Message from the President and CEO
I am pleased to present New Gold’s 2014 Corporate Responsibility Report. This year we have chosen a theme for the report that I believe reflects our way of doing business: “Living the New Gold Values”. One of those core values is integrity – it’s about doing the right thing. Operating mines in a socially responsible fashion is not only the right thing to do, ethically speaking – it is, frankly, the only way to do business successfully. To us, this means that communities around our mines should be better off after mine closure because the mine created long-term benefits during its operating lifetime. Those benefits might include infrastructure built by the mine; it might be training and education, or businesses developed to service the mine that continue to operate beyond the mine life. In addition, of course, the land must be reclaimed and made fit for a productive post-closure.
Another core value is commitment. At New Gold, we are committed to continuous improvement – we know that we can always improve. We have Management Standards covering three important areas: Safety, Environment, and Community Engagement and Development. We developed our standards based on best practices and international standards. A central element of these standards involves regular reviews that include internal assessments and external audits. Once we set our goals, measuring them is the only way to ensure we are achieving them and continuously improving our performance.
We also remain committed to the United Nations Global Compact’s principles, which guide our policies and practices on human rights, employment standards, the environment and anti-corruption.
2014 was a good year overall. We met our production targets and attained full implementation of the New Gold Environmental Standards and Community Engagement and Development Standards, across all operations. We achieved certification of the Cerro San Pedro Mine and recertification of the Mesquite Mine according to the International Cyanide Management Code, and New Afton became the first mine in North America to be certified under ISO 50001 – Energy Management.
We are proud that our efforts have been successful and recognized. In 2014, we were named to the Maclean’s/Sustainalytics Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada. In early 2015 we learned that we also ranked 7th overall in the “Future 40 Most Responsible Corporate Leaders in Canada” by Corporate Knights – a marked improvement from the 14th place we achieved the previous year.
We Work to Keep Our People Healthy and Safe
We are committed to keeping our people injury free, but 2014 presented a few challenges. Despite exceeding industry-wide health and safety performance standards, we did not meet all of our internal safety targets based on our 2013 performance. To ensure that this trend is reversed we have spent time understanding possible causes and have undertaken several actions to improve these results.
Employee development is also a New Gold core value. Our people are the core of our success and we continue to focus on leadership development and building that capacity from deep within our organizational structure to train future leaders and potential successors for management positions.
We Are an Active Part of the Communities Where We Operate
Sustainable economic development is one of the main principles of our Community Engagement and Development Standards. Everywhere we work, we focus on being an engine for sustainable economic development and an active contributor to the well-being of our host communities.
Later this year, our Cerro San Pedro Mine will initiate its first phase of closure. We have engaged our employees and the local communities in planning for closure and have listened to their aspirations and concerns so that these can be considered in an integrated closure plan. We will continue to do so throughout the closure process. These discussions have already led to comprehensive training programs for our employees and capacity and entrepreneurship development projects with the local communities. This ongoing effort should support a successful transition to a sustainable post-closure community and resilient economy.
We Work to Protect the Environment
We continue to look for opportunities to reduce our impact on the ecosystems in which we operate; our management standards are guided by internationally recognized standards including ISO 14001, the International Cyanide Management Code and the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative.
We have achieved all of our environmental targets this year; however, one notable incident occurred at Cerro San Pedro, involving a release of process material from the site. There were no permanent impacts to the environment and the necessary actions were implemented. These included immediate reporting to the Mexican regulatory agencies and directly alerting local communities. Several important lessons were learned that will reduce the possibility of a similar recurrence and improve our overall environmental management, not only at Cerro San Pedro but at our other operations as well.
2014 was a year of consolidating our corporate culture of safety, respect for our communities and environmental responsibility. This year promises to be a pivotal one for New Gold. Our plans for expanding the New Afton mill are moving towards fruition, and, with the granting of federal and provincial permits, Rainy River started construction in the first quarter of 2015.
Everyone, at every operation, development site, exploration project and corporate office has contributed to these efforts, and I extend my gratitude to the people of New Gold. I look forward to continually improving our standards, systems and performance in the years to come.
President and CEO,
New Gold Inc.