New Gold Exceeds 2008 Production Guidance and Provides 2009 Forecast

    (All figures are in US dollars unless otherwise stated)

    VANCOUVER, Jan. 22 /CNW/ - New Gold Inc. ("New Gold") (TSX and AMEX -
NGD) today announces fourth quarter gold production of 78,950 ounces and 2008
cumulative annual gold production of 272,046 ounces, exceeding previously
released guidance by 22,046 ounces. New Gold also provides its 2009
operational forecast.
    The 2008 production and cash cost information below includes results for
the period prior to the close of the business combination between New Gold,
Peak Gold Ltd. and Metallica Resources Inc. on June 30, 2008 and is based on
unaudited figures.


    -  Gold production of 272,046 ounces in 2008 compared to 239,687 ounces
       in 2007

    -  Total cash cost(1) of $576 per ounce for the fourth quarter for a
       total of $549 per ounce (net of by-product sales) for the full
       year 2008

    -  Cerro San Pedro mine in Mexico received the highest safety award
       granted from the Mexican Chamber of Mines ("CAMIMEX") for open pit
       operations with fewer than 500 employees, and achieved ISO 14001
       certification of its environmental management system

    -  El Morro, the development project in Chile, entered the permitting

    -  Full year gold production for 2009 is expected to be between 190,000
       and 210,000 ounces

    -  Total cash cost for 2009 is expected to be between $465 and $485 per
       ounce (net of by-product sales)

    -  Capital expenditures for 2009 are expected to be $107 million

    "New Gold exceeded production guidance for 2008 with excellent
operational performance at Peak Mines and Cerro San Pedro, despite challenging
markets and cost pressures. The company made some difficult decisions in 2008
in response to the uncertain market conditions and took the necessary steps to
strengthen our financial position and ensure that we are well positioned to
deliver on our growth strategy and guidance for 2009" said Robert Gallagher,
President and Chief Executive Officer.

    Operations Overview

    Cerro San Pedro

    Cerro San Pedro production for the fourth quarter was 21,231 gold ounces
and 290,520 silver ounces for a total of 84,561 gold ounces and 1.1 million
silver ounces in 2008. Comparative figures for full year 2007 are 26,799 gold
ounces and 406,592 silver ounces. Gold sales for the fourth quarter were
21,180 ounces for a total of 85,362 in 2008. Total cash cost for the fourth
quarter was $522 per ounce net of by-product sales and for the full year was
$438 per ounce net of by-product sales. Consistent with the mine plan and
previous guidance, cash cost was higher for the fourth quarter due to lower
gold and silver production and also as a result of increasing consumable
    In recognition of the operation's exemplary safety record in 2008, Cerro
San Pedro was awarded the prestigious "Casco de Plata" (the "Silver Hardhat")
from CAMIMEX. The award is granted to the safest mining operation in Mexico in
the category of open pit operations with fewer than 500 employees. Also,
during the fourth quarter, Cerro San Pedro's environmental management system
received recognition from the International Organization of Certification
achieving ISO 14001 status.
    In 2009, Cerro San Pedro is forecasting production of between 90,000 and
100,000 ounces of gold and between 1.1 million and 1.3 million ounces of
silver at an estimated cash cost of between $550 and $570 per ounce on a
by-product basis. Cash cost will be higher in 2009 primarily due to a higher
strip ratio and anticipated higher consumable costs. Capital expenditures in
2009 are expected to be approximately $2.8 million.

    Peak Mines

    Peak Mines production for the fourth quarter was 27,618 gold ounces and
2.47 million pounds of copper in the fourth quarter for a total of 100,493
gold ounces and 8.25 million pounds of copper for the year. Comparative
figures for 2007 are 116,488 gold ounces and 7.5 million pounds of copper.
Gold sales in the fourth quarter were 28,815 ounces for a total of 102,928
ounces in 2008. Peak Mines achieved record mill throughput in 2008 of 768,727
tonnes compared to 709,230 tonnes in 2007 reflecting improved efficiencies in
both mine and process operating practices. Peak Mines achieved a milestone in
2008 producing its two millionth ounce of gold since the commissioning of the
mine. Total cash cost for the fourth quarter was $624 per ounce net of
by-product sales and for the full year was $477 per ounce net of by-product
sales. Total cash cost was higher net of by-product sales due to lower than
anticipated copper revenues and the impact of the significant decrease in
copper price through the quarter. In Australian dollar terms, unit operating
costs per tonne for 2008 were only 8% higher than for 2007, despite
significantly unfavourable currency movement.
    In 2009, Peak Mines is forecasting production of between 90,000 and
100,000 ounces of gold and between 13 million and 15 million pounds of copper.
Cash cost is expected to decrease to the range of $370 to $390 per ounce net
of by-product sales due to the significantly higher copper production
associated with the transition to the Chesney and Perseverance ore bodies.
Capital expenditures in 2009 are expected to be approximately $24.5 million,
which includes $1.1 million in capitalized exploration.


