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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Index of tables

  1. Mining and minerals
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Who Represents Who

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Linklaters LLP’s specialist mining team is ‘strong across the board’, leveraging a strong international network of offices and relationships, including with Allens in Australia. Charles Jacobs leads the practice with Toby Grimstone, who is known to clients for his ‘excellent knowledge of the finance markets and legal practices’, and ‘solid operatorDavid Avery-Gee. Andrew Jones advised the lenders on the proposed financing of the development by Vale and Mitsui of a rail line between a mine in the Tete Province of Mozambique and Nacala in Malawi. On the M&A side, Ian Hunter and Avery-Gee acted for Glencoreon the sale of 40% of its agricultural business to the Canada Pension Plan Investments Board, and the sale of a further 9.99% to the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation; Paul McNicholl and Nicole Kar also represented Anglo American on the sale of its Brazilian Niobium and Phosphates business to China Molybdenum in its effort to reduce debt. Other notable clients include Rio Tinto and Sibanye Gold.

Martin McCann’s mining team at Norton Rose Fulbright provides ‘first class technical knowledge backed up with deep industry expertise’ and was recently strengthened by the arrival of international arbitration lawyer James Rogers from the Hong Kong office. McCann, who ‘is very well respected in the market with a reputation for getting difficult things done’, recently assisted CBG with the expansion of its Sangaredi bauxite mine in western Guinea, while the ‘very knowledgeable and calm under pressureNeil Miller conducted an arbitration against a junior mining company in connection with disruption during the construction of a gold mine in Africa. The Eurasian Resources Group instructed the team on the construction and financing of its copper and cobalt project in the Kolwezi region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. ‘Rising star for the futureHolly Stebbing, who was recently promoted to the partnership, is ‘technically first class’ and has ‘strong commercial knowledge’. Other key contacts are projects lawyer Mark Berry, who specialises in advising on the construction and delivery of complex projects, and finance expert Daniel Metcalfe.

Allen & Overy LLP’s mining practice is jointly led by Dominic Morris in London and Geoff Simpson in Perth, acting for major international clients such as Rio Tinto, Vale and Anglo American. In recent highlights, Richard Browne, who manages the London corporate and M&A unit, represented Vale in the renegotiation of Mitsui’s $1bn investment in the Moatize coal mine in Mozambique and the Nacala rail line project. On the equity capital markets front, James Roe advised Nordgold on its conversion to a societas europaea and its subsequent migration to the UK, and acted for Canaccord, J&E Davy and Mirabaud as joint brokers on the fundraising aspect of the restructuring of Kenmare. In terms of contentious work, Mark Levy led the team in a large commercial arbitration case on behalf of the government of Balochistan, and counselled the government of Pakistan in a related investment treaty arbitration. Global chairman of the corporate group Richard Cranfield and Jeremy Parr, who is co-head of the firm’s global energy group, are also key contacts.

