The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is conducting a federal environmental assessment of the proposed Blackwater Gold Project, located approximately 110 kilometres southwest of Vanderhoof.
The Blackwater Gold Project is proposed by New Gold Inc. The project would produce 60,000 tonnes per day of gold and silver ore, over a mine life of 17 years, according to New Gold’s 2013 feasibility study.
As part of the final public comment period for the company, the Agency has invited the public and Indigenous groups to comment on the draft Environmental Assessment Report, which includes the Agency’s conclusions and recommendations regarding the potential environmental effects of the project and their significance, the proposed mitigation measures, and the follow-up program.
The report sets out a number of potential environmental factors, also stating mitigation measures will be implemented to prevent or reduce potential adverse effects of the project. In its conclusion, the report finds that, taking into account the implementation of mitigation measures, the project is “not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.”
The Agency has also invited comments on the potential environmental assessment conditions for the project.
The Blackwater Gold Project sits on the traditional lands of the Ulkatcho (Anahim Lake) First Nation and Lhoosk’uz Dené (Kluskus) Nation. Both nations have been in discussion with New Gold regarding the project for some time, according to a pamphlet on the project jointly put out by the nations. The mine would potentially offer employment opportunities to members.
The project has already gone through several public and Indigenous consultations, according to a Government of Canada news release, including public information sessions.
In response to feedback from the Environmental Assessment Agency’s working group, New Gold said in a press release it has made several key changes to the project:
Re-routed a portion of its transmission line to follow more existing linear infrastructure, reduce impacts to animals and address concerns raised by Indigenous groups
Reduced the mine footprint to minimize impacts on the natural environment
Reduced mine water requirements by maximizing mine water recycling
Proposed additional mine water treatment prior to release to the environment
New Gold is hosting an information session to provide access to information about the Project and answer any questions the public may have. The information session will be held at the Blackwater Project Office in Vanderhoof from 4-6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 26.
Comments can also be submitted by Dec. 14, 2018 to:
Blackwater Gold Project, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, 410-701 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, B.C. V7Y 1C6; or by calling 604-666-2431 or emailing ceaa.Blackwater.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the public comment period, the Environmental Assessment Report and potential environmental assessment conditions will be finalized and provided to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, along with comments received.
The Minister will make a decision on whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.