    Amapari gold production for the fourth quarter was 30,101 ounces for a
total of 86,992 ounces in 2008 compared to 96,400 ounces in 2007. Gold sales
for the fourth quarter were 28,199 ounces for a total of 87,411 ounces in
2008. Gold sales decreased year over year due to lower grades, fewer tonnes
placed on the leach pads and increased amounts of hard transition ore. Total
cash cost for the fourth quarter was $568 per ounce for a total of $748 per
ounce in 2008. Total cash cost decreased significantly in the fourth quarter
due to higher metal production resulting from improved equipment maintenance
and fleet availability.
    With the deepening of the pits and associated increase in amount of
transitional ore, recent operating improvements would not have been
sustainable. As a result, New Gold made the decision to place the mine on care
and maintenance. New Gold is undertaking a Preliminary Economic Assessment to
evaluate the economics of developing the existing oxide and underlying
sulphide resources with a conventional crush/grind/CIL mill. It is expected
that this study will be completed in the first quarter of 2009. New Gold will
also investigate other strategic alternatives for the Amapari operation.
    Production in 2009 will be limited to the leaching of gold from the
previously stacked ore, which is expected to yield between 10,000 and 12,000
ounces. All environmental monitoring and on-going remediation programs will
continue during this period and beyond, as will on-going exploration programs
on New Gold's concessions at Amapari.

    New Afton and El Morro Development Projects

    On November 12, 2008, New Gold extended the development timeline at its
New Afton project to preserve cash until the required funding to complete the
project is secured. New Gold is continuing with underground development to the
base of the ore body, including conversion to owner-operator mining crews. New
Afton is completing the erection of the mill building and taking delivery of
the long lead equipment previously ordered. The current development schedule
has full production commencing in the second half of 2012, a 16 month delay
from the original, fast track schedule. In 2009, expenditures at New Afton are
expected to be approximately $78.5 million, which includes $19.3 million in
interest payments.
    The El Morro project entered the permitting stage with the submission of
the Environmental Impact Study in the fourth quarter of 2008. It is
anticipated that the permit will be obtained within 12 to 18 months.
    In summary, the fourth quarter operating performance for both Peak Mines
and Amapari were excellent with record mill throughput at Peak Mines and
significant cash cost reductions at Amapari. Overall operating performance in
2008 at Cerro San Pedro was notable in its first full year of operation; gold
production was lower in the fourth quarter due to planned mining of lower
grade ore. Consolidated total cash cost, net of by-product sales, was
adversely impacted in the fourth quarter and for the year due to lower
production and prices of by-product copper and silver.

    2009 Guidance

    New Gold is forecasting 2009 gold production of between 190,000 and
210,000 ounces at a cash cost between $465 and $485 per ounce net of
by-product sales.
    Assumptions used in the 2009 forecast include gold, copper and silver
prices of $750 per ounce, $2.00 per pound and $10.00 per ounce, respectively,
and Canadian dollar, Australian dollar and Mexican peso exchange rates of
$0.90, $0.70 and $12.00 to the U.S. dollar, respectively.
    For each operation, 2008 actual gold production and 2009 forecast gold
production are as follows:

                            2008                         2009 Forecast
    Mine                    Gold Production              Gold Production
    Cerro San Pedro         84,561                       90,000-100,000
    Peak Mines              100,493                      90,000-100,000
    Amapari                 86,992                       10,000-12,000
    Total                   272,046                      190,000-210,000

    Capital expenditures for 2009 are expected to be approximately $107
million with $78.5 million (including capitalized interest) allocated to
continued development of the New Afton project and $24.5 million allocated to
Peak Mines. Expensed exploration for 2009 is expected to be approximately $6.2
million. Corporate general and administration costs are expected to be
approximately $13.7 million.

