In 1994 the Canadian exploration firm Golden Star Resources (GSR) acquired the exploration rights to the Gros Rosebel concession in Brokopondo District. The Maroon village of Nieuw Koffiekamp was located centrally in the concession.
In accordance with its mining agreement with the Surinamese government, the Canadian firm expelled local small-scale miners because they “hindered the exploration activities of the company”. Initially, they wanted to remove the entire village because it was situated too close to the planned mine location. Villagers of Nieuw Koffiekamp successfully refused relocation, backed by human rights lawyers. In 1995, the conflict between Nieuw Koffiekamp and GSR escalated. Village residents complained that they were intimidated by armed guards and that their subsistence activities, including small-scale gold mining, were being restricted by GSR security personnel and armed police units. The conflict was never resolved but withered away in the late 1990s, when gold prices reached a low point and it became unprofitable for GSR to further invest in mine development. However, in 2005 production restarted. At present the Gros Rosebel mine is still the only gold producing large-scale mine in Suriname. This mine is for 95 percent property of multinational Iamgold (operating as Rosebel Gold Mines) and the remaining five percent is in hands of the Suriname government. Tensions continue between Rosebel Gold Mines and small-scale miners from surrounding communities.
In the news: Twelve months in prison for Rosebel Gold Mines guard who shot gold miner.
In the news: Hundreds of gold miners get their own mining area near Rosebel Gold Mines. MacKay 2002. Mining in Suriname: Multinationals, the State, and the Maroon Community of Nieuw Koffiekamp.