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.
|Consumables in tonnes||2012||2013|
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.
Wildlife Mortalities from Cyanide Exposure1
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 (www.gold.org) 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.