New Gold-Blackwater mine gets federal OK

An area gold mine just got the green light.

The federal government has given the green light to the New Gold-Blackwater project near Prince George.

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The proposed gold mine has been advancing for several years towards startup, and one of the most important hurdles in the process was passing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's exhaustive checklist.

"The Government of Canada is protecting the environment and growing the economy," said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, on Monday afternoon when the announcement was made. "By evaluating this project based on science and Indigenous knowledge, and putting in place legally binding measures that will protect the environment, we are helping create economic growth and nearly 2,000 jobs for the community."

The mine is located 110 km south of Vanderhoof and 160 km southwest of Prince George at Mount Davidson.

A company statement affirmed that the news out of Ottawa meant the project "can proceed following a thorough and science-based environmental assessment process concluding that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects when mitigation measures are taken into account."

The official Minister's Decision Statement establishes 172 conditions the New Gold company must fulfill throughout the life of the project.

These conditions will reduce or eliminate the potential effects on the environment and include measures to protect wetlands, fish and fish habitat, migratory birds, the current use of lands and resources by Indigenous peoples, physical and cultural heritage and structures, and wildlife and species at risk.

"The project consists of the construction, operation and closure of an open-pit gold and silver mine," said the minister's statement (some zinc is also in the mineral profile of the mountain).

"The proposed $1.8 billion project could create up to 1,500 jobs during construction and 495 ongoing jobs during operations over the life of the project, according to figures provided by the proponent."

"This positive decision marks the conclusion of the project's federal environmental assessment, a very significant milestone for the project," said a company statement.

"New Gold is awaiting a decision from the Province of British Columbia regarding the provincial environmental assessment. We want to thank everyone for their continued support of the project during this phase of the environmental assessment."

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