Mining 2017: Analysis

In our latest edition of Who's Who Legal: Mining we identify 420 practitioners from 220 law firms across 58 countries.

Thought Leaders
North America
Michael Bourassa Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, Toronto
Robert Bassett Holland & Hart, Denver
Roger Taplin McCarthy Tétrault, Vancouver
Andrew McLeod Blake Cassels & Graydon, Vancouver
Darrell Podowski Cassels Brock & Blackwell, Vancouver
Erik Goldsilver Borden Ladner Gervais, Toronto
John Turner Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, Toronto
Jay Kellerman Stikeman Elliott, Toronto
Josh Lewis Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, Vancouver
Latin America
Florencia Heredia HOLT Abogados, Buenos Aires
Leonardo Rodriguez Marval O'Farrell & Mairal, Buenos Aires
Ignacio Randle Estudio Randle, Buenos Aires
Luis Lucero Marval O’Farrell & Mairal, Buenos Aires
Rafael Vergara Carey, Santiago
Carlos Pérez-Cotapos Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos & Cia, Santiago
Carlos Vilhena Pinheiro Neto Advogados, Brasília
Luis Carlos Rodrigo Prado Rodrigo Elías & Medrano Abogados, Lima
Rest of the World
Ian Coles Mayer Brown, London
Geoff Simpson Allen & Overy, Perth
Manus Booysen Webber Wentzel, Johannesburg

 Norton Rose Fulbright leads this year’s research with 16 practitioners across five continents. Canada’s Marvin Singer is nominated by colleagues in numerous jurisdictions for his expertise in mine financing, acquisition and development. He “is effective and knows how to get solutions”. In the London office, global head of business Martin McCann is recognised for his experience in financing and cross-border matters. Peers describe him as “a legend in the field of mining law”. Michael Dale in South Africa is head of the firm’s mining law group and focuses on mining law and legislation in the wider context of national resources. One lawyer says of him, “He wrote the book on mining law and has an academic understanding of the field.” Jorge Neher in Bogota leads the Latin American mining practice where he specialises in acquisitions, project finance and regulatory matters. He is considered “one of the Latin America’s top mining lawyers”. Keira Brennan in Brisbane advises on strategic and operational issues where she is “a strong negotiator and good under pressure”. In Almaty, Yerzhan Kumarov is “well known in the market” for his mining expertise in financing, restructuring and transactions.

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin sees 15 of its practitioners listed, with global mining group leader John Turner recognised as one of our thought leaders. He is recommended for his “fully fledged mining practice” and his “exceptional understanding of mining law”. His clients include issuers and underwriters of mining loans and he has vast experience in mine financing and M&A. Michael Bourassa is another thought leader. He focuses on due diligence matters including title and environmental risks. According to sources, “He knows the market very well and is respected for his longstanding knowledge.” As coordinator of the global mining group, Josh Lewis in Vancouver has a practice that covers the gamut of mining law, from exploration to completion. He is noted as “one of the most talented mining lawyers working today”. Charles Higgins focuses on financing, acquisitions, and capital and debt transactions; he “is a talented and effective lawyer in the mining space”. In London the “well-thought-of and sharp-minded” Thomas Wexler has worldwide experience and focuses on mining finance and transactions. Andrew Mitchell in Johannesburg is “a seasoned practitioner” who specialises in financing, transactions, building and administrative matters.