Ashurst’s ‘outstanding’ mining team displays ‘excellent knowledge of the sector’ under the leadership of the London-based Michael Robins, who specialises in corporate finance and M&A work. ‘Very commercial’ corporate partner Yann Alix, who recently joined the practice from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s Paris office, has ‘an unrivalled knowledge of the African market’; he leads the advice to BHP Billiton on its interest in the Nimba project in Guinea. In other work highlights, Robins acted for Iluka on its takeover of Sierra Rutile; Nick Williamson advised the joint book-runners on the equity fundraising for AIM-listed Sirius Minerals to finance the development of its polyhalite project in North Yorkshire; while Tom Mercer assisted Vedanta with the $2.3bn merger of its subsidiaries as part of its initiative to simplify its corporate structure. Dispute resolution expert Matthew Saunders joined from DLA Piper.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s Rachel Speight and practice head Ian Coles are ‘experienced, focused and hands-on lawyers who provide the required senior oversight for all matters’. Tom Eldridge joined the team from Dentons, where he headed the mining and project finance team; he is ‘commercial in his approach and looks to secure an acceptable outcome rather than just try to score points on other lawyers’. The group was engaged by Standard Chartered Bank, BNP Paribas and several other lenders to advise on a five-year loan facility to First Quantum, and by Société Générale to oversee the project financing of a lead and zinc mine in Macedonia. Apart from high-value restructuring and distress work, the team also handles insurance and environmental issues arising from mining accidents. Jonathan Hosie is a key contact in the construction and engineering department. Other notable clients include Investec, Toro Gold and Universal Coal.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s Nick Angel and counsel Cathy Marsh represented the EIB, the African Development Bank and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund as lenders on the restructuring of the Moma titanium project in Mozambique and the provision of a new debt facility. On the M&A side, James Warbey advised the senior lenders on the $775m acquisition of the Indonesian Martabe gold mine by an international consortium of buyers, while Tom Canning and Stuart Harray acted for a joint venture on its acquisition of a controlling stake in a mining company, which is financed through a combination of senior debt, sponsor equity and mezzanine debt. The team, led jointly by Clive Ransome and John Dewar, also assisted the EBRD with financing work, namely with respects to the development and operation of a gold mine. Senior associate Seyda Duman is also a key contact.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP has a strong expertise in projects work, including finance, development, equity arrangements and restructurings. It recently assisted long-standing client Ambatovy with a complex restructuring of project debt in response to low nickel prices. Stewart Robertson, who heads the practice with Craig Jones, led the team advising Rio Tinto and Oyu Tolgoi on the $4.4bn multi-source financing for Oyu Tolgoi’s copper and gold project in Mongolia, which is expected to account for 30% of Mongolia’s GDP upon completion. On the contentious side, the practice represented Centerra Gold in arbitration proceedings with the government of Kyrgyzstan regarding the Kumtor gold mine, which is the largest foreign investment in the country. Key contacts also include Nikolaos Andronikos, Chris Beatty and Christopher J Howard, who handled a complex restructuring for long-standing client Kenmare, the operator of the Moma titanium mine in Mozambique.

Headed by Rebecca Campbell, White & Case LLP’s London mining practice acts for banks, mining companies and lenders in the full life cycle of mining work. In recent highlights, Campbell and Peter Finlay acted for the lenders on the multimillion-dollar financing of the expansion of Sangaredi’s bauxite mine in Guinea, and Caroline Miller Smith is assisting Vale with the financing and development of the Nacala Corridor project in Mozambique. Campbell is also working as part of a multi-office team advising a central Asian government entity on improving the country’s subsoil use legislation and is assisting a Middle Eastern ministry with overhauling a mining investment law. On the M&A front, the group has recently handled a share capital acquisition in South America, a divestment and related criminal investigation in a European country, and a mining business sale in Central Asia. Other notable clients include Norilsk Nickel, Trafigura and BNP Paribas.

Baker McKenzie advises on high-profile disputes, development projects and private equity investment matters, amongt others, for clients such as Rio Tinto, ArcelorMittal and Nrystar. Practice head Richard Blunt is acting for Audley on its acquisition of Anglo American Norte, the company’s Chilean copper mining branch, while construction law expert Mike Webster is assisting Ma’aden with the planned expansion of its phosphate production capabilities. The team also oversaw several distressed transactions, including Michael Herington, Gordon Low and of counsel Susannah Davies handling the sale of a mining and minerals consumables listed business. The group also advised a major mining group on two exploration joint ventures looking for copper reserves in Central Asia. Dispute resolution specialist Steve Abraham is representing several mining companies as suppliers to a smelting facility in a series of claims and defences following a catastrophic failure at the facility.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s mining department is spread across several of the firm’s offices. Head Alexander Keepin, who is a member of the firm’s corporate finance group, recently advised a sovereign wealth fund on the equity fundraising and debt restructuring of Kenmare, and acted for Peel Hunt and Tamesis in a fundraising initiative for Berkeley Energia. Other key contacts include senior associate Brian Mulkerrins, who supported Keeping in a high-value placing for the AIM-listed Shanta Gold, the operator of the New Luika gold mine in Tanzania. Senior associate Tim Sumner, who sits in the projects group, was part of the team assisting Ncondezi with its non-binding memorandum of understanding with Shanghai Electric Power to prepare a transaction which could see the latter become controlling shareholder in the Ncondezi power project. Gareth Jones joined Pinsent Masons LLP.

