History of Mining Industry

Suriname is part of the Guiana shield and has a variety of minerals as shown in the next figure.

Projection of the Guiana Shield

Figure 3.7 Projection of the Guiana Shield (source GMD)

In Suriname the mining of minerals includes:

  • Gold and silver based on the Mining Decree 1986 and Mineral Agreements between Government and companies;
  • Diamond mining (still in the stages of reconnaissance and therefore not commercialized yet);
  • Bauxite (production of bauxite ended in 2015);
  • Quarry for building purposes;
  • Other ores (such as kaolin, manganese, chromium, tin, phosphate and silica sand)

In assigning concessions which run through the tribal areas in the interior, settlements are made between the concessionaires or Government and these tribes if deems necessary. The aspects of tribal habitats are a point of attention regarding the concessions of gold and diamonds compared with the other sectors of the extractive industry. In December 2017 a law is approved by the DNA regarding the living areas of the indigenous community and tribes and their consensus regarding the development projects in the interior in accordance with the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) procedure. This law is not yet endorsed.

Given its history Suriname is mostly developed and populated in the coastal area of the country. Though district Sipaliwini, the interior, is the largest district it is the least populated one. It is part of the amazon rainforest and harvests the mayor part of minerals findings. The interior is hilly and consists of a dense part of the Amazon rainforest but also contains the minerals and ore, while the Hydrocarbon deposits are in the coastal plain and offshore. The characteristics of the interior make the accessibility and development as well as good infrastructure very costly. This was one of the reasons why gold mining in the past was not profitable. The minerals of Suriname are mostly located on the eastern side of the country and inland. The construction of infrastructure for the supply and removal of equipment, setting up facilities for the mining sector is very costly and comes at the expense of fauna and flora of the wooded concession areas.

In the next figure it is projected where specific mineral findings are located.

MAP-Mineral sources in Suriname

Figure 3.8 MAP-Mineral sources in Suriname (source GMD)