Mining & Metals

About

A groundswell of mining & metals experts with an industry-focused approach

Real industry expertise is our bedrock. At our core are lawyers, recognised as industry leaders in their own right, who work exclusively on deals in the mining sector and have done for decades, including in-house at major, mid-cap and junior mining companies and mining investment funds. Our team does not just scratch the surface—we know and deeply understand the macro-economic, geo-political and regional risks and opportunities most relevant to your business. Not only do we understand the twists and turns of the sector, we also anticipate its needs—because our experienced teams sit at the forefront of change in the sector.

We also know and track the players, assets, market trends and commodity fundamentals. And we understand the technical side of the business—the underlying chemistry and geology and how mining works operationally, from pit to port. In essence, we speak the right language.

We are completely comfortable advising at all points in the mining & metals cycle. We understand that as the sector moves, our team needs to change with it. Being resilient in the mining & metals industry does not mean standing still. This means taking advantage of the opportunities and managing risks at all points in the volatile mining & metals life cycle. We can deliver a team of lawyers who can seamlessly advise on the technical aspects of the transaction while keeping an eye on the industry.

 

A truly global team

We are the only firm with dedicated mining & metals partners and associates across EMEA, Asia-Pacific and the Americas. From a single point of contact, our clients draw on this global network, covering every relevant legal discipline and with stand-out practices in project development and financing, mining related infrastructure, arbitration, trade, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, capital markets, restructuring, competition, anti-bribery, sanctions and ESG disputes. And with opportunities for growth presenting themselves in different pockets across the globe, our connectivity and reach is becoming even more important. It means we can quickly pull together a cross-border team of lawyers who regularly work together, led from a location that makes sense to the locus of the deal, and each time with an industry expert at the helm.

This experience, when combined with our long-standing connections with industry, government and local counsel, is such that no other law firm is better positioned to provide guidance on the issues affecting your business interests across the globe, helping you make commercial and risk decisions that drive profitability and reputation across the entire mining & metals value chain.

So wherever you do business, we can make sure the right team is with you.

 

Leading in ESG, Energy Transition and Innovation Projects

2020 marked a turning point for the sector with the ESG and energy transition/decarbonisation agendas converging to become the biggest driver of investment decisions. For investors, lenders, governments and communities too, ESG considerations are now central to the sector's standing and success. We are committed to making improvements to the issues that are central to the industry and its future, alongside our clients whose priorities are evolving in response to this shift in investor and other stakeholder sentiment.

Because we are known for our deep commitment to and unparalleled understanding of the sector globally, clients regularly come to us to assist with their transformational and innovation projects. We excel where there is no precedent.

 

Green steel: An age-defining development in the energy transition

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AWARDS & RECOGNITION

An award-winning team of Mining & Metals industry experts with strengths in the areas that matter most to your industry:

" The White & Case team has a very business-oriented approach – they tell you about risks and provide solutions."
" The team is innovative, plugged into the market and very knowledgeable."
Chambers UK Energy & Natural Resources: Mining 2022

"The firm can assist in almost every area of law. They’re a great, global firm."
"They are a very strong and cohesive team. They understand the issues, provide a high-quality service and are happy to invest in the relationship with the client."
Chambers USA Energy: Mining & Metals (Transactional) 2021

"Excellent knowledge of the legal framework within which the industry operates and secondly of the commercial aspects of the business and the ESG environment."
"Excellent legal knowledge and drafting. Prompt attention to the client’s needs."
Legal 500 UK Projects, Energy and Natural Resources: Mining and Minerals 2022

'Seamless advice across all disciplines and geographies, which is always underpinned by a deep understanding of the industry.'
Chambers Energy & Natural Resources: Mining UK 2021

'Deep knowledge of the sector combined with practical advice.'
The Legal 500 Mining & Minerals 2021

Project Development and Finance
'Project Finance Group of the Year' 2020
Law360

International Arbitration
International Arbitration Group of the Year
Law360 2020

