Growing Our Communities
We foster open communication with residents and community leaders, from a project’s earliest development phase, through the mine’s life and after closure.
Our goals are to understand the impacts of our operations on local communities, to be a catalyst for increasing quality of life, and to contribute to sustainable development within our host communities. We believe that it is important to thoroughly understand the people, their histories and their aspirations, as well as their needs and concerns, so that we can truly engage and contribute to healthy communities and long-term social, cultural and economic development.
Our people become involved at every level – with local and regional government, business, schools, healthcare and recreational organizations. We actively participate in community organizations, host community events, and seek to connect with people’s priorities and concerns.
Our economic contributions benefit communities and regions in many forms. There are taxes and royalties, but equally important is the impact of the salaries brought home by hundreds of employees and contractors, the vast majority of whom are from the host communities. In addition, whenever it is practical, we strive to source our services and supplies locally. Local communities often benefit from improvements that our operations make to roads, water, energy and network infrastructure, as well as to area schools and health facilities.
Scorecard 3: Community Engagement and Development
Formalize and implement engagement and communications plans at all sites.
Engagement plans have been formalized at all sites.
All operations’ engagement plans to achieve substantial compliance with newly created Community Engagement and Development Management Standards.
Formalize external grievance procedures at Blackwater project.
A complaint mechanism has been formalized at Blackwater.
All operations’ grievance mechanisms to achieve substantial compliance with newly created Community Engagement and Development Management Standards.
Continue to implement the Cerro San Pedro Sustainable Development Program.
Work with Blackwater Community Liaison Committee to identify opportunities for maximizing local economic impacts.
The Cerro San Pedro Sustainable Development Program continued through 2013.
The Blackwater Community Liaison Committee
was instrumental in identifying opportunities for maximizing local economic impacts.
Initiate the Cerro San Pedro Responsible Closure Program, including a collaborative process with local communities to identify priorities for community development.
At New Gold, community engagement begins while a project is in the exploration and development stage, and continues through the mine’s life and after closure. Our engagement activities are guided by our Community Engagement and Development Standards that are compliant with several standards and guidelines including the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) protocol on Aboriginal and Community Outreach. Our Community Engagement and Development Standards guide us to identify our communities of interest, effectively engage and maintain dialogue, maintain a feedback mechanism and report on performance. Most operations produce their own sustainability reports, which are distributed locally and often presented in community meetings.
New Gold sites share information regarding operations and upcoming activities with local residents and other communities of interest. We use a variety of engagement methods including community presentations, open houses, one-on-one meetings, household visits, letters, media advertisements, and newsletters. All New Gold sites regularly hold open houses and/or provide site tours to a wide variety of educational institutions, regulators, investors and community groups.
Every year, our sites and employee volunteers contribute to numerous cultural events, sports events and community cleanup activities, as well as initiatives to encourage recycling and healthy lifestyles.
Wherever our operations interact with Indigenous peoples, we endeavour to understand and respect traditional values, customs and cultures. We take meaningful action to serve their development needs and priorities through collaborative agreements aimed at creating jobs, training and lasting socio-economic benefits. By being committed to regularly hosting meetings with local representatives, New Gold remains connected to host communities to understand their priorities and concerns, which helps to resolve existing or potential issues.
While all of our sites conduct local community engagement, we recognize that there are challenges in this area, and that there remains work to do in implementing it consistently across our sites. We are addressing these issues through the implementation of the Community Engagement and Development Management Standards, which are expected to improve performance as well as consistency across our operations.
We maintain open channels through which complaints and suggestions can be received and addressed. Only through respectful, mutually beneficial dispute resolutions can we maintain our meaningful, trust-based relationships with our local communities and other communities of interest.
Formalized External Feedback Process – Complaints Received
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Feedback mechanisms put in place in Q4 2012.2
Feedback mechanisms put in place in Q4 2012.3
Feedback mechanisms put in place in Q4 2010.4
Feedback mechanisms put in place in Q4 2013.
