B3 Mining Approved
In Q2 of 2021, New Afton received both the Mines Act permit amendment to M-229 (May 21) and the Environmental Management Act permit amendment to 100224 (June 30). These updated permits allow for the mining of the B3 ore body, Thickened and Amended Tailings deposition to the Historic Afton Open Pit, and stabilization and dewatering activities for the New Afton Tailings Facility.
These approvals come after months of effort by many consultants and employees from numerous departments across site. Pre-engagement for the amendments started two years ago, with rigorous engagement for the last year and a half.
“There was a lot of engagement with First Nations, the government and neighbouring stakeholders,” said Luke Holdstock, Environmental Superintendent at New Afton Mine. “B3 Permitting allows us to thicken and amend tailings and then put that into the historic pit. It was quite a substantial permit.”
The amendment process required engagement with regulators on geotechnical, geoscience, reclamation and closure plan details to ensure risks are adequately mitigated. A significant amount of time was also spent with partners from Skeetchestn Indian Band (SIB), Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (TteS), and Stk‘emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation (SSN), the Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council (NNTC) and other interested local stakeholders to ensure environmental, traditional and safety values were recognized and managed effectively. This amended permit will allow B3 mining through to 2024, while setting New Afton up for success for the rest of C-Zone mine life with the approval for Thickened and Amended Tailings deposition to the Historic Afton Open Pit.
“This is ideal,” Holdstock said. “It is better to keep tailings deposition in the existing historic pit versus putting it somewhere new. We are utilizing this historic infrastructure instead of green field construction.”
Every new permit approval is an achievement based on the support of the entire site and truly is a representation of the hard work put in by all employees.