Who’s Who Legal brings together Pablo Mir of Bofill Mir & Alvarez Jana Abogados, Geoff Simpson of Allen & Overy LLP and Florencia Heredia of Holt Abogados to discuss the impact of falling mineral prices, adapting to client constraints in the current market, alternative sources of financing and the legal challenges posed by an increased focus on environmental issues.
Juan García-Montúfar, Anglo American Perú
In an exclusive interview with Who’s Who Legal, Juan García-Montúfar discusses the changing role of in-house lawyers, the qualities he looks for when instructing external counsel, adapting to the fall in commodities prices and the challenges of achieving innovation and sustainability while adhering to a legal framework.
In our latest edition of Who's Who Legal: Mining we identify 420 practitioners from 220 law firms across 58 countries.
As commodity prices struggle to recover, the mining industry remains flat. With fewer financings and new projects, lawyers have seen the bulk of their work come from restructurings of existing projects. But new avenues are opening up for those who are willing to take risks – there is a consensus opinion within the legal community that there are plenty of options available to grease the wheels in an atmosphere of low growth. Law firms and mining companies alike are looking to pursue new routes that mean they don’t have to wait for the markets to pick up before they can make headway once again.
The well-publicised crisis faced by the mining industry has had a tangible effect on the practices of the lawyers who support it. A prolonged fall in community prices, weakening global demand and economic uncertainty in China has put huge financial pressure on the industry. Mining houses have been pushed into cost reduction, improving capital management and restructuring their debt. This has meant a serious decline in new project finance, capital markets and M&A work, which has been replaced by a surge of corporate restructurings and distressed transactions.
This year’s Mining publication comprises a total of 408 practitioners from 228 firms in 65 countries who are considered leaders in this field of law.
In this section, we have highlighted 10 firms who have performed notably well on both an international and a domestic scale. Norton Rose Fulbright stands out for its comprehensive network, while Baker & McKenzie also impresses with strength and depth: its lawyers earn recognition in seven countries. The eight featured lawyers from Fasken Martineau DuMoulin all scored extremely highly. A number of other firms also make an impression, including Cassels Brock & Blackwell in the Canadian market; Holland & Hart in the US; ENSafrica in the African market; and Clayton Utz, followed by Allens, in Australia.
We also select the most highly regarded individuals in the world, including the 10 best lawyers in Latin America and North America, as well as further practitioners that stand out beyond the American continent.
The last year has been another difficult one for the global mining industry as a whole, with stock continuing to underperform and a pick-up in deals yet to really take off. Although the practitioners we spoke to almost universally agree that the market is likely to revive a little in the next 12 months, or at the very least not get any worse, it is still a time of uncertainty, especially in the junior market. The S&P 500 metals and mining index supports this claim, showing the very slight gradual rise in stock prices over the last 12 months that practitioners have observed. However between mid-September and early October 2014 the index dropped by 21 per cent. This could be a short-term dip, as seen in July 2013 when the market fell and bounced again within a matter of months, or it could spell the start of an even more difficult time for the industry.
This year, we identify 330 practitioners from 197 firms and 48 countries as the world's leading lawyers in the field of mining law. Norton Rose Fulbright leads our research with 11 practitioners recognised around the globe. Following closely behind is Australia-based firm Clayton Utz which achieves 10 listings. Canada is home to many of the best-represented firms in our research: Fasken Martineau DuMoulin has eight individuals singled out and boasts our mining lawyer of the year, Michael Bourassa. Cassels Brock & Blackwell also fields seven practitioners to this edition, and Stikeman Elliott, Bennett Jones and Blake Cassels & Graydon all achieve five inclusions. The Latin American market also performs very strongly with nearly half of our most highly regarded individuals in the world hailing from this region.
With the benefit of over 16 years of research and tens of thousands of votes from clients and private practitioners, as well as hundreds of hours of interviews with legal professionals worldwide, Who’s Who Legal takes a closer look at developing trends in the global mining market.
In this section we analyse the findings of our research in greater depth to identify the firms and practitioners who stand out worldwide.
With over 16 years of experience in researching the global business law marketplace, Who’s Who Legal analyses the key trends and developments in international mining law and business over the past year. We identify trends relating to financing difficulties experienced by junior mining companies, and the negative impact of state participation in mining projects.
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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.