Mining in Argentina

Allende & Brea

Allende & Brea stands out for its ‘profound knowledge of the industry’, with sources asserting that ‘few other firms have big enough teams, or the necessary experience, to advise mining companies properly’. The multidisciplinary department is comprised of lawyers with experience in a range of regulatory, environmental, tax and transactional matters and is routinely involved in the largest mining matters to involve Argentina. A strong performer in the lithium market -currently the most active sub-sector in Argentina’s mining industry- the group counts Livent, Rio Tinto and Galaxy Resources among its key clients. Additionally, the group is consistently called upon by outside state and investment agencies to provide strategic advice and jurisdictional guidance. High-profile department head Florencia Heredia is ‘uniquely knowledgeable in mining’ and is widely recognised for her premier experience advising companies and financial institutions in mining transactions. Heredia, senior associate Agostina Martinez and associate Valentina Surraco are increasingly active in post-lithium, battery-minerals and rare earth issues; while dual qualified (Buenos Aires and New York) associate Nahila Cortes is also noted for her focus on both energy and mining work. Former group co-head Juan Martín Allende recently retired from practice to focus on business and M&A consulting.

Practice head(s):

Florencia Heredia

Testimonials

The environmental and regulatory issues, diverse jurisdictions and varied stakeholders involved in the mining sector in Argentina mean that the team’s experience is fundamental. Few other firms have big enough teams, or the necessary experience, to advise mining companies properly.’

They stand out fundamentally for their ability to prioritise.’

They have profound knowledge of the industry and the various jurisdictions, and the ability to connect the reality on the ground with the needs and expectations of international investors and mining companies.’

I don’t think there is another lawyer in the mining and energy sector in Argentina with the level of professionalism, neutrality and transparency that is shown by Florencia Heredia and her team. This opinion is shared by other colleagues who have worked with Allende & Brea for even longer than I have.

Florencia Heredia knows what is happening in Argentina and Latin America, how to understand it, and how it compares worldwide. She is uniquely knowledgeable in mining, and can provide a perspective that no other lawyer can.

Key clients

Galaxy Resources

Rio Tinto

Pluspetrol

Volcan Compañia Minera

Royal Capital Management

Newcrest

SQM

Resource Capital Funds

Newmont Corporation

Livent Corporation

Minera del Altiplano

First Quantum Minerals

Macquarie

Enirgi Group Corporation

Fortuna Silver Mines

Work highlights

  • Represented Galaxy Resources in ongoing matters connected to the acquisition by POSCO of the mining properties owned by Galaxy in the province of Salta and Catamarca.
  • Assisted Galaxy Resources with a evaluation for the engagement with a potential strategic partner to develop the Sal de Vida lithium project in the province of Catamarca.
  • Acted for Pluspetrol on its $85m acquisition of lithium mining company, LSC Lithium Corporation, which was the title holder of more than 300 mining rights in the provinces of Salta and Jujuy,
  • Advised Pluspetrol on the development of its lithium division, Litica Resources, and on due diligence related to several mining properties acquired by Pluspetrol.
  • Advised Resource Capital Funds on conducting due diligence for the lithium project Tres Quebradas, owned by Toronto-based Neo Lithium.

Marval O’Farrell Mairal

The ‘second-to-none’ mining practice at Marval O’Farrell Mairal impresses with its ‘vast resources coupled with peerless experience and commitment’. The team excels across the full range of mining issues, including planning and mining rights, environmental matters, project construction, joint ventures and finance deals. The group also benefits from its ability to lean on the firm’s market-leading corporate practice to advise on complex, multi-jurisdictional mining transactions, such as its advice to South Korea-based POSCO on its $280m acquisition of lithium brines-related mining rights from Galaxy Resources. Additionally, it packs a punch in contentious work, with strong expertise in commercial and regulatory litigation. Widely lauded as a market leader, department head Luis Lucero ‘simply towers above the competition’ on the back of his involvement in many of Argentina’s largest mining projects — he led the POSCO deal. Dedicated mining partner Leonardo Rodríguez is also highlighted as an ‘exceptional lawyer’ and specialises in commercial law and litigation. Associate María Mercedes Rudolph, who ‘excels in company and corporate law’, and senior associate Andrés Villarreal are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Luis Lucero

Testimonials

Marval’s mining team is second-to-none. Vast resources coupled with peerless experience and commitment make this the outstanding mining practice in Argentina.’

They have excellent delivery: quick, precise and without any errors. It is a multidisciplinary team, which reassures us that we can trust them to advise on any kind of matter.’

The client service of the whole team is very friendly. I think they are superior to other teams in other firms.

The team is excellent, both in terms of its technical knowledge and its experience and network of contacts.’

