Claudette Gouger, Community Manager for the Blackwater Project, made a presentation before council April 22, to discuss the New Gold Inc. project’s future.
Gouger said there are a number of exploration projects that are going to be looked into for deposits that could potentially be added to the project’s portfolio. New Gold’s Blackwater district is contained within a 1,100 square-kilometre area.
“We are actively looking in those other packages for other exploration targets,” she said. She said the conventional open-pit mine expects to employ 1,000 to 1,500 workers during construction and employ 500 workers during operation and has an estimated 17-year mine life. Blackwater’s estimated capital costs are $1.4-billion she said. “The price of gas has actually brought that down a bit, it used to be $1.8 (billion).”
New site discovered
Gouger said a high-grade mineralization was found close to the Blackwater deposit at the end of the 2014 exploration season and activity will start up in May-June to further sample soil and the deposit area with drilling commencing in July and Aug.
“That’s the whole purpose of your actual exploration program, is to find out what’s out there and we were lucky enough to find one,” she said.
As of 2013, New Gold has hired 65 per cent of its work force locally and 23 per cent was First Nation or of aboriginal descent Gouger said.
Mayor Rob MacDougall asked about agreements that might be in place to address the needs for skills training.
“We’ve been actively working with the regional district through their skills-gap analysis to try and get an idea and seeing how that information can be used to help shape training and education needs,” Gouger said. She said there might also be in-house training that takes place and New Gold will be partnering with CNC to try and make up for the loss of the Aboriginal Mentoring Association last year.
Environmental assessments of the mine site are still under review by the British Columbia Environmental Assessment office. She said the office will determine when open houses will take place in local areas of the region.