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Canadian Company Supports Renewable Energy For Gold Mines In Suriname

PARMARIBO, Suriname, CMC – President of the Canadian-based multinational corporation, Iamgold, Steve Letwin says the construction of a solar plant at its Rosebel mine in Suriname, will provide an opportunity for championing the cause of renewable energy for gold mine operations here. 


“Because of the remote locations of mines, using renewables is a superior solution, Letwin told the US-based magazine, Energy and Mines, adding “developing larger solar farms makes sense where mines are already tied into the grid, as excess solar power can be fed into the grid during the day and drawn back again during the night. 

“The renewables industry has to help mines understand the technology that’s available and then create alternatives that can be positively compared to hydrocarbon use,” he said. 


He told the magazine that he is a believer that self-generation will occur. 


“Collectively, mankind is dumping 100-million tons of carbon into the air every day. Half of that gets absorbed into the oceans and into the plant life, but it’s still a lot of carbon entering the atmosphere. At the end of the day, we’re all going to have to do a better job reducing the amount of carbon we’re dumping into the atmosphere.” 

In May this year, Iamgold installed the first panel of what would become the largest solar project in Suriname. The US$14million, 5MW project is fully funded by Rosebel NV and will be used at the company’s mining site in District Brokpondo.


Letwin said that the project has a twofold objective. 


“The Surinamese population is growing, and so demands for electricity/power are growing. (And) as we move into hard rock at Rosebel, our own power requirements are going to increase,” he said, noting that Iamgold, which has a 70 per cent stake in the Rosebel mine, worked with the government to come up with a strategy that would involve increasing the power supply in the country. 


“We wanted to increase the amount of power coming from a renewable source in the country – which at the time was zero. Jointly, we talked about the benefits of developing a small solar farm and creating five MW of solar power available for the grid. Because of the needs of our own mine, it made sense that we’d build the grid on our site and supply the power into the grid for mine use or general use – depending on the time of the day.” 


“We’re all trying to do our best to decrease the use of hydrocarbons. Because the hydro facility in Suriname could not be expanded in the foreseeable future, the obvious alternative was diesel generation. “But we just thought that solar would be a better alternative to burning hydrocarbons. The major consideration was the green strategy: to reduce the amount of carbon we’re burning to produce energy.” 


Letwin said that although saving money is an imperative for all mining companies operating in the current environment, he was equally convinced that the sector needed to pursue a greener strategy on environmental grounds “to reduce the carbon we’re burning to produce energy.”






Category/ies:News, Suriname News.
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