New Gold Sustainability image

At New Gold, we integrate high, internationally-recognized standards of corporate responsibility into our planning and decision making at every stage of our activities. New Gold achieved excellent results in its corporate responsibility performance during 2009 and we are proud to have met or exceeded the highest standards, whether regulatory or internationally recognized measures, at each of our operations.

At the corporate level, we further demonstrated our commitment to corporate responsibility in 2009 by becoming a business partner of the United Nations Global Compact, which commits participants to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. We are also a member of a group of like-minded companies belonging to Canadian Business for Social Responsibility, a non-profit, member-led and globally recognized organization for corporate responsibility. We believe in documenting our sustainability performance in a transparent, easily measurable fashion. With that in mind, we are publishing our second annual Sustainability Report this year, which provides metrics to measure our progress in subsequent reports in the years ahead.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

At New Gold, we believe that the common denominator of excellent, highly productive mining operations is a "safety-committed" work culture. While our overall injury frequency rate declined from 2008, we nevertheless experienced an increase in lost-time injuries from six in 2008 to eight in 2009. Together, we will work to achieve our target of zero harm with a safety-committed culture that includes everyone, from head office to site employees, suppliers and contractors.

Highlights for the year included three major safety awards at our operations:

  • The Mesquite Mine in California won a respected American Red Cross "Real Heroes" Award giving regional recognition to its safety training initiatives.
  • Cerro San Pedro in Mexico received the "Casco de Plata" (Silver Hardhat) safety award of the Mexican Chamber of Mines for the second consecutive year for the best safety performance in an open pit mine operation of its size.
  • The New Afton Mine rescue team participated in the BC Provincial mine rescue competition in June and won the prestigious "Best in Obstacle & Recovery" award for an underground team.

ENVIRONMENT

At New Gold, we apply sound environmental policies throughout the mining life cycle. We conduct our activities, from exploration and development, to operation, and finally to mine closure and rehabilitation, with an understanding of our impact on the environment and a commitment to minimizing it. From the earliest stage of project investigation, we carry out environmental studies to enable us to properly monitor and manage our environmental practices. We take into account the concerns of our stakeholders to ensure that our activities address these concerns and give them appropriate priority. We are increasingly cognizant of the need to maximize our energy efficiency and to reduce our carbon footprint. Similarly, we are committed to reducing our material consumption through efficient use, reuse and recycling practices.

  • In 2009, Cerro San Pedro's environmental management system was recertified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as being ISO 14001:2004 compliant.
  • Mesquite underwent a comprehensive audit of its energy consumption, which also included a qualitative calculation of its greenhouse gas (GHS) emissions. This audit has identified opportunities for innovative energy-saving projects.
  • In 2009, Peak adopted a Climate Change and Energy Policy that will guide its decision-making on the issues of greenhouse gas emissions and energy use. An Energy Savings Action Plan has been initiated across that site.

COMMUNITIES

New Gold believes a key measure of successful mining operations is the degree to which we create sustainable development in surrounding communities. First, sharing mutual benefits from mining is simply the right thing to do. Second, host communities and governments have a right to expect benefits from the development of natural resources in their region. And third, this approach is a prerequisite for the long-term success of any modern mining operation.

We demonstrate this commitment in several ways: meaningful two-way communication and engagement with local residents and organizations; forming partnerships with indigenous peoples; and through numerous community development initiatives.

  • A good example is our New Afton project's groundbreaking participation agreement with the local Skeetchestn and Tk'emlúps Bands. under the agreement, New Gold will provide support in education, preferential hiring and contracting opportunities for First Nations peoples, and ongoing "profit sharing" during active production of the New Afton mine.
  • Mesquite underwent a comprehensive audit of its energy consumption, which also included a qualitative calculation of its greenhouse gas (GHS) emissions. This audit has identified opportunities for innovative energy-saving projects.
  • We have a constructive relationship with local communities around our jointly owned El Morro project in Chile. In response to the priority local residents place on water, New Gold incorporated into its mine design the installation of a desalination plant to meet the requirements for potable and industrial water during the construction and operation of the project. The project design also incorporates thickened tailings technology, which would allow the project to maximize water recovery from the tailings for recycling in the process plant and reduce the final volume of the tailings deposit while contributing to its stability.
  • Our Cerro San Pedro mine in Mexico is playing a major role in community building through the Foundation for Preservation of the Village of Cerro de San Pedro AC, which responds to the most pressing needs of communities and provides financing for small and promising businesses. Initiatives are focused on creating a sustainable future for the community, built upon the elements of education, health, infrastructure improvement and promoting the local culture and traditions. The mine's program provides free transportation for school children and helped open computer classrooms for the benefit of over 600 students. New Gold provides medical and dental services to ten neighbouring communities in cooperation with the school of dentistry at a local university. medical consultations have been used by more than two-thirds of the local population. Other initiatives include: paving of roads around Cerro de San Pedro and improvements to the water and sewage systems to promote its tourism potential.
  • Peak Gold mines introduced the concept of Enterprise Facilitation to the town of Cobar, and as a result, was a finalist for the New South Wales minerals Council Community and Sustainability Awards. The operation now provides support to Cobar Enterprise Facilitation Inc., which seeks to create sustainable communities by assisting individuals with entrepreneurial aspirations to achieve their aims. In 2009, it helped to establish four new businesses and assisted two others.

As these 2009 highlights demonstrate, New Gold puts its safety and sustainability principles into practice at its operations. For more information, please view our 2009 Corporate Sustainability report, entitled "Connected". We believe that building a successful mining company is a joint enterprise that starts with our shareholders and extends to our other stakeholders, including host communities, governments, and non-governmental organizations.

We are connected in our common aspirations to promote the welfare of our employees, whether through injury-free workplaces, staff development programs, or fair employment and hiring practices. We are connected in our efforts to create sustainable development in the regions where we operate, so that economic prosperity lasts long after mining operations cease. And we are connected in our care for the environment to minimize the impact of mining activities today, and restore disturbed land for tomorrow's citizens.


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