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Editorial

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  1. Energy: mining
  2. Leading lawyers
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Who Represents Who

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Mining is a key pillar of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP’s firm-wide offering and it excels across the full spectrum of matters, from exploration and planning, through to environmental and project development. It is best known, however, for its corporate finance prowess and among its key highlights in the area group head Mark Bennett advised Lundin Mining on the C$1.1bn sale of its minority stake in the Tenke Fungurume to Chinese private equity player BHR Partners. Toronto-based Paul Stein is also a high-profile figure in the market and represented Goldcorp in its C$520m acquisition of Kaminak Gold. Among the Vancouver office’s highlights, Jennifer Traub acted for Thompson Creek Metals in its $1.1bn acquisition by Centerra Gold. Other key names in Toronto include securities expert Jay Goldman and ‘leading light’ John Craig. In Vancouver, Darrell Podowski and Gordon Chambers are also recommended.

A true ‘global mining giant’, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP’s national platforms in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa and Calgary combine with international footholds in London and Johannesburg to ensure it is a regular participant in multi-jurisdictional deals. Hailed for its ‘wide breadth of expertise’, sources draw particular attention to its ‘great bench’, ‘strong industry knowledge’ and ‘ability to call on teams within the firm for cross-practice support’. In Toronto, global mining head John Turner is a ‘go-to lawyer for mining deals’ and acted for Iamgold in its $230m share offering in Canada and the US. Other key names in Toronto include Michael Bourassa (‘a fantastic partner, with a sharp business mind’), Brian Graves (‘strong experience in cross-border transactions’) and rising star Krisztián Tóth. In Vancouver, Josh Lewis advised Eldorado Gold on the $300m sale of an 82% interest in the Jinfeng mine to a subsidiary of China National Gold.

A leader among Bay Street firms’, Stikeman Elliott LLP possesses a ‘deep well of experience and expertise that is unequalled in the mining space’. The group is split mainly between the firm’s Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal offices, although it also has expertise domestically in Calgary and internationally in New York and Sydney. In Toronto, mining co-head Jay Kellerman is a ‘strong and responsive relationship manager’ and acted for Nevsun Resources in its $365m acquisition of Reservoir Minerals. Also in Toronto, Amanda Linett is ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ and acted for Newmarket Gold in its C$1bn merger with Kirkland Lake Gold. In Vancouver, John Anderson advised Goldrock on its C$154m acquisition by Fortuna Silver Mines. Other key names in the ‘accessible and business-savvy’ team include Vancouver-based global mining co-head Quentin Markin and Montreal-based David Massé.

Bennett Jones LLP’s mining practice climbs a tier on the back of its increasing market share, which saw the Toronto-centred group act on a slew of corporate finance mandates over the past year – it also has significant experience in exploration and development. Sander Grieve heads the group and advised Osisko Gold Royalties on a C$173m bought-deal offering. Abbas Ali Khan continues to raise his profile in this space and advised Premier Gold Mines on its $122.5m acquisition of Yamana Gold’s Mercedes Mine property. Senior counsel John Sabine is also a key name.

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP is a top choice for mining industry clients due to its ‘soup-to-nuts coverage of the area’ combined with its ‘great cross-border experience’. The firm’s expertise certainly spans a wide range of mining law, with specialist expertise in environmental matters, capital markets, M&A and infrastructure. In Vancouver, Bob Wooder is a recognized specialist and advised Boliden on the $712m acquisition of First Quantum’s Kevitsa mine. Peter O’Callaghan is also recommended in Vancouver. In Toronto, corporate finance heavyweight Jeffrey Lloyd was part of the team that advised Kinross Gold on the sale of its 25% stake in the Cerro Casale project and its 100% interest in the Quebrada Seca project to Goldcorp.

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP is ‘top of class in the mining area’, according to one client, and stands out for its ‘excellent business acumen’ and ‘strong depth of team’. Melanie Shishler is the key contact for mining transactions, notably leading the firm’s relationship with Barrick Gold, and advises on M&A, joint ventures, royalty streaming transactions and corporate finance matters. Among Shishler’s recent work, she advised Barrick Gold on the $960m sale of a 50% interest in the Veladero gold mine to Shandong Gold ¬¬– she also advised the mining giant on various regional joint venture arrangements. Patricia Olasker is ‘strongly recommended for all matters corporate’ and advised Agnico Eagle Mines on a $220m equity offering.

