The Supreme Court of Canada says a human-rights lawsuit against a Canadian mining company can be heard in British Columbia, even though it involves events in Africa.
The high court ruled today against B.C.-based Nevsun Resources (TSX:NSU), which had argued the claim should not proceed because a Canadian court could not decide the legality of acts by foreign states.
Refugees from Eritrea in eastern Africa allege they were forced to work at a gold mine controlled by subsidiaries of Nevsun and Eritrean state companies.
They contend construction of the mine flouted international legal provisions against forced labour, slavery and torture — accusations that have not been tested in court.
Nevsun denies that the company or a subsidiary enlisted the Eritrean military to build the mine or supply labour, and says the refugees behind the court action were not mistreated.
B.C. courts dismissed Nevsun’s attempts to make Eritrea the forum for any lawsuit proceedings.
The Canadian Press