Last Monday’s launch of the new Forshaw and Oronoque streets business establishment, HFD Mining Supplies marks the continuation of a steady growth in investments in Guyana by Suriname.
It is a development that could hardly have been foreseen just over a decade ago when Surinamese gunboats audaciously expelled Canadian company CGX from its oil exploration pursuits in the Corentyne river, triggering resort by Guyana to international legal proceedings to settle the issue.
The traditional people-to-people contact between Guyana and Suriname has developed into brisk
business relations. The major Surinamese investors Rudisa Holdings and the insurance company Assuria have been joined by smaller companies including Rossignol Butchery and, more recently HFD Mining Supplies.
Just a few months ago, owner of HFD Karel Dawson was in Georgetown meeting with Roraima Airways Chief Executive Officer Gerry Gouveia to determine how Dawson’s Kabalebo Resort in Suriname and Roraima could work together in the tourism sector. HFD’s multi-million-dollar investment in Guyana is an acknowledgement by the Surinamese company of the steady growth of the gold mining sector in Guyana. Three consecutive years of returns in excess of 300,000 ounces and a promise of more than 500,000 ounces this year, has, it seems, been more than enough to persuade Dawson that Guyana is the place in which to invest.
Dawson’s son Zefan, who is co-director and General Manager of the company’s Georgetown operations told Stabroek Business that the 20-year-old HFD had finally decided to expand its operations into Guyana rather than French Guiana because of the unmistakable evidence of the steady growth of the gold-mining sector and its importance to the Guyana economy. More than that, the 24-year-old university graduate found that the regulations governing foreign investment in Guyana were far more investor-friendly than those in French Guiana. HFD has come to Guyana at a time when the local gold mining sector is at a decisive juncture. Falling gold prices have failed to generate any signs of panic and indications from both the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) are that the sector is not only holding steady but that investments are increasing.
The younger Dawson, who told Stabroek Business that he and his father intend to rotate duties here in Georgetown, says HFD aims to significantly enhance the access of local gold miners to high quality equipment at competitive prices. It appears that HFD recognises that the vast majority of Guyanese miners are small and medium-scale operators and that high-priced equipment would be beyond them.
What HFD has promised is that it will be using its considerable experience in the mining supplies sector to provide the Guyanese mining community with reputable brands at competitive prices secured directly from manufacturers. Not unmindful of the significance of the Surinamese investment as a symbol of ongoing improvement in relations between Guyana and Suriname Natural Resources Minister Robert Persaud has said that the presence here of HFD bodes well for the future of relations between the two countries. Persaud says the government here wants local businesses to emulate companies like HFD by themselves seeking out investment opportunities in Suriname.