Energy and Emissions Management

It takes a lot of energy to break, grind and transport vast amounts of rock. Our activities are energy intensive and result in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, from the mobile equipment required to operate a mine to the off-site generated electric power that we purchase to supply our operations. Improving our energy efficiency and reducing GHG emissions not only lessens climate-related risks to the broader environment, but also brings inherent cost advantages.

We continue working on implementation of the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Protocol as well as the Energy and GHG Management system across all operations. Energy champions have been engaged to assess opportunities for savings and a number of projects are being implemented across New Gold sites. One of these efforts is an innovative energy management system implemented at New Afton in 2013, leading to an ISO 50001 certification in 2014. New Afton is the first mine in Canada to achieve certification against this international standard and remains the only mine in North America to maintain it through 2015. Our goal is to extend the learning experiences to our other operations.

New Gold reports energy and greenhouse data publicly to the Mining Association of Canada and to the Carbon Disclosure Project. All of our sites continue to work on the development of long- and short-term efficiency targets in an effort to improve energy savings over time.

Performance in 2015

During 2015, New Gold executives and selected corporate staff took part in an Energy Assessment Workshop at which the highest levels of the organization rated our current energy management processes and decided on improvements that would become part of the New Gold Corporate Energy Management Strategy. This strategy is expected to be completed and implemented during 2016. We expect this to drive energy management and efficiency across the New Gold operations and embed energy savings into our culture, with benefits for our competitiveness and for the environment. To ensure this is the case, New Gold has employed a Director of Assets and an Energy Manager to coordinate site activities.

In 2015, the total direct energy consumed across the company was 3,776 terajoules (TJ). Most of the energy consumed was diesel fuel for mobile fleet operations, followed by purchased electricity for mill operations, and a small component was provided by propane and gasoline. Natural gas is used at New Afton to heat the underground workings during winter months.

Across the organization, we reduced the consumption of energy for most fuel types. Compared with 2014, we reduced our use of propane by 27%. Diesel use increased by 12% overall, mainly due to the impact of construction at Rainy River. Excluding Rainy River, the operating sites experienced a 7% reduction in diesel use, with Peak Mines (9%) and Cerro San Pedro (14%) showing significant reductions that more than offset increases at Mesquite and New Afton.

New Gold Energy Consumption (TJ) – Across Sites

Across the organization, diesel is by far the most significant portion of New Gold energy consumption (62%), followed by electric power (35%). Propane, gasoline and natural gas represent a relatively small portion of the energy consumed in 2015 – about 3% in total.

Despite a larger volume to heat, natural gas usage decreased at New Afton. This was mainly due to the optimization of the heating system and Ventilation on Demand, which ensures that only those areas that are being occupied by workers are ventilated and heated.

New Gold saw an 11% increase in electricity use, due mostly to expansion of the mill at New Afton. Other contributors to the increase were Cerro San Pedro (16%), where electricity is used to pump solution to growing leach pads, and Peak Mines (7%), where mine development requires increased power to ventilate and cool the air to allow workers to operate in an acceptable environment. The data regarding relative electricity consumption excludes Rainy River electrical consumption in the 2015 New Gold calculations as it is in the construction phase and not a material user of electrical power in comparison to our operating sites.

Fuel Consumption by Major Sources

Major Sources 2013 2014 2015
Diesel consumption (000s litres) 52,584 54,351 60,659
Gasoline consumption (000s litres) 809 678 1,248
Propane (000s litres) (includes LP) 1,304 1,019 742
Natural gas (GJ) 46,965 70,118 51,881

Electric Power Consumption

Indirect Energy 2013 2014 2015
Power purchased (MWhs) 251,118 329,487 365,4291

Excludes Rainy River electrical data, which is not a significant contributor during the mine’s construction.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Operations Only

Emissions (000s of tonnes of CO2-e) 2013 2014 2015
Diesel 137.6 145.1 161.5
Gasoline 1.5 1.4 2.9
Propane 1.9 1.5 1.1
Natural gas1 2.7 3.9 2.6
Power 97.0 100.3 111.4
Explosives 2.5 3.0 2.9
Total 243.2 255.3 282.4

2013 was the first full year of operations at New Afton, the only New Gold site using this energy source.

Greenhouse Gas/000s Tonnes of Ore Processed Ratio

New Gold’s greenhouse gas intensity, measured as tonnes of CO2 per kilotonne of ore processed, was reduced by about 25% in 2015. This is mainly due to the increased ore throughput at New Afton. New Afton uses hydroelectricity to power its mill and runs conveyors instead of trucks to move ore. This means that despite using a great amount of energy, there are far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than other sources of power.

For the purposes of this report, carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) emissions generated were calculated using the TSM Energy and GHG Emissions Management Reference Guide.

The CO2-e emissions generated indirectly from purchased energy are calculated using relevant factors from each jurisdiction for consistency with locally reported numbers.