New Gold, owner of the Blackwater Project, received the Developer of the Year Award at the tenth annual B.C. Natural Resource Forum and Economic Summit in Prince George on Thursday, Jan. 10.
The award recognized the company’s perserverance and determination at the Blackwater site within the past several years.
New Gold has spent close to $170 million on developing the project since 2011, when the company became the sole owner of the site.
“We value these awards, particularly as they relate to our commitment to working with the local communities and First Nations,” Tim Bekhuys, director of environment and sustainability for the Blackwater Project, said in an email on Jan. 11.
“Without their expertise, commitment and support, this award would not have been possible.”
Bekhuys said development of the project is based on protecting the environment and promoting long term sustainability; maintaining a commitment to communities by maximizing local procurement and hiring, and leaving long-lasting net benefits; and working with First Nations to achieve common goals, as well as respecting and understanding indigenous values and rights.
“The Blackwater Gold Project team has been working hard in all three of these areas to demonstrate that we can deliver on these values,” he said.
Currently, the project team is gathering information for an engineering plan and environmental assessments by the federal and provincial governments.
“Throughout this process, we continue to collaborate with our First Nations and community partners to ensure that we align our goals with those that they have identified to ensure we present a project that leaves a lasting, positive legacy in the region,” said Bekhuys.
More than $10 billion and $775 million of gold and silver deposits have been identified at the Blackwater Project site at an assumed price of $1,275 and $22.50 per ounce of gold and silver respectively, well below current market values.
According to New Gold, the project has already employed more than 400 people, including contractors. More than 23 per cent of current employees are First Nations and more than 66 per cent come from the local region.
The proposed Blackwater mine will produce an average of 507,000 ounces of gold annually, more than New Gold’s gold mining operations in California, Mexico, Australia and New Afton, B.C., combined.
New Gold was given the 2013 Viola R. MacMillan Award for leadership and best practices for its New Afton mine, which also received the 2011 Mining and Sustainability Award and the Corporate Advocate for Aboriginal Business Award.
“We believe successful project development is based on protecting the environment, and working closely with Aboriginal peoples and local communities to achieve common goals,” Bob Gallagher, president and chief executive officer of New Gold, said in a statement.