The head of the practice is Luis Lucero. He is the go-to person for all matters, especially those that, in light of their complexity, require an innovative approach. Having worked with most of his peers, I would not hesitate to reach out to Luis and his team in future. He simply towers above the competition.

In spite of clearly being the leading practitioner in the field,  Luis Lucero is happy to make himself available whenever his sound advice, clear judgement and legal and industry knowledge are required. No matter is too trivial, or too complex for him. He also makes sure the issue gets resolved, taking a personal interest in the outcome and deliverable required.’

Leonardo Rodriguez is an exceptional lawyer with experience in many practices but a particular focus and specialisation in the mining industry, which gives him an advantage.’

Leonardo Rodriguez demonstrates excellent knowledge and skill sets in his realm of expertise.’

Key clients

Glencore

AngloGold Ashanti

Newmont Goldcorp

Pan American Silver

Hochschild Mining

POSCO

Anglo American

Sumitomo

Cámara Argentina de Empresarios Mineros

Coeur Mining

Work highlights

  • Acted for both Glencore and Newmont Goldcorp on the implementation of the integration between the Bajo de la Alumbrera copper-gold-molybdenum operation (owned by Glencore, Newmont Goldcorp and Yamana) and the Agua Rica project (owned by Yamana).
  • Advised Oroplata, a wholly owned subsidiary of Newmont Goldcorp, on regulatory and transactional matters concerning its Cerro Negro mine, a multibillion-dollar gold and silver operation in Santa Cruz.
  • Assisted POSCO with post-closing issues related to its $280m acquisition of certain mining rights of Galaxy Resources Limited and Galaxy Lithium.
  • Represented Pachón, Glencore’s wholly owned subsidiary, in its dispute with Minera Los Pelambres regarding a waste dump built by Minera Los Pelambres on Glencore’s property in Argentina.
  • Advised Newmont on certain Argentine mining matters related to its $10bn merger with Goldcorp.

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie’s ‘high-quality service’ strikes the right note with sources, who highlight its lawyers’ ‘extensive knowledge’ and ‘firmness and accuracy in their opinions’. The practice is adept across a wide scope of regulatory, transactional and contentious matters for a diverse mix of mining companies, including recent work for clients operating in the lithium, gold and potash sub-sectors, among others. The group also benefits from its ability to draw upon the wider international firm’s globally recognised mining department. Managing partner Adolfo Durañona is highly regarded for his experience in mining transactions, including commercial agreements, projects and M&A. Durañona jointly leads the practice together with energy and TMT partner Roberto Grané and Ezequiel Artola, who advises across the full range of energy and natural resources transactions. Associate Tomás Trusso provides capable support.

Testimonials

They provide a high-quality service, respond on time and always with an excellent answer. They are always available to resolve our concerns and to coordinate operations on the ground.’

Baker McKenzie has been advising us on mining issues for several years and the team differentiates itself through its extensive knowledge of applicable legislation, as well as related background information.’

Since we do not have internal lawyers in Argentina, we have to place a lot of trust in the internal lawyers of our headquarters, who do not know the specific local laws. Baker McKenzie’s firmness and accuracy in their opinions make the internal legal team feel secure in decision making.’

The partner in charge of our account is Adolfo Durañona and the senior lawyer is Tomás Trusso. The team advises us on strategic and operational issues with ease, and we have total confidence in their advice on day-to-day matters as well as specific questions that require a closer look.’

In addition to their knowledge of specific areas, the lawyers at Baker McKenzie stand out for their availability and the speed of their responses, which we haven’t found at other firms. Adolfo Durañona, Ezequiel Artola and Tomás Trusso particularly stand out.

Key clients

Pablo Mac Mullen

Orbit Garant

Alba Capital

Bunge Minera

Albemarle

Trident Southern Explorations

Work highlights

  • Advised Alba Capital on the $20m purchase of silica sand quarries in the Vaca Muerta Formation.
  • Represented Vale on adjusting an agreement to obtain the concession of the Bahía Blanca city port for a mining project.
  • Advised Trident Southern Explorations on the negotiation of a loan agreement to continue activities in the Andacollo mining project in Neuquén.
  • Advised Trident Southern Explorations on day-to-day matters concerning the operation of the Andacollo mining project in Neuquen.  

Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi

Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi’s team finds favour for its ‘very high level of involvement’ as well as its ‘creative and practical solutions to complex problems’. The firm continues to raise its game in the mining area and currently advises an impressive number of major mining clients on their day-to-day activities in Argentina, including Barrick Gold, First Quantum Minerals and Yamana Gold. On the regulatory side, it is well versed across the full gamut of permitting and environmental issues, while on the transactional front it routinely handles joint ventures, M&A and restructuring matters. Sergio Arbeleche focuses on mining, environmental and oil-and-gas law and co-heads the team alongside Sebastián Vedoya, who specialises in advising local and foreign companies on mining and oil-and-gas matters — both are ‘business-oriented and good negotiators’.

