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  1. Energy and natural resources: mining
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Who Represents Who

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Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP’s mining practice ‘leads from the front’. The group, which is split between the firm’s Toronto and Vancouver offices, takes in the full spread of mining law, including corporate finance, exploration, development and regulatory matters. Among its highlights in Toronto, sought-after managing partner Mark Bennett advised Wheaton Precious Metals on a $500m gold and palladium streaming agreement with Sibanye-Stillwater. Securities specialist Jay Goldman, also in Toronto, advised White Gold in a set of corporate finance transactions, which included the acquisition of entities holding the White Gold, Black Fox, JP Ross, Yellow and Battle properties from Kinross Gold. Goldcorp is a key client and turned to the firm for assistance with its C$247m acquisition of Exeter Resource Corporation — Toronto’s Paul Stein led that work. Other senior names in Toronto include senior counsel John Craig. Among the group’s highlights in Vancouver, Gordon Chambers acted for Hecla Mining on its $462m acquisition of Klondex Mines. Other senior contacts in Vancouver are Darrell Podowski and ‘extremely talented’ securities specialist David Redford, while the ‘great technically’ Jen Hansen is ‘one to watch’.

‘A global leader for mining law’, FASKEN houses an ‘absolutely first-tier practice in this space’. The department, which is well represented throughout the firm’s six domestic offices, draws on on-the-ground teams in Beijing, Johannesburg and London, as well as several foreign desks, to ensure a truly international practice. The group has a particularly strong profile for headline corporate finance deals, but covers the full life cycle of mining matters, from permitting and development through to mine closure. Toronto-based global mining leader John Turner is a ‘heavy-hitter in mining law’ and recently paired up with ‘up-and-coming capital markets specialist’ Krisztián Tóth to advise AuRico Metals on its C$310m acquisition by Centerra Gold. In what was arguably the firm’s headline deal of 2017, Toronto’s Nancy Eastman advised Orion Mine Finance on the C$1.1bn sale of a precious metals portfolio to Osisko Gold Royalties. In Vancouver, Georald Ingborg advised Eldorado mining on its C$590m acquisition of Integra Gold. Other senior names in Toronto include Michael Bourassa and ‘leading light’ Brian Graves, while global mining chair Andrew Gabrielson is also recommended in Vancouver.

Stikeman Elliott LLP, hailed as a ‘first-tier corporate firm with a great mining practice’, receives strong praise for its ‘excellent bench strength and deep expertise’. The mining department is a key pillar of the firm and is represented nationally in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, and internationally in New York and Sydney. Among the team’s senior names, Toronto-based managing partner and global mining co-lead Jay Kellerman is an ‘absolute powerhouse in the mining space’; he teamed up with Toronto’s Ivan GrbeĆĄić to advise Nexa Resources and Votorantim on the Canadian aspects of Nexa’s C$728m IPO on the TSX and NYSE. Also in Toronto, John Ciardullo and Amanda Linett advised Tacora Resources and MagGlobal LLC on Tacora’s acquisition of all of the assets of the historic Scully iron ore mine. Vancouver is the seat of ‘extremely experienced’ global mining co-head Quentin Markin, who is acting as Canadian counsel to emerging West African gold producer Avesoro Resources on its acquisition of the Youga and Balogo mines and its accompanying private placement. John Anderson and David Massé are also recommended in Vancouver and Montreal respectively.

Bennett Jones LLP’s comprehensive mining practice covers all the bases, with robust expertise in exploration and development, operational matters, streaming transactions, corporation finance deals, regulatory issues and litigation. Group head Sander Grieve is ‘up there with the best in this sector’ and, together with Linda Misetich Dann, advised Osisko Gold Royalties on its C$1.1bn acquisition of a precious metals portfolio from Orion Mine Finance Group. Michael Melanson is a ‘very knowledgeable securities lawyer’ and assisted McEwen Mining with its acquisition of Lexam VG Gold. Abbas Ali Khan is a ‘rising star’. All named lawyers are based in Toronto.

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP’s mining practice is ‘very strong’ nationally, with respected teams in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary, and a British Columbia group that is hailed as ‘the best in Vancouver’. It also benefits from international platforms in New York, London and Beijing. In Vancouver, transactional mining expert Bob Wooder is ‘fantastic<’ and advised the Special Committee of Exeter Resource Corporation on Exeter’s C$244m acquisition by Goldcorp. Wooder also led the firm’s advice to Ero Copper in its C$127m IPO. Peter O’Callaghan is another senior name in Vancouver and advised Denison Mines on several recent matters, including a C$20m private placement. Toronto-based department head John Wilkin and Montreal-based environmental law specialist Charles Kazaz are also key contacts.

The ‘deep and broad’ group at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP is ‘top of the class for corporate finance transactions’. Toronto-based Melanie Shishler, highlighted as a ‘really capable lawyer’, is a key contact for mining matters and manages the firm’s relationship with Barrick Gold; notable recent transactions for the mining giant include advising on its sale of a 25% stake in the Cerro Casale Project to Goldcorp, and the negotiation of various joint venture arrangements in Chile’s Maricunga district. Elsewhere, Toronto-based senior partner Patricia Olasker — ‘a star in all things corporate’ — acted for Agnico Eagle Mines in its $325m acquisition of the exploration assets of Canadian Malartic Corporation.