M&A
#1 for Global Cross-Border M&A by value
Bloomberg 2020

Tier 1 Mining & Metals
The Legal 500 UK 2022

Best Law Firm in Africa
EMEA Finance Awards, 2013-2020

Most #1 Practice Rankings in Latin America
Chambers and The Legal 500 2020
 

DEALS OF THE YEAR

Latin America Mining Deal of the Year: Project Serrote
IJ Gbloal Awards 2021

MENA Refinancing Mining Deal of the Year: Ma'aden Wa'ad Al Shamal Phosphate Company Refinancing
IJ Gbloal Awards 2021

Europe Mining Deal of the Year: Project Taishet
IJ Gbloal Awards 2021

Mining Deal of the Year, North America – Nevada Copper's Pumpkin Hollow
IJGlobal 2020

Energy and Infrastructure Team of the Year: Nacala
The Lawyer Awards 2018

Awarded Mining Deal of the Year, Africa
CBG Expansion Financing, IJ Global 2016

Experience

ARBITRATION AND DISPUTES

Representation of Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL), one of the largest potash fertilizer producers in the world, in an investment treaty arbitration against Ethiopia arising from Ethiopia's tax treatment of ICL’s investment in a potash mine project in the Dallol Depression in the Afar Region of Ethiopia.

Representation of Gabriel Resources Ltd. and its indirectly wholly owned subsidiary Gabriel Resources (Jersey) Ltd. in an investment treaty arbitration against Romania following Romania’s de facto expropriation of Gabriel's sizable investments principally in the Roşia Montană gold mining project, encompassing one of the largest gold deposits in the world. The case is on-going.

Representation of Kornikom, a Bulgarian investor concerning an underwater coal mining project in an investment treaty arbitration against Serbia.

Representation of Daniel W. Kappes and Kappes, Cassiday & Associates in an investment treaty arbitration against Guatemala following Guatemala's suspension of operations and unlawful interference with development of the mining projects. The case involves mining operations at Progreso VII and litigations commences by an NGO regarding an alleged failure to consult with indigenous communities.

Representation of Red Eagle Exploration Limited, a Canadian junior miner in an investment treaty arbitration against Colombia regarding the de facto expropriation of gold mining concessions located in an environmental preservation zone and related financial losses.

 

CAPITAL MARKETS

Representation of Nouveau Monde in its US initial public offering of 7.95 million common shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for gross proceeds of US$59 million. The common shares started trading on the NYSE on May 24, 2021 under the ticker symbol NMG.

Representation of J.P. Morgan, Evercore, Canaccord Genuity and the other underwriters on the offering of 1.75 million American depositary shares of Piedmont Lithium Limited, representing a total of 175 million ordinary shares. The offering was upsized at pricing, resulting in gross proceeds of approximately US$122.5 million.

Representation of Evercore and the other underwriters on the offering of 2.3 million American Depositary Shares (ADSs) of Piedmont Lithium Limited. The aggregate gross proceeds of the public offering, before underwriting discounts and commissions, totalled US$57.5 million.

Provided advice to Mineros in connection with the New York law-aspects of its concurrent public offering of US$35 million on the Colombia Stock Exchange (BVC) and Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). Proceeds of the offering will be used for the Luna Roja Project in Nicaragua and other company expansion projects.

Representation of Ivanhoe Capital Acquisition Corp. in its initial public offering of 27,600,000 units, including 3,600,000 units issued pursuant to the exercise by the underwriters of their over-allotment option in full. The offering was priced at $10.00 per unit, resulting in gross proceeds of US$276 million. The units are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

 

CORPORATE/M&A

Representation of Eco-Bat Technologies on the aquisition of Promesa, a battery recycling business in Germany near the first German Tesla factory and Germany’s biggest lithium battery factory, both still under development.

Representation of CMOC in its US$550 million cash acquisition of a 95 percent interest in the Kisanfu copper-cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo from Freeport-McMoRan Inc. Subsequent representation of CMOC in its US$137.5 million disposal of a 25 percent equity interest of its 95 percent interest in the Kisanfu copper-cobalt to Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL), a Chinese battery maker.

