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Canadian mining company denies human rights abuses

VANCOUVER – A Vancouver-based mining company says allegations of human rights violations at the Bisha open pit mine in northeastern Africa are unfounded and it will defend itself from a civil suit filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Thursday.

Nevsun Resources Ltd. (TSX:NSU) says it denies allegations against the company and its local contractor by three refugees who say they were victims of human rights abuses including forced labour at the Bisha mine.

Nevsun has a 60 per cent ownership stake in the copper and gold mining operation in Eritrea.

The Canadian company’s chief executive, Cliff Davis, says that audits by the company and third parties indicate that the Bisha mine has always met international standards for workplace conditions, health and safety.

One of the lawyers for the plaintiffs (Gize Araya, Kesete Fshazion and Mihretab Tekle) says the three men are not in Canada but filed the suit in British Columbia because it’s the only place they have a chance of getting access to justice.

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Their claims have yet to be tested in court.