A delegation led by Zou Laichang, executive director, vice chairman of the board of directors, and president of Zijin Mining, met with President Chan Santokhi. The chief of state claims that this discussion represents a turning point in Suriname and China’s bilateral relations and opens up possibilities for future collaboration.
Santokhi welcomed the visit, especially because Suriname recently celebrated 170 years of Chinese settlement in Suriname. He noted that the meeting also comes at a crucial time as Suriname is currently in the final stages of debt restructuring negotiations with China. The head of state emphasized the influence that a renowned company such as Zijin Mining can have on this process, reports the Communications Service Suriname.
Zou Laichang thanked Santokhi for the warm welcome and emphasized Zijin Mining’s role as a fast-growing company that values respect for local culture and regulations. He noted that Zijin Mining actively contributes to the local communities in which the company operates and thanked the president and the Surinamese people for the smooth transition from Iamgold to Zijin. He revealed that production has improved and revenues have increased, which has also led to more revenue for the Surinamese government.
The gold company’s CEO further indicates that Zijin Mining can generate profits at a lower cost and is open to exploring more business opportunities in Suriname. In addition, the company is committed to reducing the use of mercury in the mining sector and is willing to share expertise and knowledge to help Suriname. Zou Laichang emphasized the importance of the opportunity to jointly build a resource-based industry.
President Santokhi responded positively to the offer and underlined Suriname’s commitment to environmentally friendly practices. He promised the support of the Surinamese government in investment opportunities and indicated that the development of the local population is of paramount importance.
The conversation concluded with Zou Laichang’s invitation to President Santokhi to visit Zijin Mining in China, and the promise to report these meetings to the respective embassies and diplomatic channels to facilitate the flow of restructuring. The head of state concluded by emphasizing that debt restructuring is crucial for promoting investment projects and restarting Chinese projects that are currently at a standstill.