Community Development and Economic Impacts
At all times, we strive to leave a positive legacy for our host communities. This commitment to local socio-economic sustainability is demonstrated in the opportunities we create for local employment, the investments we make in community infrastructure projects and local scholarships, through facilitating local entrepreneurship, as well as capacity building and economic diversification projects. Socio-economic impact assessments have been completed or are currently being carried out at five of our sites and have been a useful tool for understanding challenges as well as opportunities within our host communities.
Local procurement and employment are key elements of the New Gold Community Engagement and Development Management Standards. We strive to hire locally, and engage local services and suppliers whenever it is practical. This is a powerful tool for creating direct and indirect economic benefits for local communities. In addition, hiring and purchasing locally makes good business sense. For example, at Cerro San Pedro, our safety vests and sun hats are sourced from an independent seamstress living in the community of Cerro de San Pedro. At Blackwater, the boxes we use for storing our core samples have been manufactured by a local First Nations business.
All New Gold sites continually seek opportunities to support community organizations and activities with a focus on skills development, and to encourage local entrepreneurship to promote diversified, sustainable economic prosperity. Our sponsorships and donations support education, health and wellness, economic diversification, job creation and food banks. At the corporate level, our Corporate Donations Committee meets on a quarterly basis to review requests, with a priority on health, environment, education and community development investments.
Economic Values Generated and Distributed ($ millions)1 – Includes all New Gold sites
Unaudited figures. Additional information on economic values, and site-specific economic value generated, are disclosed in our Annual Financial Review available on our website.2
Payments for materials, products and services. Also includes $20.6 million in exploration and business development expenditures. The decrease in the costs for 2013 was due to the extensive capital costs occurring in 2012 to move New Afton from a development project to an operational mine in mid-2012. In addition, in 2013 there were extensive capital expenditures at Blackwater related to exploration and infrastructure-related expenditures.3
A total of $2.4 million in property taxes and production taxes had been included in operating costs in 2012; these have been reclassified into payments to governments in 2012 and 2013.4
In 2012 New Gold had to make only one interest payment in relation to senior unsecured notes issued in 2012. In 2013, New Gold had to make a full year’s worth of payments.
Total income tax paid in calendar year 2013 was $31.7 million compared to $100.6 million in 2012. The main reasons for the reduction in income taxes paid was a result of lower profitability at the Cerro San Pedro Mine and the Mesquite Mine due to lower commodity prices as well as an increase in operating costs. Additionally, New Gold received non-recurring tax refunds in Australia as a result of amending prior year tax returns and also received non-recurring tax incentive credits in Canada all of which combined resulted in overall lower net income taxes paid in 2013.
By country: $32.5 million to Mexico, $6 million to Canada, and $0.46 million to the U.S. government. New Gold received tax refunds in Australia as a result of amending prior year tax returns.6
As defined in the GRI 3.1.EC1 Protocol. Expenditures for voluntary donations and investment of funds in the broader community where the target beneficiaries are external to the company. These include contributions to charities, NGOs and research institutes (unrelated to the Company’s commercial research and development), funds to support community infrastructure and direct costs of social programs. Include sites as well as corporate offices’ community investments.
Working with Aboriginal Communities
At New Gold we are proud of our positive relationships with Aboriginal communities. New Gold has not, in its history, recorded any incidents of violations of rights of Indigenous peoples at any of our sites. In Canada, we have been recognized for excellence in Aboriginal relations and as an advocate for entrepreneurship and economic development within Aboriginal communities.
Local Employment, Education, Training and Development
Education and training of local community members is key to our policy of striving to hire locally, and sourcing services and supplies from nearby. In communities where the required skill sets and/or work experience are in short supply, we provide funding for education and training. We also offer numerous apprenticeship programs to help young workers on their path to a career in mining. In British Columbia, for example, our support for the Underground Miner Training Program and founding support for the Aboriginal Mentoring & Training Association have resulted in many local Aboriginal residents beginning successful careers in the industry.