Alcoa has been active in Suriname since 1916, when Alcoa founded the Suriname Bauxite Company to mine and later refine bauxite into alumina. Since then, Alcoa has contributed signficantly to the economy of Suriname, providing jobs, revenue, and infrastructure development through its Suralco business.

History of Alcoa in Suriname
In 1915 Alcoa, then known as the Pittsburgh Reduction Company, sent agents to Suriname to research the feasibility of mining bauxite, the ore from which aluminum is made. Based on their findings, the company decided to move ahead with a mining operation and obtained the necessary concessions from the government of what was then Dutch Guiana.

Moengo
Mining began along the Cottica River in the jungle village of Moengo. Although conditions were initially primitive and mining was done mostly by hand, the operation grew quickly and exported its first ore in 1922. With the introduction of modern facilities in 1925, production began to increase.

Paranam
In 1938 the company began building a plant to support new mining areas along the Suriname River. Built on a former plantation, the facility was called Paranam after the Para and Suriname Rivers which border the mining concession areas. Paranam began operations in 1941. The first ore export took place aboard an Alcoa-owned ship, the Alcoa Mariner.

The Brokopondo Agreement and the Afobaka Hydro Project
In the late forties, the Suriname government researched the feasibility of developing hydropower at Afobaka and began seeking development partners. Alcoa was an active supporter, seeing the project as an opportunity to develop smelting capacity near its bauxite sources in Suriname. Suriname and Alcoa signed a Guidelines Agreement on the project on March 1, 1957. Among other things, the agreement changed the name and structure of the Suriname Bauxite Company to Suriname Aluminum Company or Suralco.

On January 27, 1958, the Guidelines Agreement was followed by the Brokopondo Agreement, which formally established the structure of the project. Under this agreement, Suralco built a dam, a hydropower plant, an aluminum smelter, an alumina refinery and other facilities. The Suriname government agreed to provide the necessary water and property rights, expanded Suralco's bauxite concessions, and gave Suralco more land for further geological research.

The Afobaka construction project was a large scale effort that lasted from 1959 until 1965. It included the construction of roads, the dam itself, a bridge across the Suriname River and an entire 2500-person residential village. In addition, Suralco built a smelter, alumina plant and power station. The facility was officially opened on October 9, 1965 by Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. The smelter operated until 1999, and the alumina plant is still in operation.
Highlights


Wages for building and operating Suralco facilities are consistently among Suriname's highest.

Suralco's Afobaka hydroelectric project opened an unused part of Suriname for new agricultural and resource development.

Suralco and its employees provide a significant source of revenue and foreign currency directly to the Suriname government in the form of taxes, duties and fees.

Suralco supports active and growing social and cultural programs in local communities.