Mining has come back to British Columbia in a big way as the New Afton Mine celebrates its grand opening. The mine is the second new mine to open in as many years in the province.
More than 400 people are currently employed at the New Afton Mine. From the start of mine development, New Gold has actively recruited people from the local Kamloops area; 75 percent of the New Afton workforce has been hired locally, including more than 100 BC Aboriginal Mine Training Association candidates.
In 2010 government signed an Economic and Community Development Agreement with the Secwepemc Nation, which will share mineral-tax revenue generated by the mine. The agreement, one of the first in Canada, places a strong focus on community development to help First Nations achieve their social and economic goals.
New Gold is also the winner of the 2011 Mining and Sustainability Award. This award, which recognizes their work on the New Afton project, is a joint initiative of the Mining Association of British Columbia and the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas, and recognizes companies, communities, First Nations, non-governmental organizations, government agencies and individuals committed to advancing and promoting sustainable development in the B.C. mining sector. New Gold is being honoured for their ongoing commitment to health and safety, community engagement, the environment, advance reclamation and conservation during the course of the project.
Premier Christy Clark -
"Our government made a commitment as part of the BC Jobs Plan to open or expand 17 mines by 2015 and today's announcement is proof that our plan is working and we are delivering. The mining sector is truly enjoying a renaissance in our province and significantly contributes revenues to the government which allows us to invest in our roads, highways, schools and hospitals.
"I would like to congratulate New Gold on the New Afton development and their investment in Kamloops and our province. Today is a good day for British Columbia."
Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas and Minister Responsible for Housing Rich Coleman -
"Congratulations to New Gold and its employees on the opening of the New Afton Mine and on winning the 2011 Mining and Sustainability Award. This is an exciting time to be a part of the mining industry in B.C. New Afton is the latest example of how our government is working with industry to increase investment and expand job creation to build a better quality of life for future generations while making sure sustainable practices are encouraged and rewarded."
Minister of Environment Terry Lake -
"New Afton Mine is an award-winning example of sustainable and responsible mining practices giving British Columbians further proof that economic growth doesn't have to happen at the expense of our environment. This ensures long-term benefits for all British Columbians as we continue to build a vital economic future we can all share."
Karina Brino, president and CEO, Mining Association of BC -
"We would like to congratulate New Gold on the opening of the second mine in as many years here in British Columbia. The Mining Association of BC is honoured to recognize the contribution made here in sustainable mining and towards a positive future in the mining industry."
Why It Matters:
Mining contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue that helps pay for government services like health care and education. (More than $400 million estimated for 2011.)
In 2011, more than 29,000 people were employed in the minerals economy in over 50 B.C. communities.
- The opening of New Afton marks the second new major metals mine to open in the province since 1998.
- New Afton is an underground gold, copper and silver mine, developed by New Gold at a cost of $760 million and is expected to yield an average of 85,000 ounces of gold and 75 million pounds of copper annually over its 12-year mine life.
- Under the BC Jobs Plan, two new mines have begun production, one is under construction, and three more have received permits with construction expected to start this year. Five mine expansions have been permitted.
New Afton http://www.newgold.com/Home/default.aspx
To read The BC Jobs Plan: One-year Update: www.bcjobsplan.ca
Ministry of Energy and Mines