Corporate Social Responsibility is a key component of Nevsun’s strategy. The Bisha Mine continues to be an international and national success story. We are proud of the fact that the economic benefits from the Bisha Mine are being shared by both our shareholders and the Eritrean people. It is what we promised when we reached our first mining agreement with the Eritrean Government back in 2007.
We believe that our commitment to delivering on the economic undertakings, and the promises we made to our employees and the local communities, are essential to maintain our social license to operate in Eritrea. We are confident that additional value will be shared with our stakeholders as we grow our business both within Eritrea and internationally.
In 2014, we undertook several measures to advance our corporate social responsibility program at the Bisha Mine. The independent Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) at Bisha was one of the most important steps taken by the Company on corporate social responsibility. The results of the assessment were shared transparently with all of our stakeholders. Valuable feedback from the report’s recommendations has been collected and shared, leading to direct action to enhance our performance and business practice. Our Board of Directors has adopted a corporate human rights policy and we have provided onsite awareness of the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Social & Environmental Performance Standards and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. The latter is designed to help extractive companies maintain the safety and security of their operations within an operating framework that ensures respect for worker rights and fundamental freedoms.
A significant direct outcome of the HRIA has resulted in more inspections of contractor operations to ensure they are adhering to Eritrean law and our Code of Ethics and contractual obligations to ensure all worker rights are respected at all times. As a direct outcome of the HRIA, an additional independent audit of our performance in the area of worker rights is planned in May 2015 with transparent dissemination of these findings shortly thereafter. We have also allocated funds for agriculture and irrigation projects within communities near the Bisha Mine to improve the lives of nearby residents.
Open discussions with our stakeholders including NGOs and shareholders will continue to improve our CSR performance. The work we are doing with our partner ENAMCO (Eritrean National Mining Corporation) is contributing to setting the national standard for evolving international business practices in the country’s growing mineral resource sector.
We believe one of our greatest legacies in Eritrea, in partnership with ENAMCO, will be the training programs we have provided to the domestic workforce with both practical and theoretical skills in the mining sector. These training programs enable Eritreans to take on enhanced responsibilities and receive increased levels of remuneration with their evolving, transferable skillsets.
The Bisha Mine is the flagship mine in the country and our operation provides a national template for mining excellence.
On behalf of Nevsun, I wish to express gratitude to everyone who assisted in making this report possible. It takes considerable sustained discipline from everyone to ensure that corporate sustainability efforts continue in earnest.
President and Chief Executive Officer Nevsun Resources Ltd.
April 23, 2015