The Rosebel Community Fund ("RCF") and the Ministry of Natural Resources ("NR") signed funding agreements to implement three projects in the districts of Brokopondo and Sipaliwini on February 15, 2021. The signing of these agreements marks the start of the installation of LED street lights in the district of Brokopondo. In the district of Sipaliwini two projects will be implemented involving the sustainable improvement of the drinking water supply and the electrification system in the Pikin Saramacca area. The signing took place between the RCF, represented by the Chairperson, Ms. Sharmila Jadnanansing, and boardmember Jerry Finisie, the government, represented by the Minister of NR, Mr. David Abiamofo, Chief Captain Edson Tweeling, on behalf of the traditional authority, and Mr. Ludwig Mendelzoon, District Commissioner of Brokopondo. Due to COVID-19, the kick-off activities were subject to measures and limited in scope.
The total cost of the project is estimated at USD 500,000.00 and its completion is projected for the third quarter of 2021. These projects represent a unique collaboration between the RCF and the Ministry of NR, whereby the RCF will provide USD 450,000.00 in resources and equipment, and the Ministry will provide labor, materials and logistical support during implementation. For this purpose, the departments of Water Supply and Electricity Supply will be deployed by NR.
By improving and expanding the street lighting in the district of Brokopondo, safety within the communities will be promoted and energy efficiency will be enhanced. In addition to the existing government electricity network, LED lamps will be connected and extra street lighting will be installed. Public places, such as community centers, schools and mooring platforms will also be equipped with solar-powered connected light points. In the Pikin Saramacca area, for the villages of Njun Jacobkondre, Baling, Bilawatra, and Misalibi, there will be an expansion of the electricity and drinking water distribution networks. This will significantly improve the drinking water supply for the existing households in the Pikin Saramacca area. Each village will also have its own water treatment plant, powered by solar energy.
"These projects were selected based on the priority areas emphasized by the communities, and the contribution from these communities for maintenance of the equipment will be critical," said Sharmila Jadnanansing regarding the development of the projects. "We chose for a public-private partnership with the Ministry because of our specific expertise and experience which will serve well in the implementation of these projects. In line with our Zero Harm® vision, we prioritize projects that contribute to health, safety and provide sustainable economic benefits. Clean drinking water and electricity are basic services that improve the quality of life, support social and economic activities, and are of long-term benefit to the communities."
Minister David Abiamofo says that he is excited about this initiative: "I am very pleased with this collaboration and hope that we have set the tone for several projects in the future. We can also use this as a model for possible partnerships with other companies. We remain committed to mobilizing all possible funding sources and partners. The implementation of these projects will give substance to the Ministry's policy of bringing about sustainable development of communities."
From the start of the Rosebel operation, the company has made targeted investments in capacity building and community development within Brokopondo. It has also regularly implemented projects related to education, health care, infrastructure, and stimulating local entrepreneurship, among others.
Currently, Rosebel's Corporate Social Responsibility is further strengthened through the establishment of the Rosebel Community Fund Foundation, with the aim of helping to create a sustainable future for the communities surrounding the Rosebel operation in particular and the Surinamese community in general. In 2021, the RCF will focus on funding income-generating projects for the communities in the districts of Brokopondo and Sipaliwini.