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New Gold air quality better than originally indicated

New Gold mine property.
February 06, 2015 - 10:30 AM


KAMLOOPS - The amount of fine particulate matter produced by the New Gold mine just outside of Kamloops is a lot lower than originally thought, according to recent numbers from the company.

When the 2012 numbers were released last summer it appeared the New Afton Mine was the third worst polluter in Canada when it came to fine particulate matter, called PM2.5. Only Highland Valley Copper in Logan Lake and the Department of National Defence in Quebec reported higher emissions.

The Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment raised red flags over the amount of PM2.5 coming from the gold mine in June and New Afton quickly responded, noting the high numbers were a result of an error based on assumptions by a third party consultant. Conservative estimates based on an incomplete year of data and an error on a spreadsheet was pegged as the original sources of the incorrect data.

The numbers were reviewed and revised in the database, but now the company says the numbers were actually even lower than the revisions. Original submissions pegged New Afton at producing about 1,700 tonnes of PM2.5 in 2012 but was revised to 327 tonnes by the time the July 2014 report was released.

The company now says 2012 PM2.5 numbers were just 20 tonnes while 2013 numbers came in slightly higher at 27.6 tonnes, both well below those initial estimates. New Afton has not yet submitted these updated numbers to Environment Canada, but says they will be in the 2015 National Pollutant Release Inventory report due out in July.

Concern over air quality in Kamloops has increased in recent years as talk of the proposed Ajax Mine heats up. Residents, including groups such as the doctors, have been watching the air quality even closer and pointing to slash burning, mining and heavy industry such as Domtar as key contributors and note a lack of provincial monitoring stations make it difficult to know the full impact.

Highland Valley Copper remains near the top of the polluter list, with preliminary emissions reported as 2,677 tonnes of PM2.5 for 2013. The Logan Lake mining company reported 2,335 tonnes in 2012.

Domtar reduced PM2.5 emissions by about 50 per cent to 228 tonnes in 2013, largely attributed to the closure of the A-Mill in 2013, while the LaFarge plant saw emissions stay about the same from year to year.

The inventory is a legislated and publicly-accessible database. Facilities are required to self-report pollutants, disposals and transfers for recycling.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at or call 250-819-2723. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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