Vancouver-headquartered Lawson Lundell LLP is a ‘great mining firm’, with sources quick to commend its ‘strong focus on the industry’. Particular praise is reserved for high-profile partner Chris Baldwin, who is regarded as a ‘go-to specialist for mining law’ and brings to bear a broad skill set spanning project development, corporate finance, mine acquisitions and disposals, and regulatory matters. The group also benefits from the experience of ‘really excellent lawyer’ and ‘future leader’ Khaled Abdel-Barr. Among the team’s recent highlights, Karen MacMillan acted as British Columbia counsel to Coeur Mining in its $250m acquisition of JDS Silver Holdings. Other representative clients include Baffinland Iron Mines, Cliffs Chromite Ontario and New Gold.

McCarthy TĂ©trault impresses with its ‘expertise across a wide range of issues’, which includes recent experience in streaming transactions, capital markets, M&A, joint ventures and project finance. Vancouver-based global co-head Roger Taplin ‘seamlessly blends legal advice with commercial understanding’ and advised Goldcorp on a complex transaction that included the acquisition of a 50% interest in the Cerro Casale project, the acquisition of the Quebrada Seca project and the structuring of a regional joint venture with Barrick for three projects in Chile. Global mining co-head Shea Small, who splits his time between Toronto and London, provides ‘thoughtful and commercial advice’ and advised Newcrest Mining on its $250m strategic investment in Lundin Gold and its $20m earn-in agreement with Lundin Gold. The group was recently strengthened in Toronto by the arrival of ‘fantastic addition’ Eva Bellissimo from Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP.

The ‘client-focused team’ at Norton Rose Fulbright is ‘expert in the mining area’, according to some. Historically known for its ability to plug into a ‘tier one global practice’, sources report that it has been ‘increasingly active on the local mining scene’. Among its highlights, Toronto’s David McIntyre acted alongside the firm’s Beijing and Hong Kong offices to advise a mining company on the purchase of a stake in gold mine and various joint venture arrangements. In Ottawa, infrastructure expert Geoffrey G. Gilbert paired up with of counsel and ‘responsive problem-solver’ Alison Babbitt to advise a mining company on a project finance package with a couple of finance providers. Marvin Singer and Robert Mason are also key contacts — both are in Toronto.

At Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, high-profile group head Fred Pletcher is highly sought after for corporate finance issues and recently advised a mining company on a complex multiparty merger. Erik Goldsilver is a key contact in Toronto and advised a global mining corporation on a private placement of debentures.

Dentons’ ‘very experienced’ mining team can handle ‘the simplest or most complex jobs with ease’. In Vancouver, group co-chair Brian E Abraham QC is acclaimed as ‘the dean of mining law in Canada’; he acted with Gary Sollis to advise Battle Mountain Gold on its acquisition by Gold Standard Ventures. Edmonton-based Leanne Krawchuk jointly chairs the practice and, with Vancouver’s Michael Axford, advised Conuma Coal Resources on several recent issues, including ERP Steel Works’ sale of a 52% stake in Conuma to AMCI Euro-Holdings.

DLA Piper (Canada) LLP finds favour for its ‘broad subject offering’ and ‘extensive network in Canada and the US’. Vancouver-based global mining co-chair David Reid ‘really understands the industry’ and advised Sumitomo on its $195m joint venture with IAMGOLD. Calgary’s Roy Hudson heads the mining practice for the Americas and is ‘well versed in transactional and regulatory resource law’ — he continues to advise New Millennium Iron on the development of the C$8bn Taconite Project.

Goodmans’ group, which is centred in Toronto, is best known for its experience in corporate and finance matters. Grant McGlaughlin is ‘very solid’ and co-heads the department alongside Kari MacKay; together they assisted Orla Mining with its $35m acquisition of the Camino Rojo Project from Goldcorp. Gesta Abols is also a key contact.

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP leverages its market-leading corporate practice to shine in corporate finance matters but it also leans on the firm’s environmental law and dispute resolution teams to provide regulatory support to its mining clients. Highlights included Toronto-based James Brown advising Pacific Road Capital Management on the C$21m sale of the Reno Creek Project to Uranium Energy Corporation. Vancouver’s Alan Hutchison jointly leads the department alongside Brown.

The ‘top-notch team’ at Torys LLP is led jointly by ‘very talented lawyers’ Michael Amm and Michael Pickersgill — both are based in Toronto. The group is particularly strong on the finance side and recent highlights include Amm advising the underwriters on Stelco Holdings’ C$230m IPO. Other representative clients include ArcelorMittal, Franco-Nevada and Orion Mine Finance.

Gowling WLG continues to raise its profile in the mining space, particularly on the corporate finance side where it can link with the global firm’s prominent fundraising practice. Key highlights included Vancouver-based Cyndi Laval advising Exeter Resource Corporation on its C$240m acquisition by Goldcorp.

McMillan LLP’s group advises across a broad range of exploration, development and production matters but is best known for corporate finance deals, particularly on behalf of junior companies. Highlights included advising Uranium Energy on its acquisition of the North Reno Creek Project. Vancouver-based Bernhard Zinkhofer is recommended.

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