Energy and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Management

Energy efficiency is a priority for New Gold: it’s not only about being responsive to climate change and imperative to global sustainability, but it’s also an important factor in the financial sustainability of our company. Energy is one of the biggest expenses at our operations and climate change has the potential to negatively impact our operations in various ways, such as extreme weather events and impacting water availability.

Description of Impacts

Our activities are energy intensive: it takes a lot of energy to break, grind and transport vast amounts of rock. Our energy use results in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from mobile equipment required to operate a mine, heating of underground works, the off-site generated electricity that we purchase to operate processing plants, underground ventilation systems and to power office buildings, as well as the use of explosives for blasting.

Across New Gold operations, diesel and electricity were the most significant sources of our energy consumption in 2017. Diesel is primarily used as fuel for mobile fleet operations, and electricity is used mainly for mill operations. Propane, gasoline and natural gas represent a relatively small portion of the energy consumed by our operations.

Operations1 Energy Consumption (GJ)

Operations Energy Consumption circle graph

Excludes Rainy River.


Management Approach

We have developed an Energy and GHG Management System based on the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Energy and GHG Emissions Management Protocol. In 2017, we continued work on implementing this management system across all our operations. As part of this initiative, energy champions have been engaged to assess opportunities for savings and a number of projects are being implemented across New Gold sites.

One of these efforts is an innovative energy management system implemented at New Afton in 2013, leading to ISO 50001 certification in 2014. New Afton was the first mine in Canada to achieve certification against this international standard and it is the only mine in North America to maintain certification through 2017. We have extended the learning experiences to our other operations and in 2017, Mesquite continued working towards the implementation of the ISO 50001 standard.

Putting Policy into Practice at New Afton

At New Afton, we use natural gas to heat the underground workings during winter months. Natural gas usage will continue to increase at New Afton as the active underground works expand and we’ve implemented an on-demand heating and ventilation system, which ensures that only those areas that are being occupied by workers are ventilated and heated.

New Gold initiated work on an Energy Management Strategy in late 2015. Implementation of the New Gold Energy Strategy is driving energy management and efficiency across our operations and embedding energy savings into our culture.

In addition to this Corporate Responsibility Report, New Gold reports energy and greenhouse data publicly to the Mining Association of Canada and to the Carbon Disclosure Project. All operations continue to work on the development of short- and long-term efficiency targets to improve energy savings over time.

2017 Energy and GHG Emissions Management Performance Highlights

  • New Gold operations consumed 9% less direct energy (diesel, gasoline, propane, natural gas and electricity) in 2017 as compared to 2016. Total direct energy consumed at the New Afton, Mesquite, Peak and Cerro San Pedro mines in 2017 was 2,752,103 gigajoules (GJ), compared to 3,015,568 GJ in 2016.
  • New Gold’s greenhouse gas intensity, measured as tonnes of CO2-e per kilotonne of ore processed, increased slightly, from 6.0 in 2016 to 7.1 in 2017. This is mainly as a result of a ramping down of activities at Cerro San Pedro. While diesel use was significantly reduced at this site because mining has been completed, electrical power increased as a result of needing to pump process solutions to leach pads that have now reached their maximum heights. Company-wide, electricity use increased about 1% from 2016.
  • New Gold mine operations achieved about a 17% reduction in diesel use and 8% reduction in gasoline use, mostly because of complete cessation of mining and hauling at Cerro San Pedro and reductions of diesel use at Peak.
Fuel Consumption by Major Sources – Operations Only1
Major Sources 2015 2016 2017
Diesel consumption (000s litres) 50,412,593 41,091,026 33,966,281
Gasoline consumption (000s litres) 551,064 555,120 508,925
Propane (000s litres) (includes LP3) 710,256 733,034 1,027,516
Natural gas (000s litres) 1,393,527 1,484,878 2,010,641


Electric Power Consumption – Operations Only
Indirect Energy 2014 2015 2016 2017
Power purchased (MWhs) 329,487 365,429 370,2582 365,969

Data excludes Rainy River operations in 2017, as this site was transitioning from construction to production at the end of 2017.


Estimated 248,786,467 MWhs (68%) hydroelectric power and 17,810,074 MWhs (32%) of electricity generated by other sources. Fuels consumed to produce electricity other than hydroelectricity include coal, fuel oil, natural gas, nuclear (Ontario), biomass and renewables as reported by electricity providers.


LPG is an acronym for Liquefied Petroleum Gas.


Greenhouse Gas Emissions – All sites
Emissions (000s of tonnes of CO2-e) 2015 2016 2017
Diesel 161.5 186.2 90.5
Gasoline 2.9 5.3 1.2
Propane 1.1 1.6 1.6
Natural gas 2.6 2.8 3.9
Power 111.4 89.8 81.5
Explosives 2.9 1.5 1.7
Total 282.4 287.3 180.4

Greenhouse Gas/Ore Processed Ratio

Efficiency: Total Emissions1 per Ore Processed (000s tonnes), as Tonnes of CO2-e

Greenhouse Gas/Ore Processed ratio bar graph

Operations only, not including Rainy River.