TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- New Gold Inc. (“New Gold” or the “Company”) (TSX and NYSE American: NGD) reports that its Rainy River Mine, which is close to the United States border, has temporarily suspended operations for a period of two weeks so that its local workforce can follow the fourteen day period of self-isolation as recommended by federal and provincial authorities relating to travel outside Canada as frequent border crossing is a common practice in the region. The requirement to self-isolate is consistent with our company-wide policy currently in place for all New Gold operations and projects.
Approximately 70% of the workforce of the Rainy River Mine is made up of local residents and making frequent short trips across the border to the local Minnesota communities is a common practice in the region. A significant number of employees have voluntarily indicated that they have recently made such trips and are now in self-isolation, following the guidance of the Canadian and Ontario governments with respect to COVID-19. Accordingly, the Company has made the decision to temporarily suspend operations at the Rainy River Mine, for precautionary reasons for a period of fourteen days, consistent with this recommended period of self-isolation. The closure of Canada - United States border to all non-essential travel is imminent, so no additional members of the workforce are expected to be required to self-isolate. The suspension will continue to be assessed over the fourteen day period to determine when full or partial operations can be resumed in the safest possible environment for our employees. The Company does not anticipate making any adjustments to annual guidance for Rainy River.
During the next two weeks, the Rainy River Mine will maintain a minimum crew to monitor and maintain essential activities, ensure there is no impact to the environment and fully sanitize the mine site, camp, and mobile and fixed equipment to ensure the safest possible environment for our employees when operations resume. We will also continue to work on optimizing our plans for transport and employee accommodation to reflect the principals of social distancing and other guidance to prevent COVID-19.
The New Afton Mine continues to operate at normal levels with a minimal proportion of their workforce currently in self-isolation. The Company will continue to monitor this situation to ensure the ongoing safety of our New Afton team.
The Company has a comprehensive COVID-19 response plan in place and is monitoring the situation closely. Currently there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at any of our sites. The health and safety of our workforce and our communities remains our number one concern and we will support all initiatives that align with that objective.