The following description of New Gold Inc.'s Blackwater Gold Project is based on the proposed
Project description as outlined in the Approved Application Information Requirements dated May
2014 and New Gold's Application for Environmental Assessment Certificate report.
The Project is a proposal to conduct gold and silver extraction from the Blackwater deposit
situated along the northern foothills of Mt. Davidson in the Nechako Plateau, approximately 110
kilometres southwest of Vanderhoof, B.C. or approximately 160 kilometres southwest of Prince
George, B.C. Exploration for the Project, in May 2012, involved drilling 449 holes for 160,000
metres, and identifying a gold and silver resource that is estimated to yield 507,000 ounces of gold
and 2,039,000 ounces of silver (annual average production) during the estimated 17 years of
operation. Extraction and recovery would be completed using whole ore leaching with cyanide as
the preferred method. Processing would occur in a mill to be constructed north of the open pit
mine. It is estimated that the mill would process 361 million tonnes (Mt) of ore, 735 Mt of waste
rock, and 99 Mt of overburden (1,195 Mt of total material.) The mine would also require a tailings
storage facility where supplementary fresh water requirements would be met by pumping in water
from Tatelkuz Lake and where tailings would be treated by a sulphur dioxide (SO2) / air treatment
plant. The proposed mine plan estimates that 1,200 to 1,500 workers would be required during
the construction period and up to 595 full time workers to operate the mine.
The Project mine site would occupy a surface area of approximately 3,300 hectares and is located
within a group of 69 mineral claims. The Project includes a proposed 133 km transmission line and
new and upgraded access roads that could directly affect streams and riparian zones in the area.
The transmission line passes through Nadleh Whut’en Territory. The
transmission line right of way (ROW) would be 40 metres wide on average. Furthermore, the mine
site is on top of, and on both sides of, the Nechako River, which flows down to, and along and
through Nadleh Whut’en Territory.
According to the Application, the following are the economic estimates of the construction and
During construction, as many as 1,500 workers may be at the work site at peak. The
on-site construction workforce would work 10-hour shifts, seven days a week. There would be an
on-site work camp with the capacity to accommodate 1,500 workers. Workers would be
transported to the site by air or by bus, to and from Vanderhoof.
Total spending on labour would amount to $420.8 million, with 70 per cent of the labour coming
from various locations in B.C. Project construction would directly involve purchasing goods and
services worth $998 million from various B.C. businesses. Overall, total purchases of construction
labour, goods, and services in B.C. would amount to $1,294 million; this represents 88 per cent of
total Project costs (excluding contingencies). The other 12 per cent, consisting largely of
mechanical equipment, structural steel, and some construction management, would be imported
from outside B.C.
During operations, on average, the mine would employ about 495 people annually. Of these, 72
per cent would be employed in mining operations, 21 per cent in processing, and 7 per cent in
G&A (general and administrative) positions. About 10 per cent would be mine managers and
superintendents. Operations would be year-round. The mine would operate on two 12-hour shifts,
seven days a week, 355 days per year. Two shifts of 120 workers each would be on site at any
given time. Workers would be bussed to and from the mine to Vanderhoof, and charter aircraft
would transport any non-regional workers back to designated locations in B.C. (e.g., Vancouver