New Gold said in a company-issued press release yesterday that it is planning to gradually ramp up its operations at its Rainy River mine site while continuing to monitor updates and guidelines from Federal and Provincial agencies.
The company, which has its Rainy River mine site located north of Barwick, says that effective 7 a.m. on Friday (April 3) that it will begin a ramp-up of operations, utilizing just local employees from within northwestern Ontario at this stage.
New Gold also “will begin accepting deliveries of materials again as of the April 3, 2020,” the press release noted.
The company had previously temporarily suspended operations at its Rainy River mine site for a period of two weeks, beginning March 20, so that its local workforce could follow the 14-day period of self-isolation, as recommended by federal and provincial authorities, relating to travel outside Canada as frequent border crossing is a common practice in the region.
According to New Gold, approximately 70 per cent of the workforce at its Rainy River mine is made up of local residents and making frequent, short trips across the border to the local Minnesota communities is a common practice within the region.
The suspension was to be assessed over the 14-day period to determine when full or partial operations could be resumed in the safest possible environment for New Gold's employees. The company didn't anticipate making any adjustments to annual guidance for Rainy River.
During those two weeks, the Rainy River mine maintained a minimum crew to monitor and maintain essential activities, ensure there is no impact to the environment and fully sanitized the mine site, camp, and mobile and fixed equipment to ensure the safest possible environment for its employees when operations resumed.
New Gold also said it would continue to work on optimizing its plans for transport and employee accommodation to reflect the principals of social distancing and other guidance to prevent COVID-19.
The company says it has a comprehensive COVID-19 response plan in place and is monitoring the situation closely. Currently, there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at any of its sites. The health and safety of their workforce and our communities, they say, remains their number one concern and they will support all initiatives that align with that objective.
New Gold is a Canadian-focused intermediate gold mining company with a portfolio of two core producing assets in Canada—the Rainy River and New Afton Mines, as well as the 100 per cent owned Blackwater development project.
The company also operates the Cerro San Pedro Mine in Mexico (in reclamation). New Gold's vision is “to build a leading diversified intermediate gold company based in Canada that is committed to environment and social responsibility.”