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Commentary: Canadian Nevsun ruling has big implications for human rights cases

"Legal contents: What the Nevsun human rights case means for other Canadian miners", 6 May 2020

A recent Supreme Court decision pertaining to Nevsun Resources could have big implications for other Canadian mining companies with foreign operations, opening them up to human rights claims stemming from their operations abroad.

The lawsuit against Nevsun, Nevsun vs. Araya, alleges that the company was complicit in the use of forced labour by a sub-contractor at its Bisha copper-zinc mine in Eritrea. Nevsun, which was acquired in late 2018 by Zijin Mining Group, denies the allegations.

... the decision has opened companies up new types of claims based on a novel legal theory that has never been tested in a final court decision...

...This doesn’t mean that this new way of looking at corporate liability will actually stand up in court – it remains to be tested when the Nevsun suit is heard...

In addition to that Wisner says due diligence on social, environmental and human rights risks is essential when completing acquisitions of companies in affected areas.

And for companies that do have operations in countries with higher human rights risks, it is important to take corporate social responsibility policies seriously.

Part of the following stories

Eritrea: UN has received reports of use of forced labour at Nevsun's mine from "numerous sources"; includes company's comments

Canadian court allows lawsuit against Nevsun for forced labour in Eritrea mine to continue

Canada: Supreme Court rules Canadian courts can hear case against Nevsun Resources for human rights abuses allegedly committed in Eritrea