At Lawson Lundell LLP, pre-eminent mining expert Chris Baldwin ‘knows all there is to know about the mining industry’ and is lauded as a ‘go-to guy for operational matters’. The group also includes ‘very strong mining specialist’ Khaled Abdel-Barr. Although particularly well known for its expertise relating to project development and exploration, the firm also houses a capable corporate finance practice. Representative clients include Baffinland Iron Mines, New Gold and Newmont Mining.

McCarthy Tétrault acts on a steady stream of mining deals across its domestic offices in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, and also benefits from a sizable London platform. Vancouver-based group co-lead Roger Taplin has a strong profile in the market and acted for Goldcorp in the $438m sale of its Los Filos Mine in Mexico to Leagold. In another headline deal, Toronto-based Frederico Marques advised Vale on the Canadian aspects of its $2.5bn sale of assets to, and the acquisition of a minority interest in, US-based Mosaic. Toronto-based co-head Shea Small is also recommended.

The Canadian arm of Norton Rose Fulbright’s global mining practice is jointly led by Quebec City-based Jean-Philippe Buteau and Calgary’s Crae Garrett, and calls upon partners in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and, following its 2017 merger with Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP, Vancouver. Among the group’s recent highlights, Toronto-based Walied Soliman advised the board of directors of Agrium on its $36bn merger with PotashCorp. On the projects side, Montreal-based Steve Malas acted for Arianne Phosphates in the C$1.5bn project financing of its Lac á Paul project in Quebec.

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s mining group has a focus on corporate finance matters under the leadership of Vancouver-based securities specialist Fred Pletcher. Among Pletcher’s recent work, he advised Anfield Gold on a C$32m private placement. Erik Goldsilver is recommended in Toronto and acted for Kinross Gold in its option agreement with Yorbeau Resources to acquire Yorbeau’s Rouyn property in Quebec.

The ‘excellent’ team at DLA Piper (Canada) LLP is ‘fast, hardworking and always available’. In particular, Vancouver-based global mining co-head David Reid is highlighted as ‘very experienced and adept at analysing complex legal issues’. Calgary-based Roy Hudson leads the mining practice for the Americas is also recommended; he continues to act for New Millennium Iron in the development of the C$8bn Taconite Project.

Dentons’ ‘industry knowledge is off-the-charts high’, according to clients, who also commend the team’s ‘great value for money’. In Vancouver, global mining co-chair Brian Abraham QC is ‘very effective with a great grasp of the industry’; he advised Battle Mountain Gold on a C$8m strategic investment by Gold Standard Ventures. In Montreal, Ann Bigué Ad E is recommended for Aboriginal and environmental law issues related to the mining sector. In 2016, former group co-chair Alan Hutchison left to join the Vancouver office of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP.

Goodmans’ ‘top-quality mining team’ is commended for its ‘deep knowledge of the Canadian market’ and ‘strong commercial sense’. Among the names to note, Grant McGlaughlin is a ‘first port of call for M&A’, and Kari MacKay is ‘absolutely excellent’; the pair jointly lead the group. Recent work includes advising Newmont Canada on the C$19.6m sale of its 31% interest in the Fort à la Corne property to Shore Gold. It also acted for GFL International, a subsidiary of Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium, in its $174m investment in Lithium Americas.

In a significant coup, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP welcomed the ‘very thorough and experienced’ Alan Hutchison into its Vancouver office as national mining co-head – he joins from Dentons, where he was also mining co-lead. Hutchison recently advised AQM Copper on its C$35m acquisition by Teck Resources. Firm managing partner Douglas Bryce jointly heads the department from Toronto. Other representative clients include Cameco, China Molybdenum and Kinross Gold.

Torys’ mining practice has a strong corporate finance bent under the leadership of joint co-heads Michael Amm and Michael Pickersgill – both of whom are based in Toronto. Among the group’s recent highlights, it advised Orion Mine Finance on its $122.5m financing package to Premier Gold Minds to support its acquisition of Yamana Gold’s Mercedes Mine in Mexico. It also advised Triple Flag Mining Finance on a silver stream agreement with Milpo UK. Alamos Gold, ArcelorMittal, and Dowa Metals and Mining are also on the firm’s books.

Gowling WLG’s national mining team spans Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, while internationally it leans on its UK arm’s stellar fundraising practice. Highlights included Vancouver-based Cyndi Laval advising Terraco Gold on a C$24.6m asset purchase and convertible debenture transaction with Solidus Resources.

In 2016, McMillan LLP significantly boosted its mining practice with the hire of Toronto-based Georges Dubé from Bennett Jones LLP, who is particularly well known for corporate finance matters. Vancouver’s Bernhard Zinkhofer is also recommended and acted for Auryn Resources in a C$41m private placement with Goldcorp.

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