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Waste Management

As with any mining activity, New Gold’s operations generate process wastes. Process waste includes rock not containing ore, which must be removed and disposed in a safe manner in order to access the mineralized ore. It also includes the remnant leach piles that are left after metals have been extracted, or the tailings that are left after the gold and copper mineral has been extracted.

Recycling of non-process waste is an essential part of good environmental management, and is practiced at all New Gold sites. Typically, recycled materials include used oils and lubricants, tires, scrap metal, plastics, aluminum, cardboard, wood materials and batteries. At Mesquite, we expect to reuse the leach pad materials once the mine is closed as these will be used as cover material by the nearby Los Angeles County Sanitation District.

Performance in 2013

In 2013, we recycled 35% more tires, paper, plastic and metals, and recycled 11.5% more oils and lubricants across the Company. We continue to compost materials from the cafeteria at Cerro San Pedro: in 2013, we composted 3.7 tonnes of material at the site, a significant increase from about half a tonne in 2012.

Non-Process Waste Recycled

Materials Recycled 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Paper, Plastic, Metals and Other (tonnes) 483.0 686.7 599.6 752.4 1,259.1 1,706.0
Oil and Lubricants (000s litres) 245.8 563.1 654.2 527.2 624.8 696.9
Tires (tonnes) Not reported Not reported Not reported Not reported 512.9 692.0

Process Waste

Waste Types 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Waste Rock (000s tonnes)1 14,517 40,408 52,570 51,266 46,673 47,715
Leach Piles – ready for reclamation (tonnes)
Tailings (000s tonnes)2 769 794 747 734 2,665 4,736

The waste rock reported by Peak Mines and New Afton refers only to materials brought to the surface. During late 2011 and early 2012 additional waste rock was brought to the surface to assist with rebuilding the tailings storage facility at Peak Mines.


Tailings figures up to 2011 are from Peak Mines only; from June 2012 they include the New Afton Mine.

Regarding process waste, we continue to produce waste rock at all operations and tailings at Peak and New Afton. None of our operating leach piles – which are present at Cerro San Pedro and Mesquite Mines – are considered currently ready for reclamation. A clear increase in the generation of tailings in 2013 is due to this being the first full year of operations and at New Afton.