Gowling WLG has a strong presence in this chapter with 12 listings, in part due to the bolstering of the practice resulting from the combination of Gowlings and Wragge Lawrence Graham. In Toronto, France Tenaille is co-leader of the firm’s Latin America and Cuba teams and “is doing leading work in Latin American mining”. Cyndi Laval is “a mining star” who specialises in corporate finance, M&A and securities matters. Tina Woodside has “deep expertise in mining and a robust commercial approach”. Kathleen Ritchie demonstrates “a commercial outlook with solutions tailored to fit the client’s needs”. She has over 25 years of experience in M&A, financing and corporate governance. Co-head of the mining group Daniel Allen has a practice that encompasses financing and regulatory matters. He advises both mining companies and shareholders and “gives excellent counsel that clients find valuable”. Brett Kagetsu focuses on corporate finance and has advised shareholders on legal matters and disputes. He is “a go-to lawyer in the industry”. Charles Bond in London works closely with clients around the world and is “very dynamic and highly knowledgeable about the market”. Corporate and capital markets lawyer David Brennan has wide-ranging expertise in public and private financing in the mining arena. The “consistently excellent” Andrew Wright provides extensive expertise in mining transactions and advises mining companies looking to come to the UK market. He is “one of the most experienced lawyers in the field”. Sefton Collett is a highly experienced and respected figure in the commercial mining space. He specialises in equity capital markets work and advises on IPOs and reorganisations involving mining clients. Dominic Prentis advises clients in numerous jurisdictions on IPOs, acquisitions and transactions and is “highly visible in the mining sector globally”. Susan Johnston has experience advising public companies on financing and regulatory issues. She is noted for her “straightforward approach which gets results”.

At ENSafrica 11 lawyers are listed. Lloyd Christie specialises in regulatory advice relating to mining as well as the resourcing and disposal of minerals, and mineral rights and disputes. Head of the firm’s mining department Otsile Matlou has a client network across the continent along with expertise in mining activities from exploration to closure. He is “a leader in his field”. Willem le Roux focuses on litigation and has represented numerous high-profile mining entities. He is considered “a standout litigator”. Pat Cronin has acted for numerous large mining houses in dealing with commercial contracts, finance, corporate governance and M&A. In the Windhoek office, Wolf Wohlers advises on M&A, contracts and trusts drafting, and is noted as “a key player in the market”.

At Herbert Smith Freehills, global co-chair of the Africa practice Peter Leon works on mining projects in developing economies. He is recognised as “the best South African mining lawyer working today”. Global co-chair of Africa and co-head of mining Stéphane Brabant advises on the implementation of new projects and transactional mining work, and has extensive experience in francophone Africa. Peers consider him “the dean of French mining lawyers”. In Perth, Stuart Barrymore focuses on acquisition, structuring, investment and development in relation to mining projects. He is “one of the preeminent practitioners” in the sector. Co-head of the global mining team Jay Leary has experience in M&A transactions, operation and maintenance, and commodity sales; he is recommended for his “wide-ranging expertise and strong grasp of market economics”.

Blake Cassels & Graydon is once again one of Canada’s standout mining firms, with seven practitioners listed. In Vancouver, Andrew McLeod is the firm’s highest-nominated lawyer. He focuses on financing, investment, restructuring and M&A both in a national context in Canada and internationally. He is “one of Canada’s preeminent mining lawyers”. Bob Wooder has expertise in M&A and takeovers, where he is “a great strategist and gives practical advice”. In London, David Glennie is “one of the best lawyers in the industry; his mining knowledge is excellent”. He has vast experience in financings and M&A and has advised clients including Reservoir Minerals on a US$135 million acquisition and Afferro Mining on its takeover by IMIC for US$200 million. Simon Finch in Toronto acts for borrowers and lenders and has strong experience in syndicated loans. He is “a superb practitioner”.

At Bennett Jones, Eden Oliver has more than 30 years’ experience in mining matters. She focuses on transactions, financing, reorganisations and restructuring. Head of mining Sander Grieve is recognised for his strong abilities in mining finance and also for his corporate governance and crisis management expertise. Peers call him “one of the most prominent mining lawyers in Canada". John Sabine has experience in all aspects of corporate mining including financing and reorganisation. He is also noted for his depth of experience in advising on complex global initiatives. Michael Melanson is well respected for his expertise in capital markets issues and his knowledge of mining markets in Hong Kong and China.

Cassels Brock has a strong showing with six practitioners listed. The globally respected Darrell Podowski in Vancouver is one of our thought leaders. He focuses on M&A, mining and securities and is “one of the foremost mining lawyers in the world”. In Toronto, the “well-known and respected” Jay Goldman focuses on mining securities and finance, including advising and negotiating securities and transactions. Mark Bennett represents mining companies in takeover bids, IPOs, streaming and royalties, where he is highly regarded for his expertise.

