Travel

Digging into Suriname's Massive and Corrupt Gold Industry

VICE Netherlands went to Suriname to investigate corruption in the country's gold industry, look at the public health concerns caused by mining with mercury, and to meet a powerful ex-rebel leader turned gold baron.
January 12, 2016, 4:04pm

Gold is everywhere in Suriname, and the effects of its mining seep into all aspects of society, from the political powers to what the locals wear on their fingers. The industry is a necessary source of income for many Surinamese, but it's also destroying the environment, bad for public health, and filled with corruption.

VICE Netherlands went to Suriname to see how gold is intertwined with everyday life in the country. During the trip, they rode along with "Jungle" Ronnie Brunswick—an ex-rebel leader who waged a violent civil war but is now a successful businessman with miles of gold mining land to his name.

They also witnessed the dangers of mercury, which is used widely in the recovery of gold, and visited Benz Village, where everything in life is paid for with gold.