New Gold is committed to operating in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable way. Our success in doing so is equally instrumental to our long-term success as is our strong, low-cost production and industry-leading growth pipeline. We are creating value that is reflected in the well-being of our employees, the communities where we operate and the environment where we all live.
The company is proud to have been listed in the Maclean’s/Sustainalytics – Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada and in the Future 40 Most Responsible Corporate Leaders in Canada by Corporate Knights for the second consecutive year.
Health and Safety
The starting point for all our achievements, including in the areas of social responsibility, is the health and safety of our employees. We seek to ensure that they are safe in their workplaces and empowered in their career aspirations.
New Gold had an outstanding safety performance record in 2015, with among the lowest lost-time injury frequency and severity rates within the gold mining sector. Credit goes to our employees for this achievement. Across our sites, our approach is to conduct field-risk assessments that identify risks before they become accidents. This involves one-on-one coaching and individual risk assessments in which employees describe how they would perform a task with a view to making sure they do it the safe way. Combined with standard safety inspections, this qualitative approach has helped drive our safety incidents to record lows for the company.
Wherever New Gold operates – in all stages of mining activity, from early exploration and planning, to commercial mining operations through to eventual closure – the company is committed to excellence in environmental management. From the earliest site investigations, New Gold carries out comprehensive environmental studies to establish baseline measurements for flora, fauna, earth, air and water. During operations, the company promotes the efficient use of raw materials and resources and works to minimize environmental impacts and maintain robust monitoring programs. After mining activities are complete, New Gold’s objective is to restore the land to a level of productivity equivalent to its pre-mining capacity, wherever possible, or to an alternative land use determined through consultation with local stakeholders.
Highlights in 2015 included:
- Our New Afton Mine remains the only mine in North America with ISO 50001 Energy Management certification.
- We implemented our Independent Tailings Review Board for our Canadian operations, as part of our assurance program, and showed continued improvement of our systems against the Towards Sustainable Mining Tailings Management Protocol. One of the challenges faced by our industry is ensuring the confidence of our stakeholders in our tailings facilities. We believe that through constant communication, we can answer the questions that our host communities have every right to ask.
- Cerro San Pedro completed its reforestation program in the community of Monte Caldera.
Our track record of contributing to the lasting economic dynamism of local communities and creating trusting, mutually beneficial relations with First Nations and other community groups is a legacy we intend to build on. With our successful efforts at New Afton as our calling card, we are continuing to develop strong relationships with First Nations at our Rainy River and Blackwater projects. Our good relationships are based on trust and personal associations, and we are committed to respect local cultures and traditions as well as to understand their concerns and expectations.
Highlights in 2015 included:
- We reached agreements with principal First Nations at the Rainy River project and are working toward agreements with other important groups. We are seeking to ensure we make the most of opportunities for our partners in the areas of business opportunities and employment. These efforts are already bearing fruit through employment and contracts for First Nations community members as construction proceeds.
- Cerro San Pedro continued to work with communities as we move toward closure by continuing to support an entrepreneurship program and a local fair to encourage small business. We expect great results from our entrepreneurial program such that the local communities are left with a diverse and vibrant economy.
New Gold’s approach is to foster open communication with local residents and community leaders. We aim to partner in the long-term sustainability of those communities. The company believes that by thoroughly understanding the people, their histories, and their needs and aspirations, we can engage in a meaningful and sustainable development process.
New Gold’s commitment to responsible mining is part of our corporate vision and is set out in our Health, Safety, Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility (HSE & CSR) Policy. The HSE & CSR Committee of our Board of Directors provides oversight of our progress and adherence to the principles of our policy.
We are signatories of the United Nations Global Compact and our policies and practices are guided by its principles with reference to human rights, labour, environmental stewardship and anti-corruption. Our standards are based on best practices and international guidance such as ISO 14001 (Environmental), OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety), ISO 26000 (Social Responsibility) and the International Cyanide Management Code. As a member of the Mining Association of Canada (“MAC”), New Gold’s operations adopt the MAC’s Towards Sustainable Mining protocols.