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New Gold making “solid progress” on mine opening

Rainy River open-pit project tracks toward November commercial production
Rainy River mill

New Gold reports everything’s on schedule to begin commercial production at its Rainy River open-pit mine development in November.

The company reported in its third quarter statement that capital costs are in line with the new development plan the company announced last January.

That was all pleasing to New Gold president-CEO Hannes Portmann, who is pleased with the “solid progress” being made during the second quarter.

"Our Rainy River project schedule and capital cost estimate remain in line with New Gold's updated plan announced on January 30, 2017, and the project is scheduled to transition from construction to operation in the third quarter of 2017,” he said in a July 26 news release.

The project is 65 kilometres northwest of Fort Frances in northwestern Ontario.

Last winter, cost over-runs and delays in digging out the open-pit gold mine northwest of Fort Frances forced the company to make sweeping changes on the management steering the project.

The project is $195 million over budget and months behind schedule. An updated development plan was put in place.

Project spending during the second quarter totalled $160 million, with $229 million in remaining capital to be spent toward the November commercial production start.

Of the remaining spending, 45 per cent is related to mining and owner's costs, 45 per cent is related to earthworks, including completion of the starter tailings cell, with the balance of the remaining expenditure related to the completion and commissioning of the processing plant.

The company reports the installation of the mechanical equipment, piping, electrical and instrumentation is close to completion.

The commissioning of the ball mill and SAG mill has started and is scheduled to be completed in August.

The energization of the power lines, construction of the tailings pipeline corridor, and the tailings management pipeline have been completed.

With the Rainy River project back on track, New Gold also made some managerial appointments that included selecting Peter Woodhouse as its vice-president of projects.

A 30-year veteran in developing mining infrastructure, Woodhouse recently held the same title at Centerra Gold but has been in project management roles for Canada Lithium, Hatch, SNC Lavalin, and Xstrata Nickel.