The Rosebel property lies approximately 85 kilometres south of the capital city of Paramaribo. The mining concession covers 170 square kilometres, with the Suriname River to the east, the Saramacca River to the west and the Brokopondo reserve to the south. The country covers an area of approximately 163,270 square kilometres with a population of around 500,000.
The economy of Suriname is dominated by the natural resources sector, in particular the bauxite industry. Additional natural resources include oil, gold, iron ore and forestry. The economy draws less than 10% of its income from the export of agricultural products including bananas, rice, timber, citrus fruits, shrimp and fish.
Gold was first discovered in the Rosebel area in 1879 when 600 small scale miners were reported to have been working on the concession. Since its discovery, the land has been both publicly and privately owned and operated. Most notable private owners have included Placer Development of Vancouver from 1974-1977, the Grasshopper Aluminum Company from 1979-1985 and Golden Star Resources Ltd. who acquired the Right of Exploration on the property in 1992.
A 1994 Mineral Agreement between Golden Star, Grassalco and the Government of Suriname replaced the 1992 exploration agreement and Golden Star was granted a five year right of exploration for the Rosebel property. Later in 1994, Cambior entered into an option to joint venture agreement with Golden Star to earn an initial 50 percent interest in the project.
A Feasibility Study and an Environmental Impact Statement were filed with the Government of Suriname in 1997. A Pre-feasibility Study was delivered to the Ministry of Natural Resources in December 2000 and a final Feasibility Study was completed in August 2002.
In October 2001, Cambior acquired Golden Star’s remaining 50 percent interest in the Rosebel property. In addition, Golden Star transferred its rights in the adjacent Headley’s Reef and Thunder Mountain exploration concessions to Rosebel Gold Mines N.V. (“RGM”). Commercial production commenced in February 2004 and IAMGOLD acquired Rosebel as part of its acquisition of Cambior in late 2006.