“When international companies come to Suriname they want to see data”, says Dimitri Lemmer, CEO of Consolidated Resources Suriname (CRS). Acknowledging the gap between what is internationally accepted and what Suriname was ready to deliver, CRS provides potential international investors all the data and assistance required for developing sustainable greenfield mining projects. “We think it is important to have good exploration data before you begin exploitation. Without it, it is very difficult to talk with international investors on the same level. That is what makes us different to most companies in the Surinamese mining sector”, assures Lemmer.
CRS focuses on identifying, acquiring and exploring multiple mineral projects with large scale potential for reputable international stakeholders. So far, they have worked on the exploration of gold, granite rock and silica sand, but it is still early days in the uncovering of Suriname’s real mining potential. Wanting to become the preferred exploration partner in the country, they offer a wide range of services from exploration planning and implementation to project management; from permit and license acquisition to desk studies and technical report writing. “We cater to all the needs of foreign companies that want to do mining exploration here”, says Lemmer.
CRS started in 2018 by researching past studies done in the gold sector from the 1970s onward. After some remodeling and recalculations, they presented their results to several consultant partners, Australian CSA Global among them, and in 2019 they signed their first partnership agreement with Guggenheim Resources. Working as their strategic partners in Suriname, they provided a land package that was logistically viable and justified investing in the country, and soon after they started to explore the alluvial gold at the CGR-Goliath concession, the first diamond drilling done in the country in over 15 years by a company other than big operators Newmont or Iamgold.
Later on, based on data findings and projections, CRS developed a potentially revolutionary concept by stating that the known Greenstone belt of Suriname was 15 to 30 per cent larger than what was officially recognised, thus opening a new realm of mining possibilities for the country. After his report was shared with several international investors, it called the attention of Reunion Gold, and in 2020 they signed a partnership agreement for gold exploration in the Tosso area. “For a company of our size, that is a real milestone”, says Lemmer proudly. Additionally, they have recently signed an agreement with Energold Drilling, a global drilling solutions company that will start providing its services in Suriname next year.
Furthermore, while currently they are mostly focused on gold exploration, based on previous studies and prospective analysis they believe there is a huge potential to find and exploit other minerals, particularly copper and lithium, of key importance for the electric car and electronic devices industries. “We are convinced Suriname has a very large copper potential, particularly in the south of the country”, says Lemmer.
And while they respect the government’s caution in granting permits, they believe it is important to distinguish speculators from companies like CRS, which are investing substantially on exploration and accreditation before they go to international investors. “From our own experience, we know how these companies think. There has been a shift from safety towards the environment and SDGs, we share the same mentality and that is why we have invested on being certified. That is the only way we can get Suriname and ourselves to the next level”, assures Lemmer.
In the next five to ten years CRS will stay focused on gold, because that is what the country is known for, there is a strong legislation in place, good experience and many interested investors, especially from US and the Middle East, the UAE in particular. As they see it, there is enough potential to develop both smaller and larger mines. “We expect that in the coming five years we will have enough data to justify another mine of the same potential of the two large ones we have already”, assures Lemmer. They also expect copper and lithium explorations to take place and start being exploited, with enormous potential.
Diamond exploration, exploitation and processing is another area that could be successfully developed, as there is already a big interest from Middle Eastern countries. They plan to start two large diamond drilling programmes of at least 10,000 m, a large exploration for Surinamese standards, and expect the results of their north-west extension by the end of this year. “If our programme is successful, at least one major operator will be looking seriously towards Suriname, and we are convinced we will be the game-changing partner in justifying the next large mine in the country”, assures Lemmer, feeling very positive about his company’s future and that of the mining sector. After all, as he says, “Suriname is a big unpolished diamond.”