The Supreme Court of Canada heard oral arguments on Wednesday in a historic case that could have broad legal ramifications for any domestic company that operates abroad.
At issue is whether a group of African refugees has the right to sue former Canadian base metals miner Nevsun Resources Ltd. in Canada for alleged human-rights abuses overseas. (Vancouver-based Nevsun was recently acquired by Chinese company, Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. for $1.9-billion.)
The case was launched a number of years ago in the B.C. Supreme Court by three Eritrean refugees who accused Nevsun of violating international law pertaining to forced labour, slavery and torture during the construction of its Bisha mine in Eritrea from 2008 to 2010.
The individuals say they were conscripted under Eritrea’s national service program to work for state-controlled entities that built the mine under a contract from Nevsun. (Nevsun owns a 60-per-cent stake in Bisha with the remainder held by the Eritrean government.)
Nevsun has argued that the case should be heard only in Eritrea and not in Canada. Two lower B.C. courts already have ruled in favour of the refugees. The B.C. Court of Appeal ruled against Nevsun in part because of the lack of a functioning court system in Eritrea.
For the rest of this article: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-supreme-court-to-decide-whether-canadas-nevsun-can-be-sued-in-canada/