In October, New Gold announced completion of the first C-Zone draw bell, which signifies a transition to the production ramp-up phase. With this achievement, C-Zone remains on-track to achieve commercial production in the second half of 2024. C-Zone is the fourth block cave at New Afton, after completion of Lift 1 in 2022 and the currently producing B3 cave.
“These are important milestones for New Gold and the New Afton team,” stated Patrick Godin, President & CEO. “Completing the first draw bell from C-Zone is a positive step in significantly increasing our production profile at New Afton over the coming years.”
To celebrate, employees hosted a barbeque on site, with the Kamloops Rotary club running the grill and visitors from New Gold’s corporate office in attendance. “I have great pride for what the team has accomplished in coming together to hit our goals safely. Our success is a testament to the quality of people working at New Afton,” said Jeff LaMarsh, General Manager of New Afton. “It has been a long journey to get to this point, with a lot of hard work, but at the end of the day we pulled together to achieve our goals safely, which is the most important thing.”
With current C-Zone mineral reserves of 486 million pounds of copper and 653,000 ounces of gold, the C-Zone production period of 2024 to 2030 is expected to increase average annual production at New Afton to approximately 90,000 ounces of gold and approximately 70 million pounds of copper, a sizeable increase in production over the last two years.
The C-Zone project also includes three major activities related to tailings management, including the thickened and amended tailings (TAT) plant, the stabilization of the Historical Afton Tailings Storage Facility (HATSF), and the stabilization of the New Afton Tailings Storage Facility (NATSF). Surface subsidence inherent in block cave mining is modelled to progress in the direction of the now-closed HATSF as well as the NATSF. The new TAT plant allows for non-flowable thickened tailings to be deposited into the Historic Afton Pit. Tailings stabilization on the HATSF was completed at the end of 2022, and stabilization of the NATSF reached an important milestone in September, with commissioning of the final dewatering wells,. The overall NATSF project is on track for completion in the first half of 2026.