Mining in Argentina
‘Highly knowledgeable and responsive’, Allende & Brea is valued by clients for its ‘strong industry acumen and connections’ and for its ‘understanding of the mining market worldwide, as well as domestic laws and issues’. The group, which excels in the full suite of transactional, regulatory and contentious work, is most recognised for its reputation as a key player in the lithium market for clients such as FMC, Rio Tinto and Galaxy Resources. High-profile department co-head Florencia Heredia, widely lauded as ‘very knowledgeable and well known in the industry’, recently acted for key client Galaxy Resources on the $280m sale of certain mining properties to POSCO. In another transactional headline, Heredia advised Pluspetrol on its acquisition of all the outstanding shares of LSC Lithium. The ‘very experienced and knowledgeable’ Juan Martín Allende co-leads the department and assisted FMC Lithium with the expansion of its lithium extraction operations in Argentina. He also advised Fortuna Silver Mines on an EPC contract for the construction of a gold mining project — impressive associate Nahila Cortes provided sole support on that work.
Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal
‘A stand-out mining firm’, Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal houses ‘the market-leading practice in Argentina’, according to many. The group covers all the bases in mining law, with specialist skill sets in mining projects, transactions, regulatory matters and litigation — it is also distinguished by its ability to draw upon the wider firm’s top-tier expertise in corporate finance, public law and tax to provide support on multi-layered mining deals. Department head Luis Lucero is widely revered as a ‘go-to mining specialist’ and provides ongoing advice to Oroplata, a wholly owned subsidiary of Goldcorp, on its Cerro Negro gold and silver mine. On the contentious side, Lucero is representing Glencore’s subsidiary El Pachón in its high-profile dispute with Minera Los Pelambres (an Antofagasta-controlled subsidiary) regarding a waste dump built by Minera Los Pelambres on Glencore’s property in Argentina. Leonardo Rodríguez is also a key contact and advised Coeur Argentina on granting an option to Minera Santa Cruz to purchase the Huracán and Tornado mining rights in the Province of Santa Cruz. The firm also benefits from an impressive band of younger mining specialists, including senior associate Andrés Villarreal and associate María Mercedes Rudolph. Other key clients include Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti and Pan American Silver.
Baker McKenzie’s robust mining practice advises clients across a broad range of exploration, exploitation and financing issues, with recent strong showings in the lithium and gold areas. Department co-head Adolfo Durañona is an eminent name in the market and recently advised Albemarle on several matters, including the $18m acquisition of lithium mining projects in Catamarca. On the finance front, Durañona advised Trident Southern Explorations on a $19m loan to support continued activities in the Andacollo mining project. The department, which is co-led by Roberto Grané, also counts Vale as a key client.
Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi continues to strengthen its profile for mining work and the increasingly impressive practice recently added Mineros and Metalla Royalty & Streaming to its client portfolio. Among its longstanding retainers, the group advises mining giants Barrick Gold Corporation, First Quantum Minerals and Yamana Gold (through its Argentine subsidiaries) on day-to-day matters. Among its transactional highlights, the group assisted Mineros with its $60m acquisition of the Gualcamayo mine from Yamana Gold — together, department co-heads Sergio Arbeleche and Sebastián Vedoya led that work.
Beccar Varela had a busy year on the lithium front, on both the transactional and regulatory sides, and it also advised clients within the gold, copper and silver industries. Among its headline deals, the firm advised Shanghai Nextview on the local aspects of its $265m acquisition of Canada’s Lithium X — banking specialist Maximiliano D’Auro led that mandate. In another lithium-related highlight, corporate finance partner Roberto Fortunati advised Australia’s Quantum Capital on the launch of its activities in Argentina and investments in lithium projects. Senior associate Marcos Moreno Hueyo, noted as a ‘very good up-and-coming mining specialist’, provided sole support on both the Shanghai Nextview and the Quantum Capital work.
The consensus is that the ‘compact but effective’Beretta Godoy is a ‘specialist in mining deals’, which is evidenced by its close links with mining giants such as BHP Billiton, Yamana Gold and Metallurgical Corporation of China. Aside from its transactional prowess, the firm also shines in regulatory and contentious matters, with notable experience in complex arbitrations. Highly regarded managing partner Federico Godoy is a ‘sharp and commercial lawyer’; he recently paired up with Juan Sonoda, who heads the energy and natural resources department, to advise key client Yamana Gold on the sale of its Gualcamayo gold mine in Argentina.
‘Responsive, efficient and cost-effective’, Mitrani Caballero & Ruiz Moreno Abogados continues to go from strength to strength following the arrival of a team from mining-focused boutique HOLT Abogados in 2017. The ‘client-oriented group’ is noted for its ability to provide ‘integrated solutions across a wide range of legal specialities’, with its supplementary expertise in environmental, corporate and finance finding favour. The lithium industry is a key source of instructions and it recently advised LSC Lithium on the Argentine regulatory aspects of its acquisition by Pluspetrol — Matías Olcese (‘an impressive younger lawyer’) and senior counsel María Paula Terrel (‘very detail-oriented’) led that work. María Laura Lede Pizzurno is also a key contact.
At high-profile boutique Zaballa - Carchio Abogados, mining work remains a cornerstone of the firm. The group handles a comprehensive spread of exploration, project development, corporate and regulation — for both local and international mining clients. It also brings to bear supplementary expertise in environmental and administrative law matters. Seasoned specialist Hernán Zaballa remains a preeminent name in the market and continues to lead the department.
Mining work is a core strength at Alfaro-Abogados and it impresses with its solid presence in corporate and finance matters. It is also well known for its representation of China-based clients, where it leverages the firm’s Beijing office and China desk to provide specialist support. Seasoned experts Ignacio Celorrio and Hernan Celorrio enjoy strong profiles in the market.
Hope, Duggan & Silva
Hope, Duggan & Silva’s experienced mining practice specialises in regulatory and mid-market transactional matters. Most notably, the firm continues to advise Minera Santa Cruz (an affiliate of Hochschild Mining) on day-to-day matters. Hugo Vivot, who handles a wide range of transactional, regulatory and contentious work, is the key contact.
Nicholson y Cano Abogados’ multidisciplinary mining practice spans the full gamut of exploration, development and production matters — for both mining companies and service providers. Energy and natural resources specialist Nicolás Perkins co-leads the department alongside corporate partner Eduardo Koch. Key clients include Argentina Minera, Desarrollo de Prospectos Mineros and Minera Exar.
‘Creative, communicative and involved’, Zang, Bergel & Viñes Abogados is praised by its mining clients for its ‘strong support through every stage of a project’. In particular, energy and natural resources head Amalia Sáenz is recommended for her ‘in-depth knowledge of the industry’. Among other matters, Sáenz provides day-to-day advice to Guanaco Mining — a subsidiary of Austral Gold — on its mining operations.