Nevsun Resources

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Nevsun Resources
Public company
Traded as
Industry Metals and Mining products
Headquarters Vancouver, BC, Canada
Key people
R. Stuart (Tookie) Angus, Chair
Cliff Davis, President & CEO
Tom Wheelan, CFO
Products copper, gold and zinc

Nevsun Resources Ltd. (TSXNSU) (NYSE MKTNSU) is a Canadian, mid-tier, copper-producing,[1] mining company headquartered in Vancouver, BC.[2] Initially founded as an exploration company in 1965,[3] the company did not explore Africa until the mid-1990s.[4] Nevsun’s first African projects were the Kubi Project in Ghana and the Tabakoto Mine in Mali.[4] They were both sold and Nevsun shifted focus to its current asset, the Bisha Mine in Eritrea in 2008.[5][6] The Bisha mine entered production in February 2011 as a gold producer and transitioned to commercial copper production in 2013.[7]

Nevsun pays a quarterly dividend of C$0.04 per common share[8] and is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the NYSE Market Exchange (formerly the American Stock Exchange).[9] Nevsun is included in the S&P/TSX Composite Index.[10]

In 2016 Nevsun produced 55.8 million pounds of copper at a C1 cash cost of $1.04 per payable pound sold. The Company also sold 90,000 gold equivalent ounces from stockpiles and produced 90.2 million pounds of zinc concentrate. [11]

In Q1 2017 Nevsun produced 3.3 million pounds of copper and 51.9 million pounds of zinc concentrate. [12]


The Bisha mine in Eritrea is a large VMS deposit rich with precious and base metal located 150 km west of Asmara, Eritrea, that is expected to produce gold, silver, copper and zinc over its 13-year mine life.[13] The Bisha property is a volcanogenic massive sulfide deposit with distinct layers of mineralization.[14] Discovered in January 2003, construction began in September 2008 and the first gold was poured at the end of December 2010.[15] Gold was the primary metal in the top layer and from the start of commercial production in late 2011 until mid-2013, Bisha produced gold-silver doré.[16] By mid-2013 the mine had worked through the gold-silver layer and was into the second layer of mineralization, copper.[17] The copper facility achieved commercial production in December 2013.[18] The third layer of mineralization is copper/zinc and commercial production of zinc is expected to start in 2016.[19] Bisha’s mine area covers 46.5 km².[20] The Property comprises two mining licences covering an area of 24.0 km², (16.5 km² for Bisha Main and the Northwest Zones and 7.5 km² for Harena), and the 54.8 km² Mogaraib River Exploration License. Nevsun purchased the Mogaraib River Exploration License from NGEx Resources in 2012.[21]


The Bisha Deposit[edit]

The Neoproterozoic Bisha volcanogenic massive sulfide ore deposit (VMS) is a large 9.39 million metric tons zinc-copper-silver-gold deposit in district in western Eritrea.[14] The site comprises a large, perhaps coeval and cogenetic intrusion known as the Bisha Gabbroic Complex, and s series of mafic to felsic tuffs with small flows and small sedimentary rocks in the proximal footwall, and felsic flows, fine tuffs, and volcanic-derived siliclastic rocks in the upsection. The other two VMS deposits are present along strike: Bisha Northwest, 1.5 km to north-northwest, and Harena, 9.5 km to the south-southwest; additionally, a large, lower grade VMS deposit, Hambok, is present about 15 km to the southwest.

The oxidation and supergene advancement have led to the development of four mineralogically and spatially distinct ore types or zones. The hematite-goethite-quartz gossan, from 0- to ~30-m depth, has high gold, silver, and lead contents, with native gold, argentiferous gold, electrum, anglesite, and lesser cerussite. The kaolinite-quartz-sulfate zone occurs at ~25- to 35- m depth, and also is enriched in gold, silver, and lead, and has the same ore mineralogy as the gossan; additionally it has minor chalcocite and minor to trace amounts of unusual zinc-lead-iron carbonate and sulfate minerals. The supergene sulfide zone is present from about 35 to 65 m in depth and has significant copper enrichment, with predominantly chalcocite, and lesser digenite, covellite, and bornite, along with pyrite, minor pyrrhotite, anglesite, and gangue minerals. The primary massive sulfide, from ~65- to more than 450-m depth, has a noteworthy deposit of zinc-rich ore and a typical VMS sulfide assemblage of pyrite, sphalerite, chalcopyrite, and minor to trace galena, pyrrhotite, tetrahedrite, tennantite, arsenopyrite, baryte, and gangue.

