Suriname - South Africa Cooperation in progress
South African mining specialists/investors and Ambassador Roseval visiting OGS Mining Service Center in the interior of Suriname
Since the assignment of Prof. Dr. Wilfried Roseval as Ambassador of the Republic of Suriname to the Republic of South Africa the cooperation between both countries is in progress.
The Embassy of Suriname and the Department of Arts & Culture successfully prepared an agreement on Arts and Culture between both nations. Suriname is waiting for the signing of this agreement after approval by His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma.
This agreement indicates a new stage in the relationship between both countries.
Suriname and South Africa will combine their efforts and showcase their unique arts and cultural heritage at a regional and global level.
Another promising relationship in progress between both countries is in the sector of mining in general and gold mining in particular. It is internationally well known (World Bank) that Suriname, being the smallest independent democratic state in South America, qualifies as the 17th richest country in the world on the basis of its natural resources.
One of these precious resources is gold. Gold mining in Suriname comprises small and large scale mining. Small scale mining is still taking place by using mercury, which is tremendously threatening the people and the natural environment in the interior. Suriname urgently needs to accomplish a transition towards mercury free gold mining. This is the main reason why the Ambassador in August 2013 guided 10 mining experts and potential investors from South Africa to Suriname for a fact finding mission in the interior of Suriname. They were hosted by the Commission Ordering of the Gold Mining Sector in Suriname (OGS). These specialists and potential investors could get a close insight into the important features of the mercury related gold mining in Suriname.
As a result of this a counter visit of OGS was paid to South Africa from the 15 to 25 November 2013.
Profound discussions/meetings with the local companies that visited Suriname and field visits were organized by: NOSA, SF Recovery, ATI, Mmakau Mining, MetGroup and other companies were also visited like ARM.
As far as the ASM are concerned at the end of the counter visit of OGS an MoU was drafted and signed after approval by the Chairman of OGS.
The MOU is based on the proposal which pertains to support and assist the OGS, the Government of Suriname, the Artisan Small Scale Miners (ASM) and other Private Sector Mining Companies in Suriname to successfully make the Transition to Mercury Free Mining in Suriname. More concrete the Proposal comprises:
1. Prospecting work, plant construction, mercury free mining implementation, re-mining and recovery/rehabilitation by the Company SF Recovery; this is to help the Small scale ASM to successfully make the transition towards mercury free small scale mining in Suriname. An interesting part of the work will also be the fabricating of building blocks in the interior of Suriname from the mining residues in order to build houses, roads and other accommodation for ASM and the local communities in the interior.
2. A second substantial contribution will be to provide Suriname with professional training services via train the trainer programs in two dimensions:
2.1. Technical mining and related skills development (Through ATI)
2.2 Occupational, Health, Safety and Environmentally responsible mining training (NOSA and Allies)
Besides this ASM focused Mercury Free Program there will be also cooperation on large scale mining.
The representatives of OGS visited also a few of the large scale mining companies in South Africa (ARM, MetMmakau). The objective was to discuss proposals for cooperation on the basis of Joint Venturing, Product-, Cost-, Profit Sharing. MetMmakau presented an most interesting proposal that will be discussed shortly in Suriname an will lead to a separate MoU and agreement with OGS, the Government of Suriname, the private gold mining sector and other stakeholders.
Last but not least following up on the work that was done by the Ambassador fruitful discussions have taken place with the Geoscience Council. Preparations are made to draft an MoU to be submitted in Suriname to the OGS and the Ministry of Natural Resources. This MoU will be focused on: geo-mapping in Suriname, technological assistance in the field of geo-research, training, institutional strengthening and capacity building of the GMD (Geological Mining Services Department at the Ministry of Natural Resources of Suriname). The GMD will function as the counterpart of the Geo-Science Council.
Picture 2: Drafting and signing the MoU on ASM in South Africa (MICROmega Office, Johannesburg)