In 2002-2003, a conflict arose in the Nassau Mountains, where the Suriname Aluminum Company (SURALCO), a joint-venture between the state of Suriname and the US-based bauxite company ALCOA, had acquired a gold concession. The concession area overlaps with the traditional homelands of the Paramacca Maroons, who were not informed or consulted. The government forcefully removed local gold miners from the concession to keep them from interfering with the company’s exploration activities.

As SURALCO joined forces with US mining giant Newmont, the same area is currently the playing field of large-scale versus small-scale miners. In 2004, the consortium operating under the name SURGOLD, started exploration activities. In April 2011, both local and migrant miners were expelled from the area. Whereas the newspapers reported the ‘voluntary’ leaving of the small-scale miners, Maroon miners from the area say they were confronted by heavily armed militaries. As in the case of Nieuw Koffiekamp, the Maroon people consider the fact that a concession had been given out to a multinational, without proper consultation or compensation, as offensive and a violation of tribal customary rights. They negotiate with the government for financial compensation. Presently, working relations between Newmont and the local Paramacca Maroon population appear to have improved. The Paramacca hope that the presence of a large-scale gold mine will bring jobs and economic development. A Paramacca negotiation committee, which was installed by the tribal authorities, regularly meets with SURGOLD representatives.

Read more:
In the news: Maroons want a percentage of Newmont’s profits.
In the news: Paramaccan leaders divided about gold.