In Suriname many conflicts revolve around the opposing interests of national and international migrant miners and the local population. In Suriname, 65 to 75 percent of the miners and mining service providers are international migrants, mostly Brazilians. The remaining inhabitants of mining areas are primarily Suriname Maroons, tribal peoples of African descent, and a small number of people of other ethnic origins.
East and Central Suriname, where most gold mining takes place, are among the most populated areas in the interior. Most of the families living in villages along the Tapanahoni, Lawa and Marowijne river and in the Brokopondo region are partly or wholly financially dependent on small-scale gold mining.
In 2009, a conflict between a Brazilian and a local Maroon escalated into a violent attack against Brazilian small-scale miners. Hundreds of them were evacuated. However, the conflicts in Suriname seldom turn into violent fights. Instead, most conflicts are managed – although not entirely resolved – through negotiation.
Brazilians and Maroons dominate the small-scale gold mining sector but most concessions are in hands of the urban political and economic elite. These concessions include areas that Maroons traditionally consider as their tribal home lands. Read here about the main conflicts of local inhabitants versus multinationals and/or government.
Heemskerk, M., Duijves, C. & Pinas, M. (2013). Interpersonal and institutional distrust as disabling factors in natural resources management: small-scale gold miners and the government in Suriname. Society & Natural Resources, pp. 1-16.