New Gold has secured approval from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency for its 100% owned C$1.8bn ($1.3bn) Blackwater Gold Project in British Columbia.

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna announced that the proposed project can now proceed after considering the environmental assessment report and comments received from the public and indigenous groups.

Prior to this, an environmental assessment process that was carried out concluded that Blackwater Gold Project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects when mitigation measures are considered.

The approval allows New Gold to proceed with obtaining any additional authorisations, as well as permits from federal departments.

“We are helping create economic growth and nearly 2,000 jobs for the community.”

Comprising the construction, operation and closure of an open-pit gold and silver mine 110km south-west of Vanderhoof, the Blackwater Gold Project is expected to create up to 1,500 jobs during construction.

A total of 495 jobs will also be created during operations.

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McKenna said: “By evaluating this project based on science and indigenous knowledge, and putting in place legally binding measures that will protect the environment, we are helping create economic growth and nearly 2,000 jobs for the community.”

New Gold received the approval with 172 conditions, which are required to be met by the company during the mine’s construction and operation. This is aimed at reducing or eliminating potential environmental harm.

Furthermore, the measures are aimed at protecting wetlands, fish and fish habitat, migratory birds, the current use of lands and resources by indigenous groups, among others.

The Blackwater Gold Project is expected to produce 60,000tpd of gold and silver ore over a mine life of 17 years.