Baker Botts sees global projects department chair James Baker recognised for his transactional expertise in mining, advising on investment vehicles and business strategies internationally. He is regarded as “outstanding; a real talent”. Hugh Tucker is chairman of the global projects department in Houston and is listed for his expertise in commercial transactions, exploration and project development. He is “a top-tier mining lawyer with a wealth of experience”. Elaine Walsh is recognised for her “commercial outlook and keen understanding of the market”. She advises on M&A, divestitures and investments in the coal, oil and gas industries among others.

Premier Chilean firm Carey sees five of its lawyers listed. Co-head of the natural resources and environment group Rafael Vergara is “one of the best in Chile" and is recognised for his experience in mining financing, and corporate and commercial matters relating to the industry. Juan Francisco Mackenna is co-head of the energy group and focuses on logistics and regulatory issues. He is “someone who knows the market very well and how to move things forward”.

Peru’s Rodrigo Elías & Medrano Abogados has four listings in this year’s guide. Luis Carlos Rodrigo Prado is one of our thought leaders and is recommended for his expertise in financing, M&A transactions. Peers call him “one of the best in Peru”. Oscar Benavides is “a strong negotiator” who has expertise in exploration contracts alongside the development and operation of mining projects.

McCarthy Tétrault also achieves four listings this year. Co-leader of the global mining group Roger Taplin specialises in transactions and securities within the mining sector. He advises on all manner of M&As and joint ventures and also provides advice on securities regulation. He is “a highly respected figure in the market”. Cameron Belsher specialises in M&A and recently advised Rio Tinto on the acquisition of uranium company Hathor Exploration. He “gets results for his clients”.

Western Canada’s Lawson Lundell sees three of its practitioners listed. Khaled Abdel-Barr specialises in exploration, development and transactions, where he is “great to work with and terrific on joint ventures”. Christopher Baldwin is “a mining guru” and has experience in the financing, development and operation of mining projects both domestically and internationally. Stuart Breen has expertise in transactions and regulatory and compliance. He is noted as “a fantastic lawyer with an unparalleled knowledge of the field”.

Stikeman Elliott sees Jay Kellerman in Toronto recognised as a “big name in the field”; he is listed as a thought leader in our research. He focuses on M&A and securities relating to mining and has over 25 years of experience. Ivan Grbesic represents issuers and underwriters in relation to IPOs and has experience in financing and restructuring. He has been involved in transactions in North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

US-based firm Davis Graham & Stubbs is regarded as "one of the top firms in the mining area". Joel Benson specialises in financings, M&A transactions and project finance, particularly in the private equity space. He is recommended as “a fantastic mining lawyer with extensive commercial expertise”. Randall Hubbard is recommended as "one of the leading mining lawyers in the US". He focuses on national and North American mining law including exploration, development and contract drafting and agreement.

In Australia, Clayton Utz continues to boast a prestigious mining practice. Brett Cohen has a strong corporate and commercial background and has acted on M&A transactions, project finance and structuring for mining houses.

Webber Wentzel in South Africa sees mining, energy and natural resources practice head Manus Booysen recommended as one of the leading practitioners in our research. He has over three decades of experience in M&A transactions and project structuring and implementation. He is regarded as “a mining powerhouse in the region”. Bruce Dickinson has extensive knowledge of the mining landscape in sub-Saharan Africa and advises on transactions, financing and operations.

Marval O'Farrell & Mairal’s Leonardo Rodriguez is recognised as a thought leader and has vast commercial mining expertise as well as experience in litigation. Peers describe him as “an expert in mining law” and “a dealmaker”. Practice head Luis Lucero is a specialist in mining finance, litigation and arbitration and has a wealth of experience in the area. He is described by one commentator as “probably the greatest lawyer in mining – very intelligent, experienced and meticulous.”

Chair of Borden Ladner Gervais’ national mining group Fred Pletcher is an expert in mining finance, M&A and securities and is “without a doubt one of the top mining lawyers in Canada”. Also at the firm is Erik Goldsilver, a securities and capital markets specialist with experience across all stages of mining projects. He is “a stellar practitioner who always provides the best solutions”.

Bufete Aguirre sees the “highly responsive” Fernando Aguirre B listed for his expertise in mining financing among others. He is highlighted as the leading mining lawyer in Bolivia in this year's research. Ignacio Aguirre U is a “very business-savvy" mining lawyer who is noted for his expertise in environmental matters.