Deposit geology[edit]

The host rocks of the Bisha deposit are, for the most part, felsic and intermediate lapilli, ash, and crystal (fine- to medium-grained feldspar, quartz, biotite locally hornblende) ash tuffs that are variably altered. Minor feldspar and quart-feldspar felsic flows and flow breccias are present only to the west of the deposit. Generally the volcanic host rocks are difficult to correlate over distances of greater than 50 m in drill core, due to their inconsistencies in texture and thickness and the overprinting hydrothermal alteration. It is not possible to correlate footwall tuff beds to surface exposures due to the accentuation of penetrative fabrics in these hydrothermally altered and oxidized rocks at surface. Within the drill core, several units have distinctive mafic and felsic juvenile fragments, and these units correlate for up to 250 m. Felsic dikes, up to 5 m thick, are present in drill core but comprise <5 percent of the footwall and hanging-wall rocks. These dikes have up to 25 percent feldspar, quartz, and biotite phenocrysts and are generally fine grained. In the structural hanging wall to the west, massive felsic flows and flow breccias are present at thicknesses of up to 60 m.[22]

The Bisha VMS deposit is a single sheet of massive sulfide up to 70 m in thickness that has been folded and partly tipped along a north-trending, steeply west ]]Strike and dip|dipping]] axis. The eastern lens is on the eastern limb of the fold, while the western lenses are on the opposite western fold limb. These two lenses are separated by erosion and surface oxidation processes. However, sulfide is continuous over the fold nose locally and oxidized material links them for several hundred meters in the central part of the deposit. The surface expression of the northern half of the Bisha deposit is manifested as important hematite-goethite-quartz gossans up to 25 m wide and extending for tens to hundreds of meters.

The eastern lens is a nearly continuous sheet for over 1.2 km that faces west and dips 65° to 70° to the west. Some of the evidence for a westerly facing direction are:

  • Primary (e.g., below the oxidized zone) massive sulfide is generally enriched in zinc to the west, reflecting the common enrichment of zinc at the tops of massive sulfide lenses;
  • Strong chlorite alteration and sulfide stringer mineralization in felsic tuffs are ubiquitous and strong to the east and much less plentiful west of the primary sulfide in the eastern lens at depth;
  • Barium enrichment is much more common in the tuffs west of the primary sulfide of the eastern lens at depth. The deepest drill holes in the southern half of the eastern lens have layered massive sulfide with high zinc contents and zinc/copper ratios over two separate 5- to 10-m intervals, suggesting arranged massive sulfide lenses in this area.

The primary characteristics of the shallower western lenses are less clear due to near-surface oxidation and their unusual geometry. Zinc has been largely removed from the sulfide, and coper, lead, silver and gold are sporadically enriched by near surface supergene and oxidation processes. A few deeper massive sulfide intersections in the western lenses have zinc enriched near the base of the lens, evoking that the western lens faces east, on the other side of an overturned synform from the eastern lens. Barium enrichment in tuffs consistently occurs at depth and east of the western lens but is generally absent to the west of the western lens. This is consistent with barium disposition above the massive sulfide lens after massive sulfide formation and prior to deformation.

Social responsibility[edit]

Nevsun Resources Ltd. has a corporate social responsibility program at the Bisha Mine and the company has been producing annual reports since 2011 based on the Global Reporting Initiative standards. Their program focuses on corporate governance, employment and training of local Eritreans, land restoration, health and safety, and community. The company’s corporate social responsibility priorities are based on annual materiality exercises with stakeholder consultation to determine annual priority areas. Some of the notable accomplishments since 2013 have been no lost time injuries for 17.1 million man hours, 91% of the employee base are local Eritreans, and 28% (USD 57 million) was spent on local procurement. Environmental reclamation is incorporated in the company’s ongoing operational activities versus addressing such issues during the mine closure planning. The company indicated in its 2013 CSR report that it had rehabilitated approximately 24.6 HA of land of the 600 HA that have been disturbed since construction began in 2008.[23] In response to allegations of forced labour, Nevsun commissioned an independent human rights impact assessment in 2013/2014 and have shared the results of this study with stakeholders and requested input. The company has committed to providing an update with respect to implementation of the study’s recommendations in Q2 2015.