James Pay and David Lewis jointly lead Clifford Chance LLP’s mining and minerals team, which has strong expertise in project financing and corporate transactions. Clients such as Metalcorp, Anglo American Platinum and Sierra Rutile instruct it in arbitration proceedings, funding agreements and transactional matters. Russell Wells and Iain Hunter are also key contacts.

Fasken Martineau LLP has substantial experience in handling equity investments, financing arrangements and M&A transactions on behalf of mining companies, banks and brokers, and investors. The mining group is headed by regional managing partner and transactions expert Al Gourley. Other key contacts include Thomas Wexler, who acts for lenders, sponsors and governments in infrastructure projects in all sectors, and Jodi Katz.

Fieldfisher’s ‘highly professional team has a wealth of experience in the mining sector’ and attracts praise from clients for its ‘proactive, practical as well as innovative approach to complex transactions’. Practice head Jonathan Brooks ‘is a real gentleman’ and ‘his long experience in the sector commands respect’; he recently worked alongside Dominic Gurney-Champion to advise Atalaya on the expansion of its Rio Tinto copper mine in Spain. On the transactional side, Brad Isaac acted for Kodal on its purchase of International Goldfields’ issued share capital, also handling an AIM placing to raise capital to launch an exploration initiative at the client’s Bougouni lithium project in Mali. Colin Gibson jointly defended with Gurney-Champion a client in the commercial court against a failure to pay deferred consideration claim. Other notable individuals include banking and finance partners Oliver Abel Smith and Matt Hinxman, and corporate specialist George Cotter.

HFW advises clients on supply chain management issues, but also handles M&A and corporate finance as well as disputes. Public M&A and financing expert Brian Gordon heads the global mining practice and leads the London team alongside Nick Hutton. Recent highlights include Haydn Dare advising Newmont and Sumitomo on the sale of a 56% stake in the operator of the Batu Hijau copper and gold project in Indonesia by a Dutch joint venture jointly owned by the clients, and also assisted Tata Power with a high-value transaction. Giles Beale advised a UK-based company on structuring a fund to acquire and manage assets through mining concessions in Africa and South and Central America, while Sarah Taylor acted for a mining company on a high-value sale and leaseback transaction with a global car manufacturer. James Wilson and Jayson Marks are also key contacts. Clients also include Metinvest, Exelon and Timis Mining.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s UK and EMEA mining group has strong expertise in private and public M&A and corporate work. It advised new client Excalibur Steel on its potential acquisition of Tata Steel, including the Port Talbot works in Wales, and David Walton acted for Newmont and Sumitomo on the disposal of their 56% stake in the Batu Hijau copper and gold mine in Indonesia. Practice head Greg Mulley worked closely with the Sydney office in Yancoal’s acquisition of Coal & Allied from Rio Tinto. In terms of contentious work, John Ogilvie has defended numerous claims of environmental issues arising from operations in Africa. Will Breeze focuses on natural resources project finance work, and senior associate Joanne Keillor supports the dispute resolution branch of the practice and has experience in handling allegations of pollution and contamination.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s head of infrastructure, energy, resources and projects in London Adrian Walker is advising a mining giant on the finalisation of the EPCM arrangements for phase two of a major copper and gold project in Asia. In terms of contentious work, a cross-office team including Steven Bryan, David Leggott and Richard Lewis represented a transnational group in a dispute arising from the sale of shares in an iron ore joint venture project in South America, and Kieron O’Callaghan is acting for a bank in multi-jurisdictional proceedings, including multiple London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) proceedings, against an Eastern European mining company relating to allegations of loan agreements and currency swap transaction breaches. Senior associate Mark Marfe continues to support ARM, an NGO dedicated to implementing more ethical working practices in the mining industry, with its licensing programme.

