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United Kingdom > London > Projects, energy and natural resources > Mining and minerals > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Mining and minerals
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Highlights for Linklaters LLP’s ‘excellent’ team has predominantly focused on assisting clients with debt restructuring matters and acting in litigation. Charlie Jacobs, David Avery-Gee and Ian Hunter, who is now a partner, have been advising Glencore on its $10.2bn debt reduction programme. Andrew Jones has been assisting a syndicate of five lenders with the proposed $5bn financing of Vale and Mitsui & Co.’s development of a rail line to expand a coal facility in the port of Nacala in Mozambique. Toby Grimstone and Andrew Jones lead the team alongside Jacobs and Avery-Gee.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s practice has experienced a growth in restructurings, disputes and private equity transactions. Highly regarded practice head Martin McCann has been advising Compagnie des Bauxite de Guinée (which is jointly owned by Rio Tinto, Alcoa, Dadco and the State of Guinea) on the $700m expansion of its bauxite mine in Sangarédi in western Guinea. In another highlight, McCann assisted Roxgold with the $75m financing of its Yaramoko Gold Project in West Africa. Mark Berry and senior associate James Rennard also advised on that matter. Other key figures include corporate partner Raj Karia and construction specialist Matthew Hardwick.

Headed by M&A expert Dominic Morris, Allen & Overy LLP’s department acts for global majors, domestic corporates and financial institutions. Capital markets transactions are a particular strength of the firm; in 2015, Richard Browne led the team advising Sirius Minerals on its £15m placement of shares on AIM. Other clients include Vale, Fortescue Metals Group and Randgold Resources.

Clients rate Ashurst’s practice as ‘very good and easy to deal with’, and for its ability to provide ‘commercial advice across a wide range of mining and M&A matters’. Simon Baskerville* and Nick Williamson led the team advising a number of bondholders on the recapitalisation of Russian mining group Petropavlovsk, including a $235m rights issue. Headed by Michael Robins, the team was strengthened by the arrivals of Yann Alix and James Wood from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, respectively. Martin Kudnig joined Johnson Winter & Slattery. *Simon Baskerville joined Latham & Watkins in July 2016.

Clifford Chance LLP’s ‘extremely strong’ group has been handling a growing number of arbitration and litigation matters, in addition to its corporate and debt restructuring workload. Russell Wells and Iain Hunter have been acting for the lenders on a series of financings for Glencore, including the $15.3bn refinancing of its revolving credit facilities. The practice is jointly led by the ‘exceptional’ David Lewis and James Pay.

Mayer Brown International LLP fields ‘a large number of experienced mining practitioners’. Practice head Ian Coles (whom clients rate as ‘a number-one draft pick’) advised the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), UniCredit and Turkish bank Yapi Kredi as lenders on $260m term loan facilities provided to Kazakhstan subsidiaries of Yildirim Holding to fund its acquisition of the Voskhod mine north-west of Kazakhstan. The team was strengthened by the arrivals of finance partner Kieron Dwyer and Tom Eldridge from Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co. and Dentons, respectively.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP is renowned for the strength of its work for lenders involved in emerging markets projects. Group head Phillip Fletcher and consultant Cathy Marsh advised the six-strong lending group on the restructuring of a project financing for the Moma Titanium project in Mozambique. Other clients include BNP Paribas, EBRD and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s practice is headed by Jamie Logie and the ‘sensible and commercialStewart Robertson, and is singled out for its sponsor-side strength. Logie and Christopher Howard led the team advising Kenmare Resources as the developer and sponsor of the $360m Moma Titanium project in Mozambique.

White & Case LLP’s ‘excellent’ team acts for both mining companies and lenders. Rebecca Campbell has been advising a lending consortium comprising UniCredit and Société Générale on the Ilovica gold-copper project in Macedonia. Peter Finlay has been assisting Turquoise Hill Resources as the developer with the $4.4bn project financing of the Oyu Tolgoi project. Clients recommend John Tivey, who heads the group from Hong Kong. Evgenia Laurson is now at Dentons.

Baker McKenzie LLP’s group has been advising on a range of mining-related private equity investments, and is also handling a number of high-profile disputes. Department head Richard Blunt advised Audley Capital Advisors as part of the consortium acquiring Anglo American’s Norte copper business. Mike Webster has been assisting Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) with the development and financing of an expansion to its existing operations.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s mining and resources team covers the full life cycle of mining matters, including advising on construction matters such as EPC contracts and handling disputes. Marc Trottier advised the Pension Protection Fund on the £150m sale of old UK Coal assets to Coalfield Resources. Practice head Alexander Keepin specialises in IPOs and secondary issues in the Main Market and AIM.

Fasken Martineau LLP is highly experienced in M&A and capital markets transactions, project financings and disputes. Thomas Wexler advised Minera IRL on a $70m bridging loan as the first step of a $240m financing of the Ollachea gold project in Peru. Nigel Gordon and David Smith are now at Fladgate LLP and Druces LLP, respectively. Al Gourley heads the group.

Headed by the ‘excellent’ Jonathan Brooks, Fieldfisher’s ‘knowledgeable and attentive’ department has been primarily advising on transactions involving jurisdictions in Europe, Africa and the CIS. Clients recommend the ‘very professional’ Brad Isaac and ‘strategic’ Dominic Gurney-Champion, both of whom assisted Atalaya Mining with a £65m equity fundraising to restart its copper mine operations in Spain. Matt Hinxman and disputes expert Simon Sloane joined from Baker Botts (UK) LLP and Reed Smith LLP, respectively.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP's mining and metals group comprises 15 partners dedicated to advising global mining and resources companies on the full range of matters, from large-scale developments to international disputes. Group head Julian Makin has a particular focus on mining-related private equity and fund formation matters.

