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Questions

New Gold is committed to making a positive contribution to the region and local communities. We recognize that our growth and success depend on the long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability of each of the communities in which we live and work.

To help increase understanding of the Blackwater Project, we have provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

NEW GOLD

Who is New Gold?

New Gold is an intermediate gold mining company. The company has a portfolio of four producing assets and three significant development projects. The New Afton Mine in Canada, the Mesquite Mine in the United States, the Peak Mines in Australia and the Cerro San Pedro Mine in Mexico, provide the company with its current production base. In addition, New Gold owns 100% of the Rainy River and Blackwater projects, both in Canada, as well as an interest in the El Morro project located in Chile. New Gold's objective is to be the leading intermediate gold producer, focused on the environment and social responsibility - See more here.

New Gold has been recognized by the two leading social responsibility rankings in Canada. In 2015, New Gold was ranked by Sustainalytics, as one of the the top five socially responsible mining companies in Canada and ranked seventh overall in the 2015 Future 40 Most Responsible Corporate Leaders in Canada.

Other Select Recognition and Awards:

New Afton Mine:
- First mining operation in BC to earn a certificate of recognition from WorksafeBC
- BC Mining Human Resources Diversity Award, 2013

Viola R MacMilan Award for Leadership and Best Practices, 2013

Blackwater Project: Developer of the Year Award, Natural Resources Forum, 2013

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INFRASTRUCTURE

Where is the project located?

The Blackwater Project is located along the northern flanks of Mt. Davidson in the Nechako Plateau within Cariboo Regional District Area I, approximately 160 kilometres southwest of Prince George and 110 kilometres southwest of Vanderhoof, in an area that has seen active exploration since 1973. The project is in the Nechako River basin and does not infringe on the Alexander MacKenzie Heritage Trail (also known as the Nuxalk-Carrier Route or Blackwater Trail).

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Will there be a camp on site?

A construction and operation camp is planned for site as the location, a three hour drive from Vanderhoof, makes it impractical for commuting .

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EMPLOYMENT

How many people will the Project hire?

New Gold expects to hire 1,200 to 1,500 (peak) workers during construction and up to 500 full-time workers to operate the mine.

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COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

How can the community provide input to the project?

New Gold is committed to working closely with local communities to ensure the project makes a positive contribution to the region. New Gold has facilitated Community Liaison Committee meetings, hosted workshops with local economic development officers, held Citizen Forums in collaboration with the College of New Caledonia, hosted a Regional Health Forum, met regularly with stakeholders, held open houses in six communities and led focus groups on local hiring and recruitment. New Gold will continue to engage with local communities throughout the life of the Project.

New Gold strives to be a full partner in the community and the region by actively supporting community-building and economic diversification activities.

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Need more information or have a question about the project?

The Blackwater Project Office is open from 8:00 to 4:30 weekdays to provide information and answer questions, as well as a list of upcoming trade shows, conferences and community events where New Gold will be present. The office is located at:

139-1st Street East, Vanderhoof, BC | (250) 567-3276 | office.blackwater@newgold.com

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COMMUNITY BENEFITS

How has New Gold structured the Blackwater Project around the socio-economic benefits to the region?

New Gold recognizes its growth and success depends on providing long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability of the communities in which it operates The company is strongly committed to purchasing local goods and services whenever possible, and since 2012 has spent more than $240 million on goods and services, with approximately 75 percent of that in the Blackwater Project region. New Gold is working closely with local community leaders to ensure Blackwater’s benefits the region in the richest way possible.

In 2014, Blackwater Project exploration expenditures in the Cariboo, North Coast and Nechako regions resulted in $29.2 million in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and supported 254 direct, indirect and induced jobs.

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How can local businesses get involved with the project?

Get to know us. Stay in touch with the Project Office. The Blackwater Project wants to know about you and your areas of expertise, and to keep you well informed of the project schedule and activities as we move forward.

To support local contracting, New Gold has developed a directory of local businesses and suppliers. Please contact the Project Office to discuss including your business in the directory: office.blackwater@newgold.com or (250) 567-3276.

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Will you give preferential treatment to locals for contracts and employment?

New Gold is firmly committed to ensuring the Blackwater Project hires and contracts locally wherever possible. Since 2013, approximately 65 percent of those hired for the Blackwater Project are local residents and 23 percent are from First Nation communities.

We are committed to creating and maintaining local jobs and will work with communities to help prepare local contractors and workers for construction and operations opportunities. This includes working with local training and educational institutions to develop, adapt and support training programs that match real future job and contract opportunities.

