Canadian gold mine damaged in Suriname strike
Strikers at a Canadian gold mine in the Latin American country of Suriname have dug up the plant’s airstrip and barricaded roads in a dispute over a new contract, officials said.
Defense Minister Ivan Fernald told reporters that strikers had caused enormous damage at the Suriname Rosebel Gold Mines NV (RGM) since the stoppage began on Thursday, and an army unit had been sent in to guard the explosives stock.
The strikers had also partly cut the water supplies and sabotaged the power lines, according to RGM management sources, who said the workers had taken a bulldozer to the airstrip.
The strike started after negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement for the workers stalled.
“The negotiations have been going on for more then one year now and the laborers are fed up as they also want to see something back in their salary from the company’s profit,” union leader Errol Snijders said.
Parent company IAMGold Corp refused to comment Monday on the dispute in the plant some 118 kilometers (70 miles) south of the capital Paramaribo, but in an earlier statement condemned the strike as illegal.
Last year the mine was shut down for a couple days after the union forced the former owner — Cambior Inc. — to recognize its new union board.
IAMGold Corp took over the Rosebel Gold Mines NV in late 2006, with the Surinamese government retaining 5.0 percent. Suriname borders Brazil in the south and the Atlantic coast in the north.