|Industry||Metals and Mining products|
|Ian Pearce, Chairman |
Peter Kukielski, CEO
Ryan MacWilliam, CFO
|Products||Copper, gold and zinc|
Nevsun Resources Ltd. is a Canadian, diversified mid-tier miner with a portfolio of base metal assets to drive growth. The Company is headquartered in Vancouver, BC. Nevsun’s common shares trade on the TSX and NYSE American under the trading symbol “NSU”. The Company’s three principal assets are its ownership interest in the Timok Project, a high-grade copper-gold development project in Serbia, its Bisha zinc-copper Mine in Eritrea, and its strong balance sheet. The Company also holds a number of additional exploration licences and permits in Serbia, Macedonia and in the Bisha mining district.
The Timok Project was acquired through the acquisition of Reservoir Minerals Inc on June 23, 2016 and is a joint venture (“JV”) between Nevsun and Freeport-McMoRan Exploration Corporation (“Freeport”). The JV is conducting exploration on both the Upper Zone and Lower Zone of the Timok Project. The Company is currently the operator of the project and will advance the development of both the Upper Zone and the Lower Zone. The Company will fund 100% of the Upper Zone development costs and is funding the first $20 million of agreed Lower Zone work. The Company and Freeport will fund additional Lower Zone work pursuant to the terms of its joint venture arrangement based on their respective ownership interests in the Lower Zone. After delivery of a feasibility study on either the Upper Zone or Lower Zone, Freeport's ownership in the Lower Zone will increase to 54% from its current 40%. The Company will then own 100% of the Upper Zone and 46% of the Lower Zone. The Company and Freeport will be entitled to their pro-rata share of the economic benefits of the Lower Zone and the Company will be entitled to 100% of the economic benefits of the Upper Zone. From the date of acquisition through March 31, 2018, the Company has incurred $19,552 of agreed Lower Zone work.
The Bisha Mine is a Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide (“VMS”) deposit which has been in production since February 2011. The first phase of the mine included gold production from February 2011 to June 2013, which allowed for an early payback of pre-production capital and funding of the supergene phase expansion. Commissioning of the copper flotation plant at the Bisha Mine commenced in late June 2013 and commercial production was achieved in December 2013. Mining copper ore from the supergene phase ceased during Q2 2016. Commissioning of the zinc plant commenced in early June 2016 and commercial production was achieved in October 2016. The Company is now in the primary phase of the mineral deposit at the Bisha Mine and will continue to produce both zinc and copper in concentrate through to the end of the mine life, which is projected to the end of 2021.
Nevsun Resources Ltd. has a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program at the Bisha Mine and the company has been producing annual reports since 2011 based on the Global Reporting Initiative standards. The Company’s CSR program focuses on corporate governance, employment and training, human rights, land acquisition & resettlement, environmental restoration, health and safety, human rights and community investment. The Company’s CSR priorities are based on annual materiality exercises with stakeholder consultation to determine priority areas. Some of the notable CSR accomplishments to date have been no fatalities since commencing construction of the Bisha Mine, +90% of the workforce consisting of local workers including half of the senior management team, three independent and fully transparent reports on human rights audits undertaken at the Bisha Mine and a preliminary independent human rights study to be completed at the Timok Project in Serbia in mid-2018. The Company has also carried out considerable training of its local private security forces at the Bisha Mine in the Voluntary Principles on Security & Human Rights. The Company has an ongoing community investment program which provides monies and equipment usage in a directed way towards national government planning priorities in Eritrea with respect to sustainable community infrastructure projects centred on enhancing local water accessibility and supply to enhance local food production. In Serbia, the Company has a community investment program centred around building local skills capacity for the purposes of economic diversification, as well as donations to communities and charitable organizations near the project area. The Company undertakes an annual environmental river clean-up exercise in partnership with the nearby communities and environmental groups for the purposes of removing garbage and debris from the Bor River.
The Company has an extensive international stakeholder engagement strategy and meets semi-regularly face to face with various government officials in the West, foreign embassy communities based in Eritrea and Serbia, investors, ethical advisory organizations, international organizations, media, NGOs, and Eritrean diaspora organizations to provide an update on its business activities, and CSR programs including its ongoing human rights due diligence initiatives. The Company also speaks at various forums on its 20 years of working experience inside Eritrea and its perception of the on the ground reality versus what is conveyed in various external reports.
Human rights violations
In November 2014, three former employees of the Bisha Mine filed a civil suit in British Columbia against Nevsun Resources for complicity in torture, forced labour, slavery, and crimes against humanity.
Company CEO Cliff Davis responded saying: "We are confident that the allegations are unfounded. Based on various company-led and third party audits, the Bisha Mine has adhered at all times to international standards of governance, workplace conditions, and health and safety. We are committed to ensuring that the Bisha Mine is managed in a safe and responsible manner that respects the interests of local communities, workers, national governance, stakeholders, and the natural environment.". Nevsun has previously received criticism from Human Rights Watch for failing to exercise proper human rights due-diligence when engaging with a country where forced labour is allegedly practiced.
A Human Rights Watch report released in January 2013 found that Nevsun Resources failed to take the risks of forced labour seriously and then struggled to address allegations of abuse connected to its company’s Bisha mine in Eritrea. Eritrea’s government maintains a “national service” program that conscripts Eritreans into prolonged and indefinite terms of forced labor, generally under abusive conditions. It is through this forced labor program that mining companies run the most direct risk of involvement in the Eritrean government’s human rights violations.
In 2016, the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that the case against Nevsun can proceed in the Canadian courts. The decision was upheld on appeal to the British Columbia Court of Appeal in November 2017. On January 26, 2018, Nevsun sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
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- geeskadmin (14 May 2014). "Canadian Mine in Eritrea had been built Partly by Defacto Slaves - Geeska Afrika Online". Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- "Hear No Evil". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
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- "Nevsun appeals to Canada Supreme Court in Eritreans' forced labor lawsuit". Reuters. 26 January 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2016.