Businesses from India, the Middle East, and China have informally expressed their interest in participating in the bauxite project within the forest of western Suriname that may attract billions in investment, as was said by a Surinamese official on Tuesday.
The South American country has been hoping to award a concession for bauxite, which is the main global source of aluminum, by the same time next year after years of attempts to build the ore.
“There’s 324 million tons of bauxite there,” the chair of the presidential commission, Daniel Lachman, created to assess the bids for the Bakhuis region discussed in an interview.
While he has been citing proven reserves, the deposits could be a bit larger.
He also said that any investment from potential bidders who do not even belong to the mentioned regions will be welcomed.
“You are easily talking about $10 billion to $12 billion, but over a period of say around 10 years or a little longer. That’s my rough estimate,” Lachman said. “The bauxite we have is service level bauxite. You don’t have to create a mine. You just dig from the top,” he further added.
Companies will now be formally allowed to put forward interest from Thursday through 29th January in the next year.
“I think we have to look beyond government revenue… to other things that are much more important,” Lachman went on to further add. Local employment, community approval, and development of infrastructure are some of the important elements for the commission, which may not approve any of the projects that do not take the communities into account.