Representation of Black Royalty Minerals Proprietary Limited in their successful bid process to acquire all of the assets of Koornfontein Mines Proprietary Limited. This is the biggest mining asset bought out of business rescue in the last 12 months. We guided the client through several complex threats of litigation where interested parties tried to prevent the deal from going ahead. Each of these was successfully managed by the team through to completion.

Representation of Harmony Gold Mining Company in relation to its acquisition of AngloGold Ashanti’s remaining South African assets.

Representation of Harmony Gold Mining Company with regard to negotiation of agreement between Harmony and Buti Phakoe, who applied for a mining right to mind sand adjacent to Harmony Gold Mining Company’s mining right area and ensuring that the correct processes are followed by Buti Phakoe in obtaining the requisite authorisations.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL/COMPLIANCE

Representation of Anglo American regarding a global legal compliance review of various new technologies that Anglo American plans implementing across its operations globally. These new technologies will improve safety, increase productivity and ensure environmental sustainability.

Representation of Harmony Gold Mining Company regarding various unlawful occupiers on their land that is situated within Avgold’s mining right area. Avgold is a wholly owned subsidiary of Harmony. Harmony and Avgold have launched eviction proceedings in terms of the Prevention of Illegal Evictions and Unlawful Occupation Act to evict the unlawful occupiers on the basis that inter alia the environmental, health and safety impact arising from the unlawful occupiers within a mining area.

Representation of Harmony Gold Mining Company regarding application submitted to AngloGold Ashanti and the Department of Mineral Resources under the National Environmental Management Act and National Environmental Management: Waste Act. Questions have been raised as to whether this is the correct authority on the basis that the historic dumps being processed do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Department of Mineral Resources. We have been advising Harmony on the legal components and risks regarding the jurisdiction issues, the regulatory concerns and the potential appeal and litigation that is likely to arise.

 

PROJECT FINANCING

Representation of Solgold in the project development and financing of the Alpala copper-gold project, which may become one of the largest copper-gold porphyry systems ever discovered.

Ongoing representation of Vale on a new venture (NewVen) with Kobe Steel and Mitsui & Co. for the purposes of constructing and operating certain low-CO2 facilities for the production of iron-containing products and the development of iron-making solutions for the global steel industry.

Representation of Ivanhoe Mines in connection with the US$420 million project financing of the Platreef project in South Africa. The transaction includes an Orion Mine Finance US$300 million streaming facility alongside the senior project finance debt.

Representation of Vale in its US$6 million investment in Boston Metal, which specializes in the industrial-scale deployments of molten oxide electrolysis (MOE) technology. This investment was Vale’s first growth equity investment in the US.

Representation of the lenders in a US$140 million senior secured project financing facility for the development and construction of the Serrote open pit copper-gold mine and processing plant project in Alagoas, Brazil. The financing package will be used to complete the construction of the 4.1 million tonnes per annum project, which is expected to achieve first production in the second half of 2021. Serrote will be the first major mining project in Alagoas.

 

TRADE

Representation of Eurofer, the European steel association, in a global safeguard investigation conducted by the European Commission concerning imports from all countries of 19 product groups which are produced by Eurofer members. A further review in 2021 resulted in an extension of the safeguard for an additional three years, the first time the EU has ever done this.

Representation of Companhia Brasileira de Alumínio (CBA), the largest producer of aluminum in Brazil before the DOC and ITC in multiple ADD and CVD proceedings in the United States, namely (1) in the antidumping duty (ADD) investigation of common alloy aluminum sheet (CAAS) from Brazil; (2) the countervailing duty (CVD) investigation of CAAS from Brazil; and (3) the ADD investigation of aluminum foil from Brazil. We took over the defense of the CAAS investigations after CBA terminated their previous law firm for receiving an adverse preliminary determination. In the CVD investigation, we changed the previous firm's strategy and persuaded the DOC to make a negative final determination.

Representation of Laminazione Sottile, a leading supplier of rolled aluminium products, in the ADD investigation of CAAS from Italy. Based on the information provided, DOC determined that Laminazione Sottile's CAAS was not sold at dumped prices and therefore no duties were imposed. Laminazione Sottile was the only Italian producer of CAAS to be excluded from the imposition of duties, which cover producers in 16 countries.