New Gold looks to expand; asks to increase air discharge rate

New Afton Mine.

KAMLOOPS – The New Afton Mine just west of Kamloops wants its air quality restrictions to reflect it is now operational, and allow for growth.

The mine has moved from construction to operational phase, and now wants to be allowed to increase the maximum air discharge rate from the underground workings of the mine. The current restrictions take only a portion of the mine into account, while an increase would account for underground workings of the entire mine.

Originally submitted March 20, Kamloops City Council needs to respond to Ministry of the Environment in 60 days with any objections or compliance.

The amendment is mostly administrative in nature. However, New Gold is asking to increase the rate of air emissions discharge by nearly nine times. Staff says the increase to 35,000 cubic metres per minute from 4,170 cubic metres per minute will not have a negative impact to human health or the environment, because most of the increase is product of ventilation. This is the air that workers breathe, and is considered to be of little risk.

The air supplied for worker ventilation or inhalation is even more stringent than the air emission standard set out in the permit. 

In addition to the recirculated air, the ministry lists dust from ore crushing or grinding and exhaust from natural gas as requested amendments to the air quality restrictions.

City council is expected to give their response Tuesday, May 5, during its regular council meeting.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

— This story was updated at 3:18 p.m., May 5, to clarify details.

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