New Afton Mine is an operational copper and gold mine located in the Canadian province of British Columbia.

The mine is fully owned by New Gold, a Canadian mining company.

The company started construction and development of the project in 2007. The mine commenced commercial production in July 2012.

A new life of mine plan was completed in March 2020. This included the C-Zone development, a continuation of the New Afton copper-gold deposit.

In October 2022, New Gold secured the permit to begin mining of the C-Zone.

The C-Zone development, which is expected to begin production in the second half of 2022, extends the mine life to 2030 with the potentiality of further extensions.

According to the February 2020 technical report on the New Afton Mine, the current life of mine (LOM) capital is estimated to be $635m, which includes development of the C Zone.

Location and Site details

The New Afton Mine is located approximately 10km from Kamloops in British Columbia. The site is around 350km northeast of Vancouver.

Overall, New Gold holds surface rights for around 2,274.54ha area. Under-surface tenures include 84 mineral claims and one mining lease totalling an area of 20,353ha.

The mine can be accessed by mine road located off the Trans-Canada Highway.

The historical Afton Open Pit (HAOP) mine operated at the location from 1977 to 1997. DRC Resources Corporation (DRC), a predecessor company of New Gold, bought an option on the property in 1999 and carried out exploration drilling activity on the New Afton deposit.

The new mine is the underground extension of the Afton Mine open pit with block caving operation at the B1 and B2 Blocks.

Geology and Mineralisation

Similar to other deposits found in British Columbia, the New Afton exhibits a silica-saturated, copper-gold alkalic porphyry-style deposit. The mine area primarily features rocks of the Upper to Lower Palaeozoic Quesnel Terrane.

Mineralisation at the property was formed through late-stage hydrothermal activity driven by remnant heat from the porphyry intrusion.

The deposit mainly features as a tabular, nearly vertical, southwest plunging body stretching a minimum of 1.4km along strike by 100m wide. The down-plunge extent extends more than 1.5km. The deposit is open to the west and at depth.

Three styles of mineralisation that were identified at the New Afton deposit include Primary hypogene mineralisation, Late hypogene mineralisation and Supergene native copper and lesser chalcocite.

Mineral Reserves and Production

As of 31 December 2021, the Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves at the property stand at 675 million pounds of copper, 0.88 million ounces of gold and 2.3 million ounces of silver.

The 2019 Mineral Reserve estimate was 47.3 million tonnes (Mt) grading 0.66 g/t Gold (Au), 1.9 g/t Silver (Ag), and 0.77% Copper (Cu). It is based on the June 2019 Mineral Resource model, production records, and mine plans.

On 31 December 2019, Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources of New Afton were 57Mt at grades of 0.61 g/t Au, 2.1 g/t Ag, and 0.74% Cu and Inferred Mineral Resources of 14Mt at grades of 0.38 g/t Au, 1.3 g/t Ag, and 0.42% Cu.

In 2019, the New Afton Mine produced 69 thousand ounces of gold and 79 million pounds of copper.

The current LOM plans mining around 48Mt of ore grading an average of 0.68 g/t Au, 1.9 g/t Ag, and 0.77% Cu until the year 2029.


The current LOM plan includes the mining of New Afton B and C Zones. The main commodities are copper and gold in copper concentrates.

An underground mass mining method called block caving is used at the property to extract larger and lower grade deposits.

The production is underway at the B1 and B2 Zones at the mine with two panel caves (west and east) in operation.

Initially, a load haul dump loader (LHD) transports the ore from the drawpoints, on the extraction level to an ore pass.

Then it is loaded into a haul truck, which transports the ore to the underground gyratory crusher and then to the surface. A conveyor transports the crushed ore directly to a SAG mill.

The processing plant comprises grinding, flotation and gravity circuits to produce concentrates. Subsequently, it is sold to intermediaries and transported to smelters for further processing.

In 2019, the plant processed up to 18,000 tonnes per day (tpd).

The mine has three tailings storage facilities including one in care and maintenance.

Contractors involved

Roscoe Postle Associates (RPA) prepared the independent Technical Report on the New Afton copper-gold mine. The report was published in February 2020.

In 2009, Thyssen Mining was contracted for consultation with block caving operations during the pre-production period. Thyssen Mining was also responsible for subsequent underground bulk excavation, lateral development, and raise bore work.

JDS Energy & Mining secured the contract to supply skilled underground miners and equipment to support the development, production and construction of the B3 and C Zone block cave at New Afton Mine.

Endurance Belting helped New Gold in installing a new raw ore conveyor and wanted fire-resistant steel cord belting that meets the CSA B2 standard.

Since 2014, Allnorth Land Surveyors supported New Gold with surveying New Afton Mine Tailings Storage Facility (TSF).

Challenger Geomatics also provided survey services related to the mine.

Knight Piésold Consulting was associated with characterisation of the tailings impounded in the inactive Historical Afton TSF (HATSF). It developed detailed designs for tailings dewatering and consolidation and thickened and amended tailings storage in the HATSF and the Historical Afton Open Pit. Knight Piésold also offers Engineer of Record services for the current HATSF.

Inline Group offered construction survey and materials testing services for the project, while BGC Engineering offered design, construction monitoring and general operating support services for active tailings storage facilities.

In January 2023, Sandvik secured an order, valued at SEK135m ($12.58m), to deliver four additional battery-electric Sandvik LH518B loaders. Sandvik plans to deliver the first vehicle in 2023 with deliveries expected to be completed by 2025.