Construction on New Gold’s Blackwater Project, a proposed open pit gold and silver mine approximately 110 km southwest of Vanderhoof, is expected to being in 2018.
Once developed, the proposed mine is expected to produce more gold than all other New Gold operations combined.
Claudette Gouger, Community Manager for the Blackwater Project, has recently provided an updated on the project to the Village of Burns Lake and the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako.
Gouger said the Blackwater Project will hire from 1000 to 1500 people during construction, which is expected to take place from 2018 to 2020. In addition, 500 full-time workers are expected to operate the mine from 2020 to 2037.
Gouger explained that although New Gold doesn’t have a target of how many locals and First Nations workers to hire, they have a commitment to local hiring and contracting.
In one of New Gold’s operations, the New Afton mine, which is located west of Kamloops, over 90 per cent of the workers are locals, and 23-25 per cent are First Nations.
The Blackwater Project’s original construction start date was 2015, and has since been moved to 2018.
Gouger said the delay was because New Gold decided to focus on a different mine first, the Rainy River Project, a mine in Northwestern Ontario.
“We prefer the company [New Gold] to finance our projects internally,” she explained. “When the Rainy River is complete, that revenue stream will come to offset the cost of developing Blackwater.”
“We don’t usually develop two mines at the same time,” she added.
Although construction on the Blackwater Project is expected to start in 2018, pre-construction activities such as engineering of the road and transmission line could occur in 2017.
People interested in working for New Gold can upload their resume on their website www.newgold.com. Resumes are kept on file for six months.
“When we move into construction, we will be holding information sessions and hiring fairs because of the volume of people we’re going to need,” said Gouger.
The Blackwater Project is currently in its environmental assessment and permitting phase. Should the project be granted an environmental assessment certificate, there would be a number of additional permits that would be required for construction.
The mine is expected to be fully certified in late 2016/early 2017.
Meanwhile, Gouger said the Blackwater Project continues to partner with communities to help prepare local contractors and workers for potential construction and operation opportunities.
“We have a contractor database in the office and we have plans to offer contractor boot camps, and also working with local companies that have experience to learn best practices,” she said. “We will be looking to gain some insight from our local contractors.”
Gouger said the project has already been making significant contributions to the region. Since 2012, the Blackwater Project has hired over 550 workers and has spent over $240 million on goods and services in the region.
The project would represent an annual average production of 507,000 ounces of gold and 2,039,000 ounces of silver during 17 years of operations.
New Gold is an intermediate gold mining company based in Vancouver with operations worldwide including Australia, Mexico, Chile and Canada.