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Gold Mining Company fined $150,000 for Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) Violations

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Gold Mining Company fined $150,000 for Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) Violations

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change

Convicted - New Gold Inc.

Location - Rainey River, On

Description of Offence -  The convictions relate to failing to comply with conditions of an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) issued by the ministry.

Date of Offence - During the period beginning on or about July 26, 2016 and ending on or about August 2, 2016.

Date of Conviction - November 9, 2017

Penalty Imposed - New Gold Inc. was convicted of two offences under the Environmental Protection Act, and fined $150,000 plus $37,500 victim fine surcharge (VFS) with 3 months to pay.

Background - 

  • New Gold Inc. (New Gold) is a gold mining company with operations in several countries and headquartered in Toronto.
  • At the time of the offences, New Gold was constructing a gold mine referred to as the Rainy River Project in Rainy River, Ontario.
  • In May 2015 the ministry issued an ECA for the construction of a sewage works at the project site.
  • The ECA stipulates acceptable discharge testing levels for daily concentration of un-ionized ammonia from in-pit sumps. A condition of the ECA also stipulates that non-compliance of the maximum daily limit is deemed to occur when any single grab sample analyzed exceeds the corresponding prescribed daily concentration limit. The ECA also requires that any exceedances be reported to the ministry orally as soon as reasonably possible, and in writing within seven days.
  • On July 22, 2016, New Gold staff collected pre-discharge samples from In-Pit Sump 3. On July 26, 2016, an independent lab provided a draft analysis indicating thatthe concentration of un-ionized ammonia exceeded the daily maximum discharge limit. However, on July 26, 2016, New Gold discharged the sump continuously until July 29, 2016, releasing approximately 19 million litres of effluent. The exceedance was confirmed by a lab report on July 29, 2016.
  • On July 20, 2016, New Gold took a sample of discharge from In-Pit Sump 4. On July 22, 2016, an independent lab provided a draft analysis indicating that  the concentration of un-ionized ammonia exceeded the daily maximum discharge limit. On July 26, 2016, New Gold received the lab's final report confirming the exceedance, but failed to orally notify the ministry until eight days later on August 3, 2016.
  • The incidents were referred to the ministry's Investigations and Enforcement branch resulting in charges laid and eventually two convictions.

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