Testimonials

In particular. I would highlight BFML’s negotiation skills, creative and practical solutions to complex problems, and maximum knowledge of the provincial mining codes and the uses and customs and interpretation of the code of each provincial mining authority.

The team demonstrates a very high level of involvement and high professional quality.’

They have a lot of experience in the mining industry, which distinguishes them from other firms in this area.

Sebastián Vedoya and Sergio Arbeleche have common sense, they are business-oriented and good negotiators, with a lot of knowledge of the industry.’

Key clients

Barrick Gold

First Quantum Minerals

Yamana Gold

Patagonia Gold

Corriente Argentina

Mineros

Minera Andina del Sol

Barrick Exploraciones Argentina

Minera del Carmen

Orocobre

Minera Peregrine Argentina

Realty Advisors – Trident Southern Explorations Argentina

Stillwater Canada

South Financial Sands

Argentine Mining Chamber

Argentine–Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Lumina Copper

Metalla Royalty & Streaming

Compañías Mineras Integradas

Neo Lithium

Work highlights

  • Advised Barrick Gold Corporation, and its Argentine subsidiaries, on their operations in Argentina, including applications to obtain mining exploration permits and exploitation concessions, M&A and environmental matters.
  • Represented First Quantum Minerals, and its local subsidiary Corriente Argentina, on their operations in Argentina, including mining, environmental and business-related issues.
  • Acted for Mineros on the acquisition of the Gualcamayo mine, worth $30m plus an additional $30m conditional upon the beginning of the commercial production of certain reserves of the Gualcamayo mine, and the granting of certain net smelter return royalties
  • Advised the Argentine subsidiaries of Yamana Gold on day-to-day matters.

Alfaro-Abogados

Alfaro-Abogados attracts praise for its ‘extensive experience in the mining sector’ as well as for its lawyers’ ‘personalised attention’. The firm climbs a tier on the back of a bumper deal list, which spans work on project sales and acquisitions, financings and joint ventures — for an impressive mix of Canada, Australia and China-headquartered companies. It is also active on the regulatory side, where it continues to advise on an array of feasibility, permitting and environmental issues. Ignacio Celorrio leads the mining team and has ‘extensive experience and connections’. Up-and-coming mining specialist Nicolás Ferla is singled out as ‘very responsive and helpful’.

Practice head(s):

Ignacio Celorrio

Testimonials

This firm has a very good legal basis in mining, companies and commercial contracts.’

They seem to have extensive experience in the mining sector plus knowledge of and/or relationships with many of the participants, including government officials. Ignacio Celorrio, was the person with the extensive experience and connections; Nicolás Ferla was also very responsive and helpful.’

The team provides personalised attention, particularly Ignacio Celorrio.’

Key clients

Golden Arrow Resources

Lithium Americas

Oceana Gold

Argosy Minerals

Argentina Lithium & Energy

Work highlights

  • Advised Golden Arrow Resources on the C$44.4m sale of its 25% interest in Puna Operations to its joint venture partner SSR Mining.
  • Represented Lithium Americas on the local aspects of its joint venture with Ganfeng Lithium, related to the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium-brine project in Jujuy.
  • Advised Argosy Minerals on the incorporation of its Argentine subsidiary to develop lithium brine projects in the province of Salta.

Beccar Varela

A ‘one-stop resource’ for multilayered mining issues, Beccar Varela is praised for its ‘fast, efficient and well-rounded advice’. The firm’s growing practice is best known for its transactional capability, with experience in project finance, M&A, joint ventures and foreign investment matters. It also advises on regulatory issues, where it can link up with its public and environmental law teams for support on complex matters. Corporate and finance partner Roberto Fortunati leads the overarching energy and natural resources department. Senior associate Marcos Moreno Hueyo focuses on mining, natural resources and energy and is noted for his ‘extensive experience in the mining sector’.

Testimonials

Beccar Varela offers a complete one-stop resource for our often complex needs. Their practice in Buenos Aires is comprised of various legal disciplines, including general/corporate counsel, human resources/labour, etc, which makes it very convenient to get fast, efficient, and well-rounded advice when needed.’

‘In our engagements with Beccar Varela, we have dealt primarily with senior associate Marcos Moreno Huey, who has extensive experience in the mining sector. We have found that Marcos is a very strong and experienced legal advisor, who balances listening to the client and providing his advice. He also balances legal and technical analysis with practicality.’

Key clients

Southern Copper Corