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Court says forced labor case against Nevsun can proceed in Canada

The British Columbia Supreme Court has allowed a lawsuit against Nevsun Resources Ltd. over forced labor at the company's Bisha zinc mine in Eritrea to proceed in British Columbia on an individual basis, the company said Oct. 6.

The court permitted the lawsuit by the six named plaintiffs to continue as separate cases, instead of as a representative action, as the charges filed by the plaintiffs differ from one another, Reuters reported the same day.

Nevsun's appeal to get the case dismissed, as well as its demand to have the lawsuit be heard in Eritrea instead of Canada, were rejected by the court.

A group of Canadian lawyers filed the court claim, alleging that the Eritreans worked for the Bisha mine between 2008 and 2012 while serving as conscripts for the Eritrean government.

Nevsun said it "remains confident" that its indirect 60%-owned Eritrean subsidiary, Bisha Mining Share Co., operates the Bisha mine "according to international standards of governance, workplace conditions, health, safety and human rights."

The company recently declared commercial production for zinc expansion at the Bisha mine, effective Oct. 1.