New Afton Mine is a block caving operation, located approximately 10 kilometres outside of Kamloops and 350 kilometres northeast of Vancouver in British Columbia.
New Gold Inc. began construction and development of the New Afton Mine in 2007 and reached commercial production in July 2012, following the first draw-bell blast in September, 2011. The operation occupies the site of the historic Afton open pit mine, which operated from 1977 until 1997. The site includes an inactive and dewatered open pit and other historic facilities. New Afton is situated on the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwépemc territory, situated within the unceded traditional lands of the Secwépemc nation.
New Gold entered into a strategic partnership with Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTTP) in 2020 with free cash flow interest until 2024, at which point OTTP will have an option to enter into a joint venture with New Afton. For more information on this partnership, click here.
New Gold announced completion of a new life of mine plan in in March 2020 that incoporated the C-Zone development that extended the mine life to 2030, with the potential to extend the mine life beyond 2030 as exploration programs advance.
New Afton has focused on de-risking the execution of the C-Zone, including the finalization of the mine design, tailings disposal plan, subsidence and stabilization studies, and advancing permitting efforts.
New Afton uses an underground mass mining method called block caving that allows for the economic extraction of larger and lower grade deposits than traditional underground mining methods. New Afton Mine is currently the only operating block cave mine in Canada.
The principal commodities at New Afton are copper and gold in copper concentrates. The processing plant consists of grinding, flotation and gravity circuits, producing concentrate which is sold to intermediaries and transported to smelters for further processing. New Afton maintains three tailings storage facilities. The New Afton Tailings Storage Facility (NATSF) and the Pothook Tailings Storage Facility (Pothook TSF) are active, while the Historic Afton Tailings Storage Facility (HATSF) is in care and maintenance. Water within the NATSF and Pothook TSF is continuously reclaimed and reused throughout the milling process. New Afton maintains a qualified Engineer of Record for all three facilities who oversees dam designs, reviews construction, and completes dam safety and monitoring inspections. The Independent Tailings Review Board reviews all aspects of tailings management from a third-party perspective, with the intent of identifying and minimizing any potential risks.
Learn more about New Gold’s approach to tailings management here.
New Gold continues exploration efforts to define new prospective targets on the broader Company’s landholdings to discover additional mineralization and potentially extend the life of the mine.
Visit Newgold.com to view News Releases
Infill drilling of C-Zone; confirmed and delineated the zone
Lower C-Zone infill drilling concluded
Reconnaissance surveys conducted at Cherry Creek prospects located ~3 kilometers from the mine site
Definition of the SLC-Zone and discovery of new mineralized areas located east of C-Zone
Reconnaissance exploration drilling within Cherry Creek trend area; preliminary results show shallow intercepts of narrow gold and silver mineralization within Silica Hill target
Follow-up drilling exploring the extents of high-grade mineralization at Upper East Extension
Geology and Land
The bulk of the New Afton deposit occurs as a tabular, nearly vertical, southwest plunging body measuring at least 1.4 kilometres along strike by approximately 100 metres wide, with a down-plunge extent of over 1.5 kilometres. The deposit remains open to the west and at depth.
Three styles of mineralization have been identified on the New Afton deposit:
- Primary hypogene mineralization characterized by chalcopyrite-magnetite ± bornite ± pyrite ± specularite as disseminations, stringers, and matrix-fill to breccias along the edge of the monzonite intrusive.
- Late hypogene mineralization overprinting the primary hypogene in narrow and discontinuous lenses along high-angle faults, characterized by tennantite-enargite ± tetrahedrite and traces of bornite and chalcocite.
- Supergene native copper and lesser chalcocite formed by oxidation of the primary sulfides within upper portion of the deposit and along fault zones to ~500 m below the historic Afton Open Pit.
New Gold’s holdings in the area comprise the Afton Group and the Ajax Group. The New Afton deposit lies within the Afton Group. The Afton Group consists of 69 mineral claims included in a mining lease issued by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources on November 29, 2006. The total area of the Afton Mining Lease and all other claims is 17,058 hectares.