New Gold has passed a critical point in its approval process—getting the green light for its Environmental Assessment from the provincial government last week.
And with the federal Environmental Assessment approval having been granted earlier in January, it means work on the development of the mine will be stepping up in the next few weeks.
“It’s a very busy time for us,” said Kyle Stanfield, New Gold’s director of environment and sustainability, who noted he got the call from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change on Jan. 29 with the good news.
Minister Glen Murray indicated in his decision that no submissions were made under subsection 7.2 (3) of the Environmental Assessment Act requesting that the application, or matters that relate to the application, be referred to the Environmental Review Tribunal for a hearing and decision.
Murray gave his approval, citing a number of reasons for the decision, such as New Gold had complied with the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act.
He also noted the Environmental Assessment has been prepared in accordance with the approved terms of reference.
“It’s a huge milestone,” Stanfield enthused. “It really means that we have our two primary permits now in place, federal and provincial, and the subsequent permits can now fall into place. . . .
“It really paves the way for us to begin some of our initial work here in the coming period ahead,” he noted.
Stanfield also said New Gold’s Rainy River Project is the very first mining project to go through the new, more rigorous environmental assessment process.
“So we’re very proud of that and we’re humbled by it,” he remarked.
“And we’re going to stick to our commitments that we’ve made to the people in the district to make sure the project continues an even greater success for everyone,” he pledged.
“This is a very important milestone for both the Rainy River Project and our company,” echoed New Gold president and CEO Robert Gallagher.
“With the approvals now in place, we look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders to execute on the successful development of the Rainy River project,” he said.
“With its long life, robust production profile, and low cost, Rainy River is positioned to be a key asset for New Gold and to contribute significantly to the local communities for many years to come,” Gallagher added.
Meanwhile, Stanfield said the company is thrilled with the support it’s received from the district.
“We’re just extremely pleased that the whole community and district has been so supportive of the development over the last 33 months of this EA process,” he remarked.
“It’s been a long time going through, now for us to begin the implementation piece over the coming weeks and months ahead is so important for us.”
Stanfield said district residents likely will see more activity in the area soon.
“We’ve certainly been very busy with our contractors and suppliers to make sure that they are ready,” he explained.
“I know that that effort to really get that mobilization started is underway.
“The exciting part now is we’re actually going to start to see activity start to ramp up and the employment level start to kick in,” he enthused.
Stanfield noted they’re now working to co-ordinate materials and people.
“That’s going to be our focus right now—making sure that we ramp up the activity in a manner that makes sure we meet our commitments of the environmental assessment process,” he explained, adding everything won’t happen at once.
“It’s going to be a staged process, and that means that we give ourselves optionality and make sure that we do the undertaking in a manner that’s consistent fully with the environmental assessment process,” he stressed.
New Gold previously indicated the construction period for the mine will be about two years—and Stanfield said they are on track for that.
“The staff within the district has gone up significantly,” he noted.
“Our office in Emo is bursting at the seams with new staff and people are coming back from western Canada, some of them coming back out of work, and we’re looking forward to getting them on board and having them become part of that whole process.
“It’s very exciting,” Stanfield enthused, adding people who are seeking employment are encouraged to check out New Gold’s website for job postings.
“Thank you to the residents of the district for being understanding of the length of the process,” Stanfield said.
“It’s amazing to count back how long it’s been going for.
“For all of us, it’s been a long wait, and now really the next chapter begins in terms of getting [the mine] started,” he noted.
“I really want everyone to know how thankful we are,” Stanfield reiterated.
“This is something we believe is going to bring the district together, and Northern Ontario together, at a much-needed time economically.”