Human rights violations[edit]

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.[24][25][26] 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.".[27][28]

Nevsun has previously received criticism[29] 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.[30] 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.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nevsun Resources". BCBusiness. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  2. ^ "Nevsun Resources Ltd (NSU.A)". Reuters. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "Nevsun Resources Ltd (NSU:Consolidated Issues Listed On NYSE MKT LLC)". Bloomberg. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Davidson, Staci. "Nevsun Resources Ltd.". EMI-Magazine. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "PMI Gold Acquires Nevsun's Kubi Gold Project, Ghana". Asanko. 15 October 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  6. ^ "Nevsun sells Mali stakes". The Vancouver Province. 26 March 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  7. ^ "Copper expansion project at Bisha is completed". The Economist Intelligence Unit. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  8. ^ "Nevsun Resources Ltd Dividend Date & History". NASDAQ. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "Nevsun Resources LTD. (NYSE MKT:NSU)". NYSE. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  10. ^ "TMX Indices". TMX Money. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  11. ^ "Nevsun Resources Announces 2016 Results; Provides 2017 Outlook and Redeploys $120 Million to Fund Timok". Retrieved 2017-02-24. 
  12. ^ "Nevsun Resources Announces Q1 2017 Results; Continues to Rapidly Advance Timok Project". Retrieved 2017-04-27. 
  13. ^ "Bisha". InfoMine. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  14. ^ a b Barrie, C. Tucker; Nielsen, F. William; Aussant, Claude H. "The Bisha Volcanic-Associated Massive Sulfide Deposit, Western Nakfa Terrane, Eritrea" (PDF). Economic Geology. 102: 717–738. doi:10.2113/gsecongeo.102.4.717. 
  15. ^ "Nevsun Boosts Bisha Reserves". Creamer Media. Mining Weekly. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  16. ^ "Nevsun's coffers swell as it shifts Bisha to copper". The Northern Miner. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  17. ^ Preston, Gwen (29 May 2013). "Nevsun optimistic about new zone near Bisha". Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  18. ^ Lazenby, Henry (3 December 2013). "Nevsun declares commercial copper production from Eritrea flagship". Mining Weekly. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  19. ^ "BMO looks for leverage to soaring zinc price". Mining Markets. 17 July 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  20. ^ "InfoMine - Bisha". InfoMine. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  21. ^ "NGEx Sells Hambok Project in Eritrea to Bisha Mining Share Company". NGEx Resources. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  22. ^ "Bisha, Harena resources increased – Nevsun". Mining Weekly. 3 February 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  23. ^ "Nevsun Releases 2013 Corporate Social Responsibility Report". Nevsun Resources. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  24. ^ "There are many good reasons for takeover interest in Nevsun — and one really big downside". Retrieved 5 August 2016. 
  25. ^ "Ex-Workers Claim Horrendous Abuse At Mine Owned By B.C. Firm". Retrieved 5 August 2016. 
  26. ^ "Canadian Mining Company Nevsun Resources Accused of Complicity in Torture, Slavery, and Crimes against Humanity in New Lawsuit - Business Wire". Retrieved 5 August 2016. 
  27. ^ "Nevsun Resources (T.NSU) faces allegations of human rights abuses in B.C. court-T.NSU-Stockhouse news". Retrieved 5 August 2016. 
  28. ^ geeskadmin (14 May 2014). "Canadian Mine in Eritrea had been built Partly by Defacto Slaves - Geeska Afrika Online". Retrieved 5 August 2016. 
  29. ^ "Hear No Evil". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  30. ^ "Nevsun accused of turning blind eye to forced labour". Retrieved 5 August 2016. 
  31. ^ "Eritrea: Mining Investors Risk Use of Forced Labor". 15 January 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2016. 

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