Socio-technical study of small-scale gold mining in Suriname

Jacopo Seccatore, Marjo de Theije

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Small-scale gold mining is Suriname's main economic sector, producing about two thirds of the nation's gold. Despite this, the sector is only very loosely regulated and most small-scale mining activities are informal. Surinamese miners are only a minority: the majority are Brazilian migrants, who have no right to the land and therefore have to pay a percentage of their production for land use. This study reports the findings of a field mission to small-scale mines in the region of Brokopondo reservoir. We document the technical aspects of small-scale gold mining in Suriname and contextualize this technology to social issues to identify links with cultural, political and sociological factors. Our findings show that informality and insecurity lead to a mine management culture that applies short-term solutions, such as cheap but polluting and inefficient technologies, and fails to produce stable, long-term mining conditions for clean, efficient technology and secure business planning. We conclude that the social context of the mining economy in Suriname strongly interacts with the technologies employed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-119
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2017


  • Artisanal mining
  • Gold
  • Mercury
  • Suriname


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