Latham & Watkins’s multi-disciplinary mining and metals team ‘is able to draw upon a deep pool of subject experts and make them available in multiple time zones to seamlessly ensure 24/7 productivity’. Craig Nethercott recently advised Aluminium Bahrain on obtaining an $882m conventional credit facility and a $618m ijara facility coordinated by the Gulf International Bank, J.P. Morgan and the National Bank of Bahrain. Simon Tysoe, who provides ‘strong specialist legal advice across multiple fields and seamless team management’, is acting for Hancock Prospecting on its acquisition of shares from Sirius and a minerals royalty from York Potash. Recent litigation work includes Sophie Lamb and Oliver Browne representing a Norwegian client in a dispute relating to obligations arising from a shareholders’ agreement governing activity as part of a joint venture in a South American project. Ayesha K Waheed is also recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s mining and natural resources team ‘carries domain expertise and charges competitive fees’ under the leadership of construction law expert Sarah Thomas. She is advising York Potash alongside the Leeds-based planning partner Andrew Quinlan on planning, environmental, M&A and property matters in connection with its proposed mine development in the UK. Other key names include Jon Harris, who recently acted for Beaufort as the broker in numerous secondary fundraising matters by AIM-listed companies, and legal director Ross McDowall, who advised Kier on a wide array of property, environmental and planning law issues with regards to its operations in East Ayrshire. The team acted in LCIA arbitration proceedings arising from an iron ore mining project in Western Africa seeking to recover monies on behalf of the trustee. Other notable clients include Anglo American, Sirius and African Minerals.

Simmons & Simmons’ mining and minerals team, headed by Iain Duncan, has strong experience in alternative forms of finance and dispute resolution work, including contentious tax advice. Recent work highlights include Adam Cooper advising Lynx Resources on its establishment and its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Rudnik Sasa Doo Makedonska Kamenica from a Russian equity investor, as well as Colin Bole and Isabella Roberts acting for Orion on its acquisition of Anglo American Norte. On the contentious side, Stuart Dutson, who recently joined the practice from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, is leading a cross-office team representing the government of Indonesia in a bilateral treaty arbitration brought by India Metals & Ferro Alloys regarding an investment in a coal mining project in Kalimantan. Duncan continues to assist Mondo with regards to the development of its nickel processing facilities and its offtake arrangements. Managing associate Rose-Anna Daukes is also recommended.

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s client roster includes names such as Acacia Mining, Norsk and ArcelorMittal. George Karafotias is acting for ArcelorMittal on a joint venture transaction with a subsidiary of Votorantim. Jeremy Kutner, Nicholas Buckworth and Alex Uff are all recommended, as are head of the European M&A group Laurence Levy and Jonathan Handyside, who was promoted to counsel in the European capital markets department in 2017. Former practice co-head Richard Price joined Anglo American as group general counsel.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP maintains a broad practice by acting for both mining companies and banks in a vast range of areas including corporate and commercial law, finance and dispute resolution. Capital markets practice head Clive Hopewell and Chris Putt jointly lead the group with the support of Adam Carling, who recently advised Yamana Gold on its offer of purchase rights in Brio Gold, one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries, to shareholders in the UK as part of the wider spinning out of Brio from the Yamana group. John Sykes handles commercial and corporate litigation work and represented Oxus Gold in the enforcement of its arbitral award made against the Uzbek government regarding profits made further to the license to mine gold granted by the defendant. The team also acts for Centamin, Randgold, and new clients ECR Minerals and Redstone.

