A prominent source of unrest occurs when mining concessions are granted on lands to which indigenous and tribal peoples claim customary rights. In many cases the traditional area inhabitants are not notified in advance, and not adequately compensated. In 2002 the Associations of Geologists drafted a new and improved Mining Legislation. This draft law is, more than a decade later, still awaiting discussion and approval in the National Assemble.
Another main issue is the limited control over existing regulations, which are frequently violated. Concessionaries are typically not held responsible for the impacts of mining activities on their concessions, and concessions are seldom withdrawn. Reasons for this include a lack of capacity and funds in the Geology and Mining Department and the influential position of some concessionaries.
The Commission Regulation Gold Sector (OGS) was installed in 2011 to improve the legal and institutional context of small-scale gold mining. Its objective is to transform the sector into a formal sector that employs only legal and tax-paying residents of Suriname. The Commission started with the registration of gold miners. In addition, it has expelled small-scale gold miners from conflict areas; it mediated in conflicts among miners and between miners and third parties; it facilitated tax collection from gold miners; and researched more responsible mining technologies.
The Commission OGS plans to operate mining service centers in the interior, where miners can go for registration, administrative procedures, technological assistance, and so forth. However, the Commission has been criticized of failing to protect local communities and of the unequal treatment of miners.
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.
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