At council on January 20, Bob Gallagher, president and CEO of New Gold, announced plans to defer the construction of the Blackwater mine so that now its operational date will be in 2019 instead of 2017.
The price of gold has dropped and New Gold is focusing on their other projects which will cost less.
“Certainly we all wish that things would go as quick as possible but on the other hand it gives us a great opportunity as a community to get ready,” said Vanderhoof mayor Gerry Thiessen. “I think that we as a community want to know as much as we can about New Gold’s plans to make sure that we are as prepared as we can be. We need to make sure that we have people educated, everything from welders, to camp cooks or truck drivers.”
“Building in a low price environment” is something Gallagher mentioned to council and that means keeping costs low for now since this is “not an environment to be raising money in, but if we get a strong turn around in gold price that date could accelerate.”
The Blackwater project, located south of Vanderhoof, is still very much on New Gold’s agenda though. The mine is expected to cost almost $2 billion but is nearly twice as large as their other mine project, Rainy River, so is estimated to hold something like 8 million ounces of gold.
The project will also create about 500 permanent jobs in the region. But not until it’s finished, five years from now. For this summer, the mine will keep five or six rigs in operation and continue with their exploration phase.
The mine is completing all of its permits including environmental assessments in the interim.