| PARAMARIBO, Suriname, July 6
PARAMARIBO, Suriname, July 6 Rosebel Gold Mine
N.V., the joint venture between Suriname's government and
Canada's Iamgold Corp, says its net profit rose 7.6
percent last year to $210.9 million.
The mine in the South American country is one of the biggest
operated by Iamgold. Last month, the Toronto-listed company and
the government agreed to expand the project and extended their
partnership until 2042.
After an annual shareholders' meeting in the capital
Paramaribo on Friday, Rosebel Gold Mine executives said gross
income had risen 7.8 percent to $655.7 million in 2012, compared
with the previous year.
Production rose to 402,000 ounces in 2012, they said, from
385,000 ounces the year before.
Sixty percent of the company's gross income remained in the
Suriname economy, they added, in the form of salaries, local
spending, donations and infrastructure.
The Suriname government earned $167 million in 2012, up from
$156.5 million the previous year, through taxes, dividend
payments and 5 percent royalty fees, they said.
"The company makes all efforts to contribute as much as
possible to the Suriname economy by doing business with locals,"
Rosebel Gold Mines' Legal and Corporate Affairs Manager Sharmila
Jadnanansing told reporters. "If we need something and we can
get it in Suriname, we won't import it."
The Rosebel project covers about 66 square miles (170 square
kilometers) of the country's Brokopondo district, 50 miles (80
kilometers) south of Paramaribo.
No details have been made public about the expansion plan
that was agreed in June, but Iamgold had previously proposed a
seven-year program costing around $185 million.
Suriname, a sparsely populated former Dutch colony on the
northeast shoulder of South America, produces gold and bauxite,
which dominates the economy, and has a nascent oil industry.
Last month, lawmakers approved a 25-year deal with
U.S.-based Newmont Mining Corp and Alcoa Worldwide
Alumina to develop another gold project in the country,
In areas including the Rosebel project, operations have
sometimes been disrupted by small-scale illegal miners who risk
their lives with unsafe practices and damage the environment.
Suriname's Natural Resources Minister Jim Hok told the news
conference the government will work with the company to improve
security, and that it wanted to help the small-scale miners by
offering them concessions under strict conditions.
"But it seems like they prefer working illegal and operating
under the radar," Hok said.