Our track record with New Afton mine near Kamloops shows that local residents make up more than 90% of its 450+ employees.

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ENVIRONMENT

Will the proposed project impact rare and endangered species?

The project is being designed to the highest environmental standards and best practices. The project will avoid Northern Caribou critical winter habitat and preserve and protect the Whitebark Pine.

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Will the proposed project impact fish?

The project is being located and designed to protect sensitive environmental values. The Project does not overlap any lake. No rare or listed (threatened) fish species have been identified in the proposed mine site or along the proposed access road. There are no salmon or salmon habitat within the proposed mine site.

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Will the proposed project impact archaeological and/or heritage sites?

New Gold has started archaeology and heritage studies in the area of the proposed project. There are no known archaeological sites within the proposed mine footprint. The transmission line will be designed to minimize effects on known archaeological sites.

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Will the proposed project impact provincial parks?

There are no provincial parks in immediate proximity to the proposed project. Entiako Provincial Park lies 26 kilometres northwest of the proposed mine site. Tweedsmuir Provincial Park is 63 kilometres west of the proposed mine site.

Finger-Tatuk Provincial Park is approximately three kilometres east of the middle part of the proposed project access route.

The proposed transmission line is over 20 kilometres away from the Uncha Mountains Red Hills Provincial Park, Francois Lake Provincial Park, and Beaumont Provincial Park.

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Will the proposed project affect local water quality?

The Blackwater Project is being designed and located to protect sensitive environmental areas. The Project is located outside the Blackwater watershed and will not cross major rivers or lakes.

Protection of water quality throughout the life of the Blackwater project is a priority and the project is being designed using technologies to minimize water use and maximize water recycling during processing. All water used in the mine site will be contained in a closed circuit with no water released into the environment.

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ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT PROCESS

What is the purpose of the environmental assessment process?

The Blackwater Project is subject to a coordinated environmental review by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the BC Environmental Assessment Office. A coordinated environmental assessment review requires:
  • Engagement with First Nations, the public, local governments, and federal and provincial agencies
  • Technical studies to identify potential adverse effects
  • Strategies and management plans to prevent or reduce potential adverse effects
An environmental assessment certificate is required before a project can proceed to the permitting stage.

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How can the public provide input to the environmental assessment process?

The Blackwater Project is working through a coordinated federal and provincial Environmental Assessment (EA) process that includes up to six public comment periods to ensure the public has the opportunity to review project documents and provide comment. This process requires consultation, technical studies, and management plans. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the BC Environmental Assessment Office hold the public comment periods. For more information, visit the Agency and the BC EAO websites.

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What is the Environmental Assessment Application?

The Environmental Assessment Application is a large report containing the completed studies and information which was outlined in the Application Information Requirements. The Application must address all the issues stated in the Application Information Requirements. Click here to review the Environmental Assessment Application.

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What is the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Guidelines document?

The EIS Guidelines document, which is part of the federal environmental assessment process, identifies the potential environmental effects to be taken into consideration and the information and analysis that need to be included in the Blackwater Project’s Environmental Impact Statement.

From December 21, 2012 to January 20, 2013, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) invited the public to comment on the EIS Guidelines document. On February 19, 2013, the Agency finalized and issued the EIS Guidelines to the project. Click here to view the finalized EIS Guidelines document.

Public comments on the Project Environmental Assessment application were accepted from January 20, 2016 to February 19, 2016. The Project is currently in the technical review stage of the environmental assessment process.

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What is the draft Application Information Requirements (AIR) document?

The draft AIR document outlines the studies, methodologies and information New Gold will include in its application for a provincial environmental assessment certificate.

In late 2013, the BC Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) invited the public to attend Open House events to review and comment on the draft Application Information Requirements (AIR) document.

Issues raised during the draft AIR comment period were tracked and the Environmental Assessment Application will respond to those issues. Public comments received on the draft Application Information Requirements for the proposed Blackwater Project are posted on BC EAO Project Information Centre website.

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What is the Project Description?

The Project Description is a document that major projects in B.C. must submit to the BC Environmental Assessment Office and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in order to request an environmental review. Click here to view the Project Description.

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FEASIBILITY STUDY RESULTS

New Gold has announced the results of its Feasibility Study for the Blackwater Project. While New Gold remains committed to the project, the timeframe for development has been extended.

The project will also continue to work collaboratively with community partners to help prepare local workers for employment and contracting opportunities.

