ANALYSIS: Liability: how a new court ruling could put Canadian miners in the dock – by Matthew Hall (Mining Technology – June 17, 2020)

In a 5-4 decision back in February 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada gave the green light to Canadian courts to develop new forms of civil liability based on alleged breaches of customary international law.

We speak to McMillan LLP litigation partner and international arbitration co-chair Robert Wisner to find out what the implications of this decision are, and what the landmark case could mean for Canadian mining companies.

Nevsun Resources was a Canadian diversified mining company that was acquired by the Chinese Zijin Mining Group in 2018. One of Nevsun’s principal assets, the Bisha zinc-copper mine in Eritrea, is the subject of the case Nevsun Resources Ltd. v. Araya. Construction began on the Bisha mine in 2008, using workers from the country’s National Service Program.

The plaintiffs, three Eritrean workers who arrived at the mine between 2008 and 2010, allege that they were forced to work at least 12 hours a day, six days a week, in temperatures close to 50°C. The plaintiffs also allege that they were subject to abuse while working at the mine.

For the rest of this article: