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New Gold fined for 2016 discharge

Mining company released 19 million litres of effluent
New Gold Rainy River open pit
New Gold's Rainy River open-pit gold mine.

New Gold has been fined $187,500 by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOE) for a pollution violation at its open-pit gold mine in northwestern Ontario.

The offences stem from a discharge of effluent from an in-pit sump during the mine’s construction in 2016.

In a Nov. 20 news release, the ministry said samples taken by New Gold staff from the sump on July 22, 2016 revealed a concentration of un-ionized ammonia that was higher than the allowed maximum discharge limit.

Samples were taken two days later for analysis and yielded the same result.

During this time, the company kept pumping out the sump from July 26-29, releasing 19-million litres of effluent.

The matter wasn’t reported until eight days later on Aug. 3. It was deemed a violation of the environmental compliance approval issued by the ministry in 2015.

The MOE’s investigations and enforcement branch stepped in, resulting in charges laid and eventually two convictions under the Environmental Protection Act.

New Gold was fined $150,000, plus $37,500 victim fine surcharge.

The company has three months to pay.

New Gold’s Rainy River pit is 65 kilometres northwest of Fort Frances.

The company had its first gold pour last September upon completion of the development.