At Núñez Muñoz & Cía Ltda Abogados in Chile, Patricia Núñez is recognised for her long-standing experience in mining projects in the region, where she is "one of Chile’s foremost mining lawyers". Rodrigo Muñoz is recognised for his skill working with both national and foreign clients on mine establishment and operation. He “provides a comprehensive understanding and a real depth of experience that clients love”.

Tobar ZVS Spingarn sees founding partner Bernardo Tobar listed for his expertise in infrastructure, transactions and financing and is noted as “a renowned name in the field”.  Head of natural resources, energy and infrastructure unit César Zumárraga is one of Ecuador’s most respected mining lawyers and specialises in contracts and transactions. He is “highly knowledgeable about the market and has a commercial outlook when advising clients”.

Graham Scott at McCullough O'Connor Irwin in Vancouver is listed for his expertise in finance and natural resources, where he has over 30 years of experience. He is “a top lawyer in mining finance and transactions”.

Robert Bassett at Holland & Hart in Denver has decades of experience in financing, transactions and development. He is recommended as “a very impressive lawyer in the mining space”.

Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos mining head Carlos Pérez-Cotapos has deep experience in M&A transactions, frequently acting for international clients. He is recognised as “one of the foremost mining lawyers in Chile”.

Pinheiro Neto Advogados’ head of mining Carlos Vilhena is highly regarded by peers around the world and has expertise in exploration, financing, operation and regulatory issues. He is “from start to finish an invaluable source of counsel and provides great solutions for clients”.

Florencia Heredia of HOLT Abogados was named Who’s Who Legal’s mining lawyer of the year in 2016 and is listed again here for her expertise in mine financing. Sources highlight that “she always closes the deal” and also note her as "naturally one of the leading lawyers in Argentina and very well regarded in this field”.

Estudio Randle sees Ignacio Randle recommended as “one of the top mining lawyers in Argentina”. He specialises in international transactions and financing within the mining space.

At Posse Herrera Ruiz Álvaro José Rodríguez is noted for his experience in mining transactions and is regarded as "a skilled lawyer and a strong negotiator".

Arfidea Dwi Saraswati at Arfidea Kadri Sahetapy-Engel Tisnadisastra (AKSET) focuses on M&A and financing in the mining sphere where she is “one of the best and most knowledgeable lawyers in the region”.

Juan Paulo Bambach of Philippi, Prietocarrizosa & Uría has over two decades of experience in mining law and commercial mining activities. Impressed sources highlight him as "one of the best in Chile".

At Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas, Bernardo Cardenas Martinez has over 20 years of experience in mining finance and transactions and is regarded by sources as “the go-to lawyer in Colombia".

Fernando Pickmann of Gallo Barrios Pickmann specialises in start-up financing, M&A and capital markets where he is “a dynamic lawyer with a sharp mind”.

Khaled Abou El Houda at Cabinet Houda and Partners is a highly experienced mining lawyer who has been involved in the establishment of numerous mining projects in Senegal and internationally. Clients say of him: “He is great at handling global cases and gets results.”

At ǼLEX, head of the energy and environment practice groups Soji Awogbade is recognised for his expertise advising foreign investors on entering the Nigerian market alongside regulatory and policy matters in Nigerian environmental law. He “has deep expertise in mining and knows how to handle big cross-border matters”.

Allen & Overy sees Geoff Simpson in Perth listed as “an absolute stand-out lawyer” in the mining sphere, where he focuses on corporate and private equity issues alongside mine financing and transactions. The firm receives two further listings in Singapore and Korea.

Rahmat SS Soemadipradja at Soemadipradja & Taher has a broad-based natural resources practice that features deep expertise and experience in a range of complex mining matters.

Allan Reid at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr in Johannesburg has advised some of the world’s foremost mining firms on M&A and compliance issues. He is “a highly skilled lawyer who appreciates the commercial aspects of a deal”.

At Mayer Brown in London, Ian Coles is a “big name” who, according to one peer, has been “one of the greatest mining lawyers in England for many years”.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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