Water management is a prime concern for any mining or processing operation and for its neighbours. Our objective, at every New Gold mine or development property, is to minimize water use through recycling, reuse and treatment, applying efficient designs and state of the art technologies. All of our mine sites operate in a closed circuit, with no water discharges to the environment.
At all of our mining operations, rainwater is scarce. Except for New Afton, which sources water from a large surface water supply, New Gold sites source their water from groundwater wells. Most of the water consumed in our sites is used in tailings and the processing of ore. We also require water for dust control on mine haul roads, and minimize evaporative loss on roads through the use of dust suppressants.
Raw Process Water Use and Water Efficiency – All Sites
|Estimated Process Water Use||2012||2011||2010|
|Raw Process Water (cubic metres)||5,785,0291||4,607,260||3,514,884|
|Raw Process Water (cubic metres) per Tonnes of Ore Processed||0.16||0.15||0.14|
We have slightly increased the consumption of raw water per tonne of ore processed over the last three years. In 2012, New Afton gathered water for mill start-up operations and, like Peak, New Afton uses flotation to process ore, which consumes more water than the heap leach processes at other sites. We continue to look for opportunities to reduce raw water consumption and increase water recycling at all sites.Raw Water (cubic metres) per tonne of ore processed
1 Includes approximately 602,436 cubic metres surface water, 4,516,000 cubic metres groundwater, and 666,594 cubic metres municipal water and other water utilities. Does not include rainwater.
We recognize that corporate-wide raw water efficiency (raw process water used per amount of ore processed) has declined over the last three years. During 2012, New Afton gathered water for mill start-up of operations, which increased the water consumption at that site. Like Peak Mines, New Afton uses flotation to process ore, which consumes more water than the heap leach processes in place at Cerro San Pedro and Mesquite.
We continue to look for opportunities to reduce the raw water consumption and increase water recycling at all sites. In 2012, we estimate we recycled approximately 27.3 million cubic metres of process water – almost five times the amount of raw water we withdrew from natural sources – and we used approximately 226,000 cubic metres of rainwater in our sites. We also use treated domestic wastewater wherever possible. At Cerro San Pedro, we expect to complete the evaluation of the pilot project to utilize treated city wastewater in the leach pads, which would significantly reduce groundwater use at the mine.