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N. V. Grasshopper Aluminum Company Mining Trade Industry and Transport Communities and Artisanal and Small Scale Mining: N. V. Grassalco’s View 8 th Annual CASM Conference Brasilia, 6 -12 th October 2008 “Digging to deliver Development” Devika Narain BSc. Environmental Officer N. V. Grassalco Edited by Glenn Gemerts, MSc President Director N. V. Grassalco
Contents • • Overview of Grassalco Legal framework Small Scale Mining Benzdorp Concession WWF Project: Artisanal goldmining management within Benzdorp
N. V. Grassalco: Grasshopper Aluminum Company was established by Government Decree of 14 August 1971. The main purpose of the company at foundation was the development of the bauxite deposits of western Suriname.
Our Vision Sustainable development of the Surinamese mineral potential, whilst maximizing the benefits for the Republic of Suriname.
Our Mission Grassalco initiates the sustainable development of the mineral potential of Suriname with the exception of hydrocarbons, where possible on her own or in good partnership with both national and international investors for the prosperity of the Suriname nation.
Activities Grassalco at present owns Mineral Rights for Gold, Aggregate, Natural Stone and Diamonds on eleven properties spread over the country. Future goals will include bauxite, uranium and kaolin activities.
Most important Grassalco properties At the moment we explore: Natural Stones Aggregates Gold
Legal framework Small Scale Mining Law of May 1986 introduced small-scale mining as a separate category in mining and described it as: “the reconnaissance, exploration and exploitation of a mineral deposit whose nature, mode of occurrence and quantity, warrants the economic mining by simple means and techniques. • The second gold rush that started around 1980 was the main reason for incorporating small-scale mining in the mining law. • Possibilities for employment and rural development recognized, as well as its negative impacts on men and environment. • Strict rules laid down in the law.
The Benzdorp Concession • South-eastern Suriname, along the border with French Guyana. • Covers an area of 138, 000 hectares • Comprises four Rights of Exploration (three of 40, 000 hectares each and one of 18, 000 hectares) within which lie two Rights of Exploitation covering 3, 000 hectares each.
Artisanal mining within Benzdorp • About 1000 people are directly or indirectly involved in artisanal gold mining at Benzdorp. • They mainly occupy the exploitation areas of the Benzdorp concession. • About 40 registered asrtisanal mining camps are active in the Benzdorp area (in the exploitation area), of which 4 in the exploration area within the concession
Mining Camps Within the Benzdorp Property
Environmental impacts of artisanal gold mining activities (sluicebox) • Water siltation • Landscape degradation • Destruction of habitats • Loss of organic soil • Deforestation • Mercury pollution Some induced impacts within the Benzdorp area are: • Malaria • Non-hygienic living conditions (sanitary, etc. ) • Pollution by mainly plastic and metal waste
WWF Project: Artisanal goldmining management within Benzdorp Goal To improve the environmental management of small scale gold mining, including induced impacts of gold mining activities, within the Benzdorp concession of Grassalco.
WWF Project: Artisanal goldmining management within Benzdorp Cont. Objectives 1. To reduce the negative impacts of artisanal gold mining activities in the Benzdorp concession by promotion of retort use. 2. To initiate an attitude change of the population by executing awareness program dealing with mercury poisoning, importance of retort use and sanitary improvements. 3. To improve artisanal mining techniques and introduce less destructive methods by construction of an improved sluicebox.
Project implementation: Education and awareness • Multiple Awareness campaigns to alert inhabitants of Benzdorp about mercury poisoning will be held. Emphasis was placed on mercury intoxication of humans, including symptoms of mercury poisoning. • Presentations were updated with the latest water, soil and fish monitoring data. • Awareness campaign concerning labor safety measures and sanitary regulations was also held.
Project implementation: Improved Practices Support • Awareness campaign, including retort use demonstration
Project implementation: Improved Practices Support • Sluice box 14° 12° 10° 0. 5 m
Project implamentation: Improved Practices Support • Environmental monitoring Mercury levels in water, fishes and sediment are analyzed by the Centre of Environmental Research at the Anton de Kom University of Suriname.
Project implementation: Improved Practices Support
Can ssm be sustainable? • Regulation of small-scale gold mining activities became a major policy objective for the Government: – In 1994 the Central Bank of Suriname in an effort to increase the country’s foreign exchange reserves decided to buy gold. About 800 kg of gold was bought that year and 3000 in 1995, estimated to be about 25% of total production. With the gold purchase operation the Bank was able to stabilize the economy and the Surinamese guilder appreciated more than 50% against the US dollar in one year. In 2005 some 11, 667 kg of gold was purchased by the central bank of Suriname and in 2007 some 14, 253 kg, a growth of 7. 5% per year.
Can ssm be sustainable? • Small-scale mining is undergoing a transition from a haphazard, disorderly individual activity to better organized and highly mechanized operation. The modern ‘porknokker’ is a manager now, responsible for supervising the work, the purchase of food, fuel, spare parts and other consumables and arrange for transport to the work site. • Spin-off effects: – Airstrips being developed – Airline companies (aerial transport of people and cargo) – boat traffic (hauling fuel, machines, spare parts, etc. )
Can ssm be sustainable? • Scale mining mostly carried out by poor and deprived people • Goldfields are very remote, often poorly accessible and working conditions hard • Rehabilitation costs are enormous • Medical costs and costs of maintaining mines inspection also high • Small scale mining in most cases is contrary to public interest.
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