Clyde & Co LLP advises clients such as Lizarazu, Anglo-African Minerals and Glencore on the full life cycle of mining operations and has a strong track record of acting in emerging markets, including across Africa and South America. The practice is jointly led by international dispute resolution specialist Maurice Kenton, who is also part of the firm’s international arbitration team, and corporate partner Chris Duffy. Kenton is defending a number of insurers against property damage and business interruption claims brought by the operator of a mining facility which suffered a catastrophic malfunction, while Philip Mace advises the subsidiary of a heavyweight mining client on the sale of its South American iron ore product to another household name. Senior associate Simon Schooling supports Kenton in international disputes and also works alongside Peter Hirst, who is responsible for the development of the firm’s arbitration in South America.

DLA Piper is ‘among the best performing law firms in the market’, according to one client, and provides ‘a good knowledge of the local environment, a high level of availability, and an excellent service’, especially in contentious matters. Sandy Telfer and Sheffield-based Petra Billing acted for Ineos in its successful application to the Department of Energy and Climate Change under it 14th UK onshore unconventional oil and gas licensing round, and Kate Cervantes-Knox represented the Republic of Kenya in an International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes arbitration claim brought by mining investor Cortec. In the private sector, James Carter defended a Columbian mining company in ICC arbitration proceedings brought by a Turkish entity with regards to an asset purchase agreement relating to coal mining licenses and related assets in South America. The team also worked closely with its international network to assist clients with bond issuing, security finance and real estate portfolio transactions.

Dentons’ corporate partner Neil Nicholson heads the London mining practice, which includes Evgenia Laurson, who shares her time between London and Moscow; she is experienced in complex cross-border financing matters and recently acted for Eurochem on a $800m five-year pre-export financing provided by a group of international banks. Other work highlights include advising a major mining company on the financing of a gold mine in Central Asia, and assisting a household name bank with the facility agreement for a gold project. Managing associate Emma Jarvis and restructuring and insolvency specialist Will Gunston are also recommended.

The metals and mining sector group at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP acts for clients across the spectrum of matters, including international disputes. Corporate partner and team head Julian Makin focuses on equity and debt capital markets as well as M&A work. Africa group co-head Gabriel Mpubani handles finance work in the energy, natural resources and infrastructure sectors.

The ‘very straightforward and professional’ lawyers in Gowling WLG’s mining practice are ‘experts in the field and in corporate law in general’ and provide clients with ‘excellent sector knowledge’. Birmingham-based Baljit Chohan led the advice on Tarmac’s acquisition of 11 cement sites from Breedon and Hope Construction as part of the client’s expansion strategy in the UK. On the M&A side, practice head Charles Bond acted for Stellar Diamonds in its takeover of Tonguma, a diamond mine in Sierra Leone, from Octea, while Dominic Prentis assisted Strategic Minerals with its binding term sheet to acquire a 50% interest in NAE Resources. The team was also appointed by Hummingbird to oversee the $67m equity fundraising for the construction of its Yanfolia gold project in Mali while also handling its current debt financing from Taurus. M&A partner David Brennan and consultant Andrew Wright, who has experience in coordinating cross-border transactions, are also recommended.

Reed Smith LLP acts as lead counsel to the commodities marketing division of a major international mining company and is representing it in a high-value, multi-faceted international arbitration with regards to the supply of iron ore and also recently advised the client on the sale of one of its South American copper projects. Other work highlights include Paul Skeet acting for a well-known mining company on the disposal of a niobium and phosphate business as part of its wider restructuring strategy, and Alex Andrews representing another mining giant in expedited arbitration proceedings seeking declaratory relief from a contract. Richard Swinburn advises commodity trading and natural resources companies on financing, transport and trading issues, and works closely with Jonathan Solomon, who leads the firm’s EMEA and South East Asia trade and communities finance practice. Dispute resolution expert Kyri Evagora leads the group from New York and is also a key contact. Counsel Ildar Bagautdinov joined from Linklaters LLP.

