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Spring melt has downstream impact at Rainy River Mine

Excess water in tailings pond forces shutdown of New Gold mill
New Gold Rainy River mill 2
New Gold photo

Melting snow in northwestern Ontario forced a shutdown of New Gold’s processing mill at its Rainy River Mine on April 24.

Heavy spring runoff dumped 700,000 cubic metres of excess water into its tailings pond, prompting a temporary halt to mill operations.

Additional pumping power has been brought in to transfer the water over to a water management pond.

The company said it’s working with government regulators to expedite the process.

The open-pit gold mine and mill is 50 kilometres northwest of Fort Frances.

In a May 1 news release, New Gold expects the mill to be back online within five days, depending on precipitation levels. Mill workers are using this brief downtime to do maintenance activities that were planned for later this month.

New Gold said mining and crushing operations haven’t been impacted and continue at planned levels. Ore is being stockpiled and separated for processing when the mill restarts.

Mine managers don’t expect this delay to throw their annual production guidance off track.

“Management is addressing the issue of excess water appropriately and in a manner that is consistent with our commitment to protecting our environment,” said New Gold CEO Renaud Adams in a statement. “We remain focused on executing our current mine plan and are confident that the mill will resume normal operations soon.”