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Materials Stewardship

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) defines “Materials Stewardship” as the process of responsibly providing materials, and supervising material flows in order to create maximum societal value with minimum impact on humans and the environment. We are guided by ICMM’s extensive work on Materials Stewardship, in both the good management of process materials and product stewardship. At New Gold, our practices and systems ensure the adequate management of process materials and maximizing their efficient use is a consideration during all of our activities – as is demonstrated in our management of water, waste, and energy.

Two materials critical to our operations and often associated with communities’ concerns are explosives and cyanide. All our operations use explosives and track their usage with great care. Three operations (Cerro San Pedro, Mesquite and Peak Mines) use cyanide. At those operations the responsible use and management of cyanide are of critical importance. A discussion on how we manage cyanide is further below.

Performance in 2013

In 2013, our sites collectively consumed approximately 13,130 tonnes of explosives (ammonium nitrate and ammonium nitrate emulsion), a slight decrease from 13,888 tonnes in 2012. In 2013 we used 11,460 tonnes of sodium cyanide, an increase from 9,700 tonnes in 2012, as a result of changes in operational requirements due to normal variations in ore quality, particularly at the Cerro San Pedro Mine.

We consume a significant amount of lime (about 90,000 tonnes in 2012 and 108,700 tonnes in 2013) at our open pit mines Mesquite and Cerro San Pedro for pH control. In our underground operations, Peak Mines and New Afton, consumables of significance are cement (approximately 17,350 tonnes in 2012 and 9,812 tonnes in 2013) and steel (approximately 5,290 tonnes in 2012 and 5,850 tonnes in 2013) for ground support.

For all mine sites, tires are consumed in large quantities, from common road vehicles to large haul truck tires. In 2012, we purchased 833 tonnes of new tires across all sites. In 2013 we purchased approximately 680 tonnes of tires. Our operating mines practice tire recycling where practical. We recycled approximately 692 tonnes of tires in 2013, a 35% increase from about 513 tonnes in 2012.

Material Consumables

Consumables in tonnes 2012 2013
Explosives1 13,878 13,130
Sodium cyanide 9,700 11,460
Lime 90,000 108,700
Cement 17,350 9,812
Steel2 5,290 5,850
Tires 833 680

Ammonium nitrate and Ammonium nitrate emulsion


Includes mesh, gridding media, bolts and plates only

Cyanide Management

While cyanide has inherent toxic properties, its safe transport, handling, use and destruction are well understood and manageable. All three New Gold operations that use cyanide in the gold extraction process follow procedures that are strictly controlled for the safety of personnel and the environment. In October 2010, New Gold was accepted by the International Cyanide Management Institute as a signatory to the International Cyanide Management Code (ICMC), the international benchmark for transporting, storing and using cyanide. ICMC is a voluntary initiative for the gold mining industry and the producers and transporters of the cyanide used in gold mining and is intended to complement an operation’s existing regulatory requirements.

Performance in 2013

Under the ICMC, we committed to the certification of our three cyanide-using operations. To date, the Mesquite Mine has been certified and both Peak and Cerro San Pedro Mines have been recommended by auditors as “substantially compliant”. We expect both to achieve full certification in 2014. The New Afton Mine does not use cyanide in the gold extraction process.

Significant efforts and resources have been put towards meeting ICMC requirements at New Gold. While we do work hard to avoid wildlife exposure to cyanide present in our facilities, in 2013 mortality from cyanide exposure included three mammals and two birds.

Wildlife Mortalities from Cyanide Exposure1

Wildlife 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Birds 3 5 4 1 2
Mammals 4 2 1 3
Amphibians 8
Total 15 5 0 6 2 5

No cyanide-related mortalities were of at-risk species.

Conflict-Free Gold

At New Gold, we produce gold in a way that does not cause, support or benefit unlawful conflict, or contribute to serious human rights abuses or breaches of international law. We are a committed member of the World Gold Council ( and support its efforts to eliminate unethical gold production and to increase transparency of gold mining companies. The Conflict-Free Gold Standard was released in late 2012 and is an industry-led approach to combat the potential misuse of mined gold to fund armed conflict.

In 2013 we completed the implementation of an action plan to ensure we comply with all the requirements of the new standard. Cerro San Pedro is the only New Gold mine considered to be in a ‘conflict-affected or high-risk’ area, as determined by the Heidelberg Conflict Barometer, and therefore we carried out a detailed comparison of our practices against the Conflict-Free Gold Standard. We were provided with a statement of assurance from Ernst &Young that shows we are compliant with the Standard.