The International Council on Mining and Metals 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 encompassing both process materials and product stewardship. We are guided by the International Council on Mining and Metals’ 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 – as is demonstrated in our management of water, waste, energy and materials.
Two materials critical to our operations are explosives and cyanide. All our operations use explosives and track their usage with care. Three operations (Cerro San Pedro, Mesquite and Peak Mines) consume cyanide, and at those operations its responsible use and management are paramount. In 2012, our sites collectively consumed approximately 13,880 tonnes of explosives (ammonium nitrate and ammonium nitrate emulsion) and 9,700 tonnes of sodium cyanide.
We consume a significant amount of lime (about 90,000 tonnes in 2012) at Mesquite and Cerro San Pedro. In our underground operations, Peak Mines and New Afton, consumables of significance are cement (approximately 17,350 tonnes in 2012) and steel (approximately 5,290 tonnes in 2012).
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. Our operating mines practice tire recycling where practical. We recycled approximately 513 tonnes of tires in 2012.
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.
Under the ICMC, we committed to the certification of our three cyanide-consuming operations within a three-year period. In 2011, Mesquite achieved initial certification, and in 2012 received full certification. In 2013, Cerro San Pedro and Peak Mines will proceed to certification by meeting the objectives identified in their pre-certification audits.
2012 mortality from cyanide exposure has decreased from 2011. Two wildlife deaths from cyanide exposure were reported at New Gold sites in 2012: an egret at Mesquite and a wild boar at Cerro San Pedro.
Wildlife Mortalities from Cyanide Exposure1
1 No mortalities were of at-risk species.
Non-Process Waste Recycled
Recycling of non-process waste is an essential part of sound environmental management, and is practised at all New Gold sites. In 2012, we recycled approximately 513 tonnes of used tires and increased the recycling of paper, plastic and metals by 60% from approximately 750 tonnes in 2011 to approximately 1,260 tonnes in 2012.Paper, Plastic, Metals and Other (tonnes)
Oil and Lubricants (000s of litres)
The metals we produce in our operations are sold to reputable companies, and we do not identify social or environmental risks associated with these transactions. Nonetheless, 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. In 2012, we compared our practices against the Conflict-Free Gold Standard released in late 2012 (www.gold.org) and have implemented an action plan for the 2013 reporting year. We expect to report that we conform to the Conflict-Free Gold Standard by the second quarter of 2014.