We continually refine our activities to meet the highest ethical standards, including the proper treatment of all stakeholders associated with our operations and will persist in updating our policies and procedures to reflect this commitment.
Nevsun integrates the respect for human rights into its Code of Ethics, its operational policies and procedures, and in its operations. Our approach to human rights is evolving and ongoing and we are committed to international principles and guidance, as well as integrating the recommendations from our recently completed Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA).
All of our recruitment procedures conform with Eritrean Law. As such the BMSC Human Resources and Employment Plan (the “HRE Plan”) has policies and procedures in place to protect against underage workers at its operations and only employs persons that are 18 years of age and older. Additionally, a formal identification card, a prerequisite for employment at the Bisha Mine, can only be granted once an Eritrean citizen reaches the age of 18.
Specific to our Bisha operation, and in accordance with Eritrean Law, the HRE Plan also mandates that all applicants hired must demonstrate that they have been cleared from the Eritrean National Service Program. Both our contractors and subcontractors are in compliance with this documentation process, which is audited on a regular basis.
A small number of Government of Eritrea and student demobilized workers are given the opportunity each year to take on a secondment at the Bisha Mine. This provides an opportunity for them to acquire real world operator experience in the mining sector and to work for a private organization at a much higher rate of pay over a period of six months before returning back to their regular employer. Those electing to select this option must freely sign-off on their willingness to join our workforce at their choosing for a specified period of time.
During 2014, we did not receive any formal human rights grievances or identify any issues of non-compliance in respect to the use of national conscripts.
A lawsuit was filed against Nevsun in November 2014 in the B.C. Supreme Court by three individuals who claim to have once worked with a local subcontractor at the Bisha Mine. The lawsuit makes human rights allegations against Nevsun and its local subcontractor. Nevsun denies the allegations and will vigorously defend itself against the claim.
The security standard at Nevsun’s operation is designed to assess risks and protect the Company’s people and assets in a manner which minimizes conflict and respects the human rights of its stakeholders. We ensure our security is managed in a way that respects and protects human rights, avoids creating and or escalating conflict, and addresses security threats in as peaceful a way as possible. Our security services are provided by a local Eritrean contractor and 100% of its employees are required to receive regular training in security protocols and procedures, which includes aspects of human rights including harassment, discrimination, and cultural awareness. We have adopted the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and implemented numerous policies to ensure all employees, contractors, and subcontractors are treated with dignity and respect at all times. In conjunction with the HRIA, Nevsun has embarked on a program to ensure its security contractor and relevant BMSC managers will meet on an annual basis to discuss the Company’s obligations with respect to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.