When I review our operating performance for the year, I am impressed by what our employees achieved across the board, from record-high production, to an industry-leading safety record, to impressive results for value creation through business improvements. They can be deservedly proud of their achievements.
We coupled record-high gold production with a safety record that we believe is among the best in the industry. We can also be proud of our strong environmental record. Our best-practices approach, combined with our commitment to good, mutually beneficial relations with local communities and First Nations, reinforces public confidence in our operations.
Our efforts to create value through business improvements are also paying off. At the corporate level, we set up a cost-optimization initiative that has already resulted in the identification of millions of dollars in savings from such measures as better management of our supply chain. We’ve also identified opportunities for additional savings over the next few years through better mine sequencing and throughput optimization.
At the same time, our employees are taking a lot of ownership over business improvement. They are communicating its importance and getting people energized about it. For my part, I bring a passion to business improvement that I learned working as a youth at my grandfather’s construction business in the gold district of California. The company was quite small, and failing to capitalize on every opportunity to ensure and improve the operational execution of any contract could result in little or no profit being realized.
At New Gold, we are already a lean company, with very hard-working employees. But frequent, holistic examinations of the way we do things enable significant improvements. It’s simple: if you see a bottleneck or problem with something, take it apart and put it back together in order to make it work better, eliminating any identified constraints to the value chain in the process of doing so. My aim is to encourage every employee to continue to come to work every day looking for better ways to do things.
Our efforts are bearing fruit. In 2015, our New Afton team completed a mill expansion ahead of schedule and under budget. All sites made very significant improvements to operational efficiency in general and did an excellent job managing costs. Congratulations to everyone involved.
2016 promises to be another exciting year for New Gold. We expect another strong production performance with continued low costs, healthy operating margins and strong cash flow generation. Personally, I will continue to benefit from the guidance of our President and CEO, Bob Gallagher, before and after his retirement in June, particularly with regard to further building our good relations with First Nations near our Rainy River and Blackwater projects.
Across our sites, we will continue to focus on delivering against guidance, generating strong cash flows and looking for operating efficiencies and cost savings. Together, these efforts help position New Gold to create value for shareholders through developing our growth pipeline.