For more information on the Feasibility Study results, click here.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

How does the project work with First Nations?

New Gold is working to build strong partnerships with Indigenous peoples. New Gold has signed agreements with First Nations in region.

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What training opportunities will exist for First Nations during exploration, construction and operations?

During the exploration phase, New Gold has provided training to Aboriginal workers at the proposed mine site and at the Vanderhoof Sample Prep Lab. In partnership with the BC Aboriginal Mentoring and Training Association (formerly the BC Aboriginal Mine Training Association), New Gold provided 50 percent funding for a drill core technician/field exploration training program and has hired program graduates. The Project has worked with several  cohorts of the award winning BladeRunners program.

The project is working with regional Aboriginal training institutions and local Aboriginal groups to help prepare Aboriginal peoples for construction and operations jobs.

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MINING

How much gold will the project produce?

The proposed open pit gold and silver mine has a seventeen year mine life with proven and probable reserves of 8.2 million ounces of gold and 60.8 million ounces of silver with the potential to produce 485,000 ounces of gold per year for the first nine years. 

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At what stage is the project?

Currently, the Blackwater Project is undergoing a coordinated Federal and Provincial environmental review by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the BC Environmental Assessment Office. The Project began Application Review on January 12, 2016, with a public comment period from January 20 to February 19, 2016. More information here.

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What facilities will be on site?

The mine site would include a mine road, an open pit, ore processing facilities, a tailings storage facility, waste rock stockpiles, water management facilities, offices, accommodation camps, warehouses, a truck shop and a construction laydown area. Mine facilities will be clustered together to minimize the project’s footprint on the land.

The project includes a 140-kilometre transmission line that would connect the mine site with an existing substation south of Endako.

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What is a tailings storage facility?

A tailings storage facility contains the ground rock, soil and water generated from the processed resource. The Blackwater tailing storage facility has been carefully designed and located to avoid Northern Caribou critical winter habitat and Whitebark Pine and to protect regional groundwater and surface waters during operations and after closure.

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What is the size of the mine footprint?

The overall mine footprint is approximately a three kilometre radius. New Gold is committed to minimizing its footprint on the land, and has worked carefully to minimize encroachment on sensitive areas such as streams.

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What are the plans for mine closure?

The mine will be closed in a way that protects the long-term health of the natural environment.

To ensure land is safely returned to productive use, mine closure and reclamation are regulated under the BC Environmental Assessment Act and the BC Mines Act. This includes closing the pit, constructing wetlands, closing waste rock and storage areas and returning watercourses to their natural direction.

After the mine closes, the land could be used for recreation, wildlife habitat and returned to traditional use by Aboriginal peoples.

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Will the project use cyanide?

It is important to realize that sodium cyanide occurs naturally, is not toxic in all forms or concentrations, and can be manufactured, stored, transported, used and disposed of in a safe manner.

In October 2010, New Gold was accepted by the International Cyanide Management Institute as a signatory to the International Cyanide Management Code, the international benchmark for transporting, storing and using cyanide. This stringent and voluntary code is being instituted in all New Gold mines where sodium cyanide is used.

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TRANSPORTATION

What is the rationale for the access road coming from Vanderhoof instead of Quesnel?

Accessing the site from Vanderhoof allows the project to use existing Forest Service Roads. The proposed access route uses the existing Kluskus Forest Service Road and Ootsa Forest Service Road. A 16 kilometre section of new road will be built, starting at kilometre 25 of the Ootsa Forest Service Road. The proposed location of the new road will avoid impacts to Northern Caribou critical winter habitat and reduce travel distance to the mine site.

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Will the project include an airstrip?

An airstrip is planned to be built for use during the construction phase of the project in order to increase accessibility and reduce travel time to the site. The presence of an airstrip supports New Gold's strategy of being best positioned to attract top-quality, skilled labour for construction. For operations, a high-quality modular camp with a capacity of 420 persons would be used.

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PROPERTY

Will the project impact private holdings, range and agricultural leases, traplines and guiding territories in the area?

The closest private land holdings are approximately 10 kilometres northeast of the proposed mine site; private land holdings are a little closer to the proposed mine access road and transmission line.

The alignment of the transmission line has been refined to take into consideration concerns raised by tenure holders. The project will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure their interests are considered while we this plan is finalized.

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Will there be noise from blasting or heavy equipment?

Noise source modeling will be carried out to ensure noise is fully considered during project design and appropriate mitigation measures incorporated.

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