Provides Inaugural Three-Year Operational Outlook and Updated Mineral Reserves and Resources
(All amounts are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise indicated)
New Gold Logo (CNW Group/New Gold Inc.)
TORONTO, Feb. 8, 2024 /CNW/ - New Gold Inc. ("New Gold" or the "Company") (TSX: NGD) (NYSE American: NGD) is pleased to provide its inaugural three-year operational outlook and updated Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resources statement for the Company as of December 31, 2023. The Company will host a webcast today at 12:30 pm Eastern Time to discuss these items (details are provided at the end of this news release). The Company uses certain non-GAAP financial performance measures throughout this release. Please refer to the "Non-GAAP Financial Performance Measures" section of this news release for more information. Numbered note references throughout this news release are to endnotes which can be found at the end of this news release.
Increasing Production and Decreasing Costs Highlight Strong Free Cash Flow Generation Over the Next Three Years
"With our inaugural presentation of three-year guidance, the Company has clearly defined the path forward to significant free cash flow generation," stated Patrick Godin, President and CEO. "This is underpinned by the work completed in recent years to prepare our operations for meaningful production and cash flow increases, as costs and capital spend decrease."
Consolidated gold production is expected to increase by approximately 35% from 2023 to 410,000 to 460,000 ounces in 2026 driven by increasing production profiles at both Rainy River and New Afton as growth projects are completed in the near-term.
Copper production is expected to increase by approximately 60% from 2023 to 71 to 81 million pounds in 2026 driven by the steady ramp-up of C-Zone.
All-in sustaining costs (on a by-product basis)1 are expected to decrease by over 50% compared to the 2023 midpoint of guidance to between $650 and $750 per ounce in 2026, driven by higher production at both operations, significant reduction in total capital, and lower operating costs as the C-Zone crusher and conveyor comes online, and Rainy River completes Phase 4 waste removal and commences mining from the underground Main Zone.
The higher production, lower costs, and lower capital spend over the next three years are expected to drive significant free cash flow2 for the Company.
2024 to See Realization of Growth Projects, With the Second Half to Highlight Free Cash Flow Generation Potential
"The Company is set to successfully complete a number of key catalysts in 2024, including reaching commercial production at New Afton's C-Zone, and first ore from Rainy River's underground Main Zone. Capital deployed in 2024, weighted to the first half of the year, will allow the Company to enter a sustained free cash flow generation period. In fact, at current commodity prices New Gold is expected to generate approximately $75 million in free cash flow in the second half of the year," added Mr. Godin.
2024 consolidated gold production is expected to be 310,000 to 350,000 ounces compared to 321,178 in 2023. Production is expected to strengthen in the second half of the year, with the second half of 2024 expected to represent approximately 60% of annual production as waste stripping at Rainy River is sequenced in the first half of the year.
2024 copper production is expected to be between 50 to 60 million pounds, approximately 16% higher than 2023 driven by increased contribution from C-Zone at New Afton.
2024 total cash costs (on a by-product basis)1 are expected to decrease by approximately 7% compared to the 2023 midpoint of guidance to between $725 and $825 per ounce driven by increased production from both operations.
2024 all-in sustaining costs (on a by-product basis)1 are expected to decrease by approximately 10% compared to the 2023 midpoint of guidance to between $1,240 and $1,340 per ounce driven by lower total cash costs, higher production from both operations and lower sustaining capital primarily related to waste stripping activities at Rainy River.
2024 total capital is expected to be in-line with the 2023 guidance range, as growth projects at both operations are brought online during the year.
Strategic Outlook Beyond 2026 Highlights Operational Sustainability and Longevity, with Minimal Capital Investment
"Looking beyond our three-year guidance, the Company has a strategic objective of targeting a sustainable production platform of approximately 600,000 gold equivalent ounces per year with a line of sight until at least 2030. Following the successful execution of operational stabilization initiatives and growth projects over the past two years, we are increasingly looking to unlock the long-term value of our operations. Based on Mineral Reserves alone, Rainy River and New Afton have mine lives to 2031 and 2030, respectively, and modest conversion of Mineral Resources to Mineral Reserves would not only extend mine lives but also improve the production profiles from 2027 to 2031 with minimal capital investment. The strategic outlook demonstrates our confidence in the sustainability of our operations" added Mr. Godin.
Rainy River successfully added 201,000 ounces of open pit and underground gold Mineral Reserves, replacing 2023 depletion by 74%. Extension of open pit mining, with the inclusion of Phase 5, is expected to maintain mill throughput near full capacity until at least 2030.
Following a detailed optimization of the Rainy River underground mining method, design and schedule, lateral development metres were reduced despite an increase in underground Mineral Reserves. As a result, the underground ramp-up period is
de-risked and the steady-state underground production rate is expected to increase to 5,500 tpd beginning in 2027.
Several high-quality open pit and underground exploration targets were identified in 2023, including the extension of existing zones and potential new zones. From 2017 to 2022, minimal exploration drilling was carried out at Rainy River, as the mine focused on ramping up production and stabilizing the operation. As such, several promising targets remain untested. In 2024, exploration at Rainy River will focus on drilling several of these targets from both surface and underground.
On October 10, 2023, the Company presented a strategic pipeline for increasing the production profile and extending mine life at New Afton, including the evaluation of three promising opportunities for conversion of Mineral Resources to Mineral Reserves: C-Zone Extension, East Extension, and D-Zone. As a result of infill drilling, a portion of Inferred Mineral Resources were converted to Measured and Indicated Resources at year-end.
Additionally, the Company reported encouraging drill results from two potential new mining zones: K-Zone and AI-Southeast. Development of an exploration drift is now underway which is anticipated to provide better access to drill these zones, speeding up exploration efforts. The first drill bay is expected to be operational by the second quarter of 2024, with full completion of the drift scheduled in the third quarter.
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