Forging the Path Forward

2022 ESG Report


New Gold’s Tailings Facilities

New Gold’s operating sites—New Afton and Rainy River—have a total of three active tailings facilities, in addition to an inactive tailings facility at New Afton. More information about these tailings facilities can be found below.

Environmental Report (PDF)

Tailings Management at New Gold

New Gold’s tailings management practices include the following important features:

DesignThe designs for New Gold’s tailings facilities are reviewed and updated throughout the construction and operations phases and include considerations for closure of each facility. The design of tailings facilities takes into account the climatic and ground conditions at each site. For example, our tailings facilities are designed to consider significant natural events, such as the probable maximum flood, so that the facilities are safe in the event of extreme weather or seismic events.
Financial securityEach site maintains financial security for the closure and post-closure monitoring of its tailings facilities. The financial security is based on approved closure plans, which are developed with stakeholder input.
Operations practices
Each site has an operations, maintenance and surveillance manual (OMS Manual), which sets out, among other things, how the site’s tailings facilities will be operated and maintained to ensure that they function in accordance with their respective design performance objectives, as well as regulatory and corporate policy obligations.
Risk assessmentsEach site conducts regular risk reviews that include tailings-related risks, the key results of which are reported to corporate management at least annually.
Engineer of RecordEach site has appointed a qualified external professional engineer and their firm to be the Engineer of Record for its tailings facilities.
Surveillance technologySites use surveillance systems, such as piezometers, inclinometers, remote sensing and other technologies to monitor tailings dams and water levels. The OMS Manual sets out early-warning trigger and alert levels, facilitating early identification and management of potential dam stability concerns.
Inspections by employeesThe Company’s tailings facilities are regularly inspected by trained New Gold employees—sometimes as frequently as several times a day.
Dam safety inspectionsFormal dam safety inspections are conducted at least annually by the Engineer of Record. Recommendations made by the Engineer of Record are tracked to ensure follow-through by all employees.
Dam safety reviewsEach facility is subject to detailed third-party external dam safety reviews every five years, comprising a review of the design basis, construction and performance.
Independent reviewsThe Company has an ITRB to provide independent, expert advice regarding the technical aspects of our tailings facilities. The ITRB meets at least twice per year to review information about tailings management practices at each facility.
Emergency preparednessEach site has a detailed Emergency Response Plan, which is regularly reviewed and updated. The plans are also tested by employees to ensure response measures are effective and applicable. 

Tailings Facilities Details

New Afton
Tailings Storage
Pothook Pit
Tailings Storage
Historic Afton
Tailings Storage
Afton Pit Tailings Storage Facility (APTSF)Tailings Facility
Tailings facilityNATSF consists of five starter dams that have now joined into one continuous structure. All dams reached their ultimate height in 2021.  PHTSF consists of one dam. The TSF is primarily used for tailings deposition during upset mill conditions. HATSF consists of two dams. Construction ceased in 1991.Open pitTMA West Dam 5, TMA South Dam and Dam (internal); TMA North Dam, TMA West Dam 4 and TMA South Dam
Location50.648308° N, 120.509096° W50.653656° N, 120.501666° W50.65000° N, 120.533333° W50.66129° N, 120.5127° W48.869052° N, 94.060457° W
Construction methodDownstream and centrelineDownstreamDownstreamOpen pit backfillCentreline raises for the TMA perimeter dams, which include TMA South Dam, TMA West Dam and TMA North Dam
Design standardCDA’s Dam Safety GuidelinesCDA’s Dam Safety GuidelinesCDA’s Dam Safety GuidelinesCDA’s Dam Safety GuidelinesCDA’s Dam Safety Guidelines, Ontario Mining Association
StatusActiveActiveUnder maintenance and careActiveActive
Current maximum height56 m10 m70 mOpen pit24 m at South Dam
Current storage impoundment volume32.4M m³2.5M m³27M m³0.2M tonnes32M m³
Most recent dam safety inspectionOctober 2022October 2022October 2022October 2022June 2022
Most recent dam safety review2017 12017 12018 1The APTSF is a retrofitted open pit. It officially became a tailings storage facility in 2022. Reviews will be held every five years with the next in 2027. 2June 2021
Most recent ITRB and tailings reviewOctober 2022October 2022October 2022October 2022October 2022
Hazard potential 1Extreme 3Very High 3Extreme 3High 3Extreme 3, 4

1 As agreed with all relevant Ministries, New Afton will complete the dam safety review for NATSF, PHTSF and HATSF in 2023 on account of the third party review of the C-Zone stabilization design conducted in 2022..

2 Dam safety reviews are required every 5 years after start up of the facility. All regulatory requirements to permit and commence deposition in the APTSF have been completed in 2022. Monthly quantifiable performance objective and trigger action response plan reviews are performed.

3 In accordance with CDA Dam Safety Guidelines, Table 2-1 Dam Classification. Dam classification considers the risks posed by the structures, such as the population at risk and incremental losses—loss of life, environmental and cultural values, and infrastructure and economics.

4 Using the Ontario Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act (LRIA) “Using the Ontario Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act (LRIA) “Classification and inflow design flood criteria.” This is generally equivalent to a CDA consequence of Extreme.

MAC TSM Tailings Management Protocol Indicators

In 2022, New Afton self-assessed AAA scores on all five indicators and Rainy River achieved three A scores on it’s external verification.