, though it seems they blame governments for not regulating them strictly enough.

Other Sources of Information on Mining in Suriname

Info-mine has a lot of on-line information of the mining industry.

The U.S. Geological Survey has publsihed chapters from the Minerals Yearbook (Volume III. -- Area Reports: International). These reports includes sections on government policies and programs, environmental issues, trade and production data, industry structure and ownership, commodity sector developments, infrastructure, and a summary outlook. There are report on Suriname for 1995 and 1994.

Visit our Suriname logging page.

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Copyright Last modified: April 29, 1997