Fladgate LLP’s Paul Airley heads the firm’s natural resources team while Nigel Gordon is head of mining. The practice recently acted for Beaumont Cornish as nomad and UK broker on the admission to AIM of lithium exploration and development company European Metals. Steven Mash continues to advise Rimbal on the exploitation of its Rare Earth mine in Greenland and quartz mine in Iceland, and Nigel Gordon assisted Xtract Resources with the acquisition of 100% of the Manica gold project in Mozambique from Auroch. Key contacts also include senior associate Linda Whittle, who frequently assists Airley with all aspects of corporate and finance work, and Neil Vickers, who has strong experience in international equity markets as well as public and private M&A transactions.

Jones Day specialises in regulatory advice and project finance matters in emerging markets. Michael Pabst is co-head of the firm’s banking and finance practice and advises financial institutions, sponsors, borrowers and issuers. Sion Richards handles civil litigation and insolvency disputes.

The ‘excellent’ team at K&L Gates LLP provides ‘the best combination of commercial advice and client service’, according to one client. Head of the London corporate department and co-lead of the mining and minerals team Paul Tetlow attracts praise from clients for his ‘commercial approach and reliability’. James Green and John Elgar advised Amara Mining on its recommended takeover by Perseus in exchange for the issue of shares and warrants in Perseus to Amara shareholders. On the antitrust and competition front, Scott Megregian assisted a multinational corporation with the sale of part of its business to a European group, and senior associate Riley Kemp, who recently transferred from the firm’s Perth office, acted, alongside Green, for ALS Limited on its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of ALcontrol’s UK-based food, water and environmental testing company.

Kerman & Co LLP acts for clients such as Jade Resources, Capital Metals and URU Metals and recently expanded its corporate team with the recruitment of M&A specialists Martin O’Donoghue from Teacher Stern LLP, Simon Holden from Iofina where he was company secretary, and new practice head Peter Kohl from Hogan Lovells International LLP. Yoan Ju recently advised long-standing client Metals Exploration on a series of successful equity fundraising proposals, and assisted FinnAust with its acquisition of a 60% interest in Bluejay; Andy Kerman and Una Deretic also led on notable M&A work. Solicitor Coral Yu recently joined the practice from Paul Hastings LLP’s Beijing office and is also a name to note. Solicitor David Lee became an associate at Fladgate LLP.

Jointly led by Nick Davis and Michael Dawes, Memery Crystal LLP's seven-partner team acts for clients such as GemFields, Ferrex and Rainbow Rare Earths. Recent highlights include acting for Numis, RBC and Investec on a high-profile fundraising for Sierra Rutile, advising new client Tharisa on its admission to the standard segment of the Main Market, and assisting Shanta Gold with several transactions including the placing of an open offer to raise $10m and a $525m silver stream agreement. Head of dispute resolution Jane Marsden represented Chunya in a breach of warranty and misrepresentation claim against Red Kite, and Lesley Gregory oversaw the redomiciliation of Caledonia Mining from Canada to Jersey. Rumit Nanji and corporate transactions and IPO expert Kieran Stone are also a key contacts.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s Jan Mellmann leads the firm’s natural resources practice and the London corporate team, and recently acted for North River on a $5.6m investment in the form of secured, conditionally convertible loan notes by its majority shareholder Greenstone. He and senior associate Jenny Hodges advised Mariana and Chaarat Gold on fundraising matters. Dispute resolution partner Andrew Hutcheon continues to represent MRI Trading in the enforcement of a successful English commercial court appeal against a London Metal Exchange arbitration award obtained by Erdenet. Joe Levin assisted the EBRD with the provision of a loan to Maya Gold & Silver to finance the expansion of its mining operation in Zgounder, Morocco. Other notable clients include FinnAust, Western Areas and Baobab.

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