Foreign workers who have accused a Canadian company of human rights abuses at an African gold mine will have their case heard in Canada's legal system.

The Supreme Court of British Columbia in a judgment this week is allowing three refugees to file a civil lawsuit against Nevsun Resources. Nevsun owns a controlling interest in the Bisha gold mine in the East African country of Eritrea.

Joe Fiorante, one of the lawyers representing the group, said it's the first time that foreign claimants have been able to file a lawsuit in Canada against a Canadian company over allegations of human rights abuses that took place abroad.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Nevsun issued a statement saying it's studying the decision and is considering filing an appeal.