On Thursday, November 17, nearly 2,500 guests joined Surinamese dignitaries and Newmont executives to celebrate the opening of the Merian gold mine in Suriname.
Prior to the event, leaders from the local Pamakkan community held a traditional libation ceremony to honor Pamakkan ancestors and seek their blessings. The ceremony took place at the mine in a specially built hut that will remain on site for future community celebrations.
After touring the operations, President Bouterse and CEO Gary Goldberg unveiled a plaque commemorating the official opening of the mine and joined Adriaan Van Kersen, Managing Director of Newmont Suriname, to speak to guests about the opportunities that the project will bring to local communities and the government.
President Bouterse referred to the project as a historic event for Suriname: “It is the first time Suriname has acquired such a large stake in the mining sector. Our 25 percent participation in the mine is significant and historic.” Bouterse added that such a large-scale investment in Suriname is proof that sustainable and responsible development is possible in a small economy.
Speaking to the guests, Newmont’s Gary Goldberg commended the positive collaboration between Newmont Suriname and the Pamakka community, government, suppliers and contractors. As a result of the close cooperation, construction of the mine was completed safely, on time and US$150 million below budget.
Adriaan Van Kersen, Managing Director of Newmont Suriname, noted that the Mineral Agreement signed between the Company and the Republic of Suriname offers Newmont and its partners the ability to operate for 25 years in the highly prospective district, with an option for a 10-year extension. “We want to use the full term of the agreement. We’ll continue investing in exploration and in our future. For next year alone that will amount to more than US$10 million,” Van Kersen added.
Following the speeches, musicians and dancers from various ethnic groups in Suriname, including Maroons, Creoles, Hindustanis, Javanese and Amerindians, performed for the guests, showcasing the cultural diversity and unity of Surinamese society. After the official program, guests enjoyed lunch together and viewed some of the new facilities.
To learn more about the milestones leading up to the opening of Newmont’s Merian gold mine, check out this fact sheet on our website.