Greg Mulley’s team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is particularly noted for its project finance expertise. David Walton has been acting for ING, BNP Paribas, Santander and Société Générale as the lenders on the €222m financing of the Muga potash project in Spain. Other clients include BHP Billiton, Lonmin and Vedanta Resources.

Latham & Watkins has a multidisciplinary practice headed by project and Islamic finance expert Craig Nethercott. Nethercott advised Taweelah Aluminium Extrusion Company on the $140m bridge financing for the development and construction of an aluminium plant in Abu Dhabi. Charles Claypoole, James Inness and Robbie McLaren are now partners.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s track record spans the whole mining project life cycle, with a strong focus on corporate finance. Jon Harris advised Wishbone Gold on a £1.3m placing and debt-to-equity swap. The practice is headed by Sarah Thomas, whose international experience includes Francophone jurisdictions, as well as Brazil and Chile.

Simmons & Simmons specialises in handling investments in emerging markets. Richard Dyton advised SNC-Lavalin on the £300m divestment of its entire interest in the Ambatovy Nickel joint venture project in Madagascar to existing partner Sumitomo Corporation. Practice head Iain Duncan is often instructed on partnering arrangements, as well as development and investment agreements with host governments.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s team is jointly led by Chris Putt and the ‘very experiencedClive Hopewell (who also heads the firm’s capital markets group), and is noted for its ‘excellent service and very good knowledge’. Clients include banks and financial advisers, as well as FTSE 100 gold miners such as Randgold Resources.

Very experienced in the corporate mining area’, Clyde & Co LLP acts for clients ranging from governments, operators and financial institutions, with strong experience in high-profile disputes. Co-head Maurice Kenton successfully represented Carnegie Minerals in a claim brought against the Republic of The Gambia in a ICSID arbitration regarding the client’s mining licence. Also recommended are ‘outstanding’ fellow joint head Christopher Duffy and newly promoted partner Elisabeth Moseley. Nigel Taylor is now at Watson Farley & Williams LLP.

Neil Nicholson leads the team at Dentons, which is experienced in handling domestic M&A. Will Gunston acted for Hatfield Colliery in four consecutive financial restructurings, including a £4m bilateral loan with the National Union of Mineworkers, and its eventual winding-up application. Tom Eldridge has joined Mayer Brown International LLP.

Now led by Charles Bond following its merger with Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co., Gowling WLG specialises in handling cross-border financings, particularly those in Africa and the CIS. Bond led the team in advising GoldBridges Global Resources on a £3m fundraising as part of the development of an underground mind in Kazakhstan. Other clients include Hummingbird Resources, Tertiary Minerals and Eurasia Mining.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s ‘incredibly responsive’ team provides ‘impressively strategic advice’. Its expertise spans the full project lifecycle, with specialist knowledge of emerging markets. Richard Lewis led the team defending Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation in a dispute valued in excess of $300m concerning a major iron ore project in Brazil. Practice head Adrian Walker is singled out for his ‘excellent in-depth knowledge’.

Holman Fenwick Willan has been increasingly handling distressed M&A and advising on sovereign debt restructurings. Global head Brian Gordon and James Lewis advised Asia Coal Energy Ventures on its $210m acquisition of Asia Resource Minerals. The team’s corporate offering was bolstered by Giles Beale and James Wilson’s arrival from Reed Smith LLP. Nick Hutton heads the London team.

Acting for a wide range of clients that includes Vale and Deutsche Bank, Reed Smith LLP is noted for its handling of offtake agreements, as well as for its M&A and antitrust expertise. Kyri Evagora leads the team, which includes Paul Skeet and Richard Swinburn.

At Shearman & Sterling LLP, Richard Price’s group often acts for banks and lenders. Jeremy Kutner advised Anglo American on its $500m disposal of Anglo American Norte to an investor consortium led by Audley Capital Advisors. Ronan Wicks relocated from the firm’s New York office.

Fladgate LLP’s 12-strong team was strengthened by the arrivals of Chris Chrysanthou and Nigel Gordon from Fasken Martineau LLP. Gordon jointly leads the team and advised Xtract Resources on its $13m acquisition of the Manica Gold project in Mozambique from Auroch Minerals. Fellow joint head Paul Airley is also recommended.

Jones Day is highly experienced in emerging markets projects, with particular strength in project finance and regulatory matters. The practice is led by banking and finance co-head Michael Pabst.

K&L Gates LLP provides ‘commercial and practical advice’ on a broad range of matters, including equity capital markets transactions, M&A and project finance. Practice head Paul Tetlow advised Bellzone Mining on a proposed $30m loan facility with China Sonangol. Other clients include Amara Mining and Orica.

Kerman & Co LLP’s ‘always responsive and friendly’ team primarily acts for AIM-listed clients. Group head Michael Bennett specialises in emerging markets. Clients include Metals Exploration, West African Minerals and Noricum Gold. Robert Koller joined from Simmons & Simmons LLP.

Memery Crystal LLP’s clients rate the firm for its ‘pragmatism and good value for money’. Michael Dawes (‘technically excellent and fun to work with’) heads the practice, which has seen a significant increase in banking and debt finance matters. Dawes advised Pala Investments on the $10m bridge financing of Alufer Mining’s bauxite project in Guinea. Other clients include Nyota Minerals, Shanta Gold and new client African Thunder Platinum.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s practice advises clients from a wide range of jurisdictions, including the Americas, Africa, Russia and the CIS. Group head Jan Mellmann has been assisting Mariana Resources with a number of mandates, including its acquisition of Aegean Metals. Martin Thomas and Dearbhla Quigley joined from Chadbourne & Parke (London) LLP.

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