Bauxite deposits in Suriname: Geological context and resource development

D. A. Monsels*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Bauxite, the raw material of aluminum, has been one of the economically vital natural resources for Suriname. Mining operations started about a century ago, and subsequent development of a refinery industry and hydro-electric power made Suriname one of the foremost bauxite and alumina producers worldwide for a long period of time. This paper presents a concise survey of the main geological attributes of its bauxite deposits and examines significant aspects in the development of mining in the country where alumina dominated the export revenues until a decade ago. The lateritic bauxite deposits are spread across the northern part of the country and developed on various parent rocks during Late Cretaceous-Early Tertiary times. Bauxites in the coastal lowlands formed on Cenozoic sedimentary deposits, whereas plateau bauxites originated on various crystalline rocks in inland regions of the Precambrian Guiana Shield. The composition of parent rocks and timing of bauxitisation point to a genetic correspondence with West African bauxites and a strong control of paleoclimatic conditions on the distribution and properties of bauxite in both regions. The more accessible bauxite deposits in the coastal lowlands are almost mined out, whereas the plateau bauxites have been extensively explored but have not been brought into production to date. For economic and environmental reasons, the future of the bauxite industry in Suriname is currently uncertain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-418
Number of pages14
JournalGeologie en Mijnbouw/Netherlands Journal of Geosciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • bauxite
  • mining
  • Suriname


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