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The Brokopondo Dam & hydroelectric power plant

The Brokopondo Dam and a hydroelectric power plant on the Suriname River produce electricity for the bauxite-refining operations The dam impounds the 600-square-mile (1,550-square-km) W.J. van Blommestein Lake.
The Brokopondo Reservoir near Afobakka (built between 1961 and 1964), produces hydroelectric power that provides approximately half of the domestic electrical need.


The Brokopondo Agreement and the Afobaka Hydro Project

In the late forties, the Suriname government researched the feasibility of developing hydropower at Afobaka and began seeking development partners. Alcoa was an active supporter, seeing the project as an opportunity to develop smelting capacity near its bauxite sources in Suriname. Suriname and Alcoa signed a Guidelines Agreement on the project on March 1, 1957. Among other things, the agreement changed the name and structure of the Suriname Bauxite Company to Suriname Aluminum Company or Suralco.

On January 27, 1958, the Guidelines Agreement was followed by the Brokopondo Agreement, which formally established the structure of the project. Under this agreement, Suralco built a dam, a hydropower plant, an aluminum smelter, an alumina refinery and other facilities. The Suriname government agreed to provide the necessary water and property rights, expanded Suralco’s bauxite concessions, and gave Suralco more land for further geological research.


The Afobaka construction project was a large scale effort that lasted from 1959 until 1965. It included the construction of roads, the dam itself, a bridge across the Suriname River and an entire 2500-person residential village. In addition, Suralco built a smelter, alumina plant and power station. The facility was officially opened on October 9, 1965 by Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. The smelter operated until 1999, and the alumina plant is still in operation.



Category/ies:Suriname Projects.
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