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Coconut Mat Important to Reducing Erosion at Merian

Newmont’s efforts to create value and improve lives through sustainable and responsible mining are important pillars for ensuring the long-term success of the Merian Gold Project in Suriname. This includes creating meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships with all our stakeholders while protecting the natural environment.

Surgold, the Newmont subsidiary which operates Merian, recently reached an important milestone when its Erosion Control Team decreased the washing away of soil (erosion) on slopes around the mine site by using a natural remedy: coconut mat.

Ross Polis, Environmental Superintendent, is quite happy with this result: “The coconut matting helps to reduce erosion on the slopes of the mine. Along with other measures like planting Vetiver grass, a grass specially grown for Surgold with long bushy roots and the ability to absorb heavy metals from soil and water, building dams and laying fiber rolls, which slow the water movement, we try to be as well prepared as possible for the rainy season when the risks of erosion are higher. After the rain, we will evaluate the effectiveness of the coconut matting and other measures and adjust them as needed.”

Ultimately, the mats will be used to assist in stabilizing many slopes around the site. Much of this work is done by five people from the village of Langetabbetje and surrounding areas. One of them is the 31-year-old Debora Flink, a mother of five children. Since early October she has helped to place the coconut matting. “I had already worked for Surgold making the sticks for the mats, but when I met Christine Amato at the shop and she asked me if I wanted to work at Merian, I immediately said yes.”

Before working for Surgold, Debora worked in the forest supporting her husband who is a small scale miner. Today, she prefers installing coconut mats: “It is not too hard work and every day Surgold is bringing us to and from the job, that’s nice. So I’m very satisfied with my contract and I hope it is renewed after the first six months. From the money I earn, I am thinking of buying a piece of land in the future.”

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Tags : Environment, Merian, People

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