Stakeholder Engagement

This exercise was conducted as part of the Canadian Government’s assessment of the in-country situation from an external perspective, and to demonstrate at the personal level how Nevsun, in collaboration with the State of Eritrea, is making a positive long-term difference to the country.

In addition to the Canadian government officials, we facilitated mine visits for foreign dignitaries and support staff from the EU, U.S., U.K., and the United Nations.

VP CSR Todd Romaine interviewed by Thomson Reuters

VP CSR Todd Romaine interviewed by Thomson Reuters

Many discussions centred on the 2015 human rights impact audit and next steps. The biggest single inquiry raised amongst stakeholders was how the State of Eritrea was spending its profits at the Bisha Mine. Such inquiries were raised with the Minister of Finance, and the State of Eritrea followed up with a letter that indicates where Bisha proceeds are spent within Eritrean society.

Subsequently, we played a role in facilitating media access to the Bisha Mine for Thomson Reuters and the Africa Report. We also willingly participated in a media account on the Bisha Mine, which we felt was biased, lacking in fact and substance, and sensationalized for television ratings. However, we believed it was important to stand up for Nevsun’s positive role in establishing a template for responsible international business in Eritrea.

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In 2015, Canadian MP and Chair of the Parliamentary Subcommittee for International
Human Rights Scott Reid on a site visit, examining the community grievance process

At Nevsun, our ongoing objective is to be a responsible mining company and to provide a beneficial impact to society throughout the project cycle. We continuously engage with communities, stakeholders, and government in order to incorporate their feedback, concerns, and ideas on making the operation a more positive factor in people’s lives. A collaborative and transparent approach to stakeholder engagement contributes to our ability to maintain our long term social license to operate.

In 2015 we actively engaged with our diverse stakeholder populations. We define our stakeholders as groups or individuals that have a direct, indirect, or general interest in Nevsun’s operations. We regularly update affected groups through stakeholder identification exercises. We place the highest stakeholder priority on our employees and the communities near the Bisha Mine, as well as with the State of Eritrea. Through the year, we continued discussions with governments, NGOs, diaspora groups, and other interested stakeholders on how we were managing our social license to operate in Eritrea.

Our Commitment to Transparency 

In 2014 and early 2015, a group of Canadian diplomatic officials were invited to Eritrea and the Bisha Mine, with the full support of the State of Eritrea. The group included the Canadian Ambassador to Eritrea, Mr. Dominique Rossetti, as well as Member of Parliament Scott Reid, who chaired the Canadian Parliamentary Subcommittee on International Human Rights. These individuals were provided tours of the country, access to various government ministries (including the National Federation of Workers), visits to the Bisha Mine, and candid discussions with our stakeholder populations.

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profile-ruby-sandhuRUBY SANDHU – BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS CONSULTANT 

Ruby plays a key advisory role in advising the company on best practices in the rapidly-evolving field of international business conduct. Her focus is on building meaningful, constructive stakeholder engagement between Nevsun and diverse stakeholder groups in the U.K. and European Union. Thanks to Ruby, we hear new ideas and concerns, which allows us to modify our practices, and share new outlooks with Eritreans and the diaspora. Ruby is a passionate advocate for the role of companies, and the leverage that they can have in good governance, corporate social responsibility, and social impact.

stakeholder-wheel

THE GENERAL PUBLIC
Most of our engagement with the general public is email correspondence about our corporate social responsibility efforts in Eritrea.

ERITREAN NATIONAL GOVERNMENT
Including regulatory bodies and government agencies ENAMCO representatives on the BMSC Board of Directors play an active role in the Bisha Mine governance and decision-making as well as regular interactions with the Ministry of Energy & Mines.

The Eritrean Impact Review Committee’s quarterly social and environmental audits oversee the Bisha Mine’s compliance with the Mineral Resource Proclamation Law and Mining Agreement.

EMPLOYEES*
We engage in regular discussions over health and safety training, work performance, overall company objectives; in addition we offer formal, transparent channels for complaints or grievances, and the Whistleblower hotline.

LOCAL COMMUNITIES*
We engage with village elders, administration and residents of Mogoraib, Jimel, Adi Ibrihim, Aderat, Tekreret, Agordat, Barentu, Dighe and Gogne sub-Zobas and Zoba Gash Barka.

We also engage with disadvantaged or marginalized groups, such as women, children, people suffering from abject poverty; the Disabled War Veteran’s Association, and the Association of the Blind.

BMSC regularly consults with villagers regarding project updates, and for employment opportunities (facilitating job applications etc.), and to address any issues and concerns from the community.

Seven community liaison officers are stationed in nearby villages to provide a constant community presence for information and access.

SHAREHOLDERS
We engage with our investors via ongoing progress discussions and/or email correspondence with institutional and retail investors, as well as specific dialogue with certain investors addressing a variety of inquiries.

GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
We are in periodic contact with the Parliamentary Subcommittee on International Human Rights, Department of Foreign Affairs, International Trade Canada, the Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations, and the Canadian Ambassador to Eritrea regarding its operations in Eritrea.

CONTRACTORS
BMSC’s primary contractors are Segen Construction Ltd., Transhorn Trucking Ltd., and Binae Security. Our engagement included frequent dialogue on targets and objectives, including compliance audits with our Code of Ethics and BMSC Social and Environmental Management Plans.

SUPPLY CHAIN VENDORS
Engagement with our supply chain includes regular dialogue regarding the Bisha Mine’s needs, and regarding the local acquisition of goods and services.

CUSTOMERS
We are in regular contact with our customers, generally regarding pricing and shipping.

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOS)
We have had open dialogue with NGOs including Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International, Mining Watch Canada, the Council on Ethics Norway, and the Global Engagement Services (GES), primarily related to concerns regarding past allegations of human rights violations at the Bisha Mine.

MEDIA
We respond to requests for information and interviews from television stations and publications from around the world.

* Included in the 2015 materiality assessment