An environmental assessment (EA) of the Blackwater Project is now underway following 15 months of aggressive exploratory drilling by New Gold.
The EA is required by the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) before New Gold, the project’s owner, can begin developing the proposed gold and silver mine, which is expected to create hundreds of jobs and inject tens of millions of dollars into the local economy.
“Because I consider that the proposed Project has the potential for significant adverse effects, an EA must be undertaken and an EA certificate must be issued before the proposed project may proceed,” said Shelley Murphy, executive project director for the EAO, in a letter to New Gold.
The EA process was triggered on Oct. 24, 2012, when New Gold filed a 145-page project description with the EAO.
As required by the province, the document analyzes potential adverse environmental, economic, social, heritage and health effects that may arise from mining operations, along with corresponding management strategies.
The potential adverse effects were determined by qualified professionals who carried out studies, field surveys and other research at the request of New Gold.
“New Gold is committed to transparency and integrity in all of its business operations, and understands that the Blackwater Gold Project will have an effect on local communities, Aboriginal groups, and the environment in the vicinity of the proposed Project,” the project description says.
“Implementing its Design for Closure approach, New Gold will work with these communities to develop and implement long-term economic, social, and environmentally sustainable opportunities while avoiding, minimizing, and mitigating negative project effects.”
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) is currently determining if a federal EA of the Blackwater Project is required.
In making a decision, the CEAA is seeking public comments about the project and the potential effects it may have on the environment, which can be submitted to the following address until Nov. 25.
Blackwater Gold Project
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
410 – 701 West Georgia Street
Vancouver BC V7Y 1C6
Fax: (604) 666-6990
Phone: (604) 666-2431