    Conference Call-in Details

    New Gold's year-end financial results are expected to be released on
March 17, 2009, followed by a conference call at 1:00pm ET to discuss these
results. Anyone may join the call by dialing toll free 1-888-789-9572 or
+1-416-695-7806 to access the call from outside Canada or the U.S. You can
listen to a recorded playback of the call after the event until April 14, 2009
by dialing 1-800-408-3053 or +1-416-695-5800 for calls outside Canada and the
U.S. Passcode No. 3281215.

    New Gold is an intermediate gold mining company with operating assets in
Mexico and Australia and two development projects in Canada and Chile. For
further information on New Gold, please visit our website at


    Certain information contained in this press release, including any
information relating to New Gold's future financial or operating performance,
may be deemed "forward looking". All statements in this press release, other
than statements of historical fact, that address events or developments that
New Gold expects to occur, are "forward-looking statements". Forward-looking
statements are statements that are not historical facts and are generally, but
not always, identified by the words "expects", "does not expect", "plans",
"anticipates", "does not anticipate", "believes", "intends", "estimates",
"projects", "potential", "scheduled", "forecast", "budget" and similar
expressions, or that events or conditions "will", "would", "may", "could",
"should" or "might" occur. All such forward-looking statements are subject to
important risk factors and uncertainties, many of which are beyond New Gold's
ability to control or predict. Forward-looking statements are necessarily
based on estimates and assumptions that are inherently subject to known and
unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause New Gold's
actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to be
materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking
statements. Such factors include, without limitation: the results of the
preliminary economic assessment assessing the viability of a new process
facility at Amapari; New Gold's operations are subject to significant capital
requirements; fluctuations in the international currency markets and in the
rates of exchange of the currencies of Canada, the United States, Australia,
Brazil, Mexico and Chile; price volatility in the spot and forward markets for
commodities; impact of any hedging activities, including margin limits and
margin calls; discrepancies between actual and estimated production, between
actual and estimated reserves and resources and between actual and estimated
metallurgical recoveries; changes in national and local government legislation
in Canada, the United States, Australia, Brazil, Mexico and Chile or any other
country in which New Gold currently or may in the future carry on business;
taxation; controls, regulations and political or economic developments in the
countries in which New Gold does or may carry on business; the speculative
nature of mineral exploration and development, including the risks of
obtaining necessary licenses and permits; diminishing quantities or grades of
reserves; competition; loss of key employees; additional funding requirements;
actual results of current exploration or reclamation activities; changes in
project parameters as plans continue to be refined; accidents; labour
disputes; defective title to mineral claims or property or contests over
claims to mineral properties. In addition, there are risks and hazards
associated with the business of mineral exploration, development and mining,
including environmental hazards, industrial accidents, unusual or unexpected
formations, pressures, cave-ins, flooding and gold bullion losses (and the
risk of inadequate insurance or inability to obtain insurance, to cover these
risks) as well as "Risks and Uncertainties" included in New Gold's MD&A filed
on November 12, 2008, and available at Forward-looking
statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results and
future events could materially differ from those anticipated in such
statements. All of the forward-looking statements contained in this press
release are qualified by these cautionary statements. New Gold expressly
disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking
statements, whether as a result of new information, events or otherwise,
except in accordance with applicable securities laws.

    (1) CASH COST

    "Total cash cost" figures are calculated in accordance with a standard
developed by The Gold Institute, which was a worldwide association of
suppliers of gold and gold products and included leading North American gold
producers. The Gold Institute ceased operations in 2002, but the standard is
the accepted standard of reporting cash cost of production in North America.
Adoption of the standard is voluntary and the cost measures presented may not
be comparable to other similarly titled measures of other companies. New Gold
reports total cash cost on a sales basis. Total cash cost includes mine site
operating costs such as mining, processing, administration, royalties and
production taxes, but is exclusive of amortization, reclamation, capital and
exploration costs. Total cash cost is then divided by ounces sold to arrive at
the total cash cost of sales. The measure, along with sales, is considered to
be a key indicator of a company's ability to generate operating earnings and
cash flow from its mining operations. This data is furnished to provide
additional information and is a non-GAAP measure. It should not be considered
in isolation as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in
accordance with GAAP and is not necessarily indicative of operating costs
presented under GAAP.

For further information:

For further information: Mélanie Hennessey, Vice President, Investor
Relations, New Gold Inc., Direct: (604) 639-0022, Toll-free: (888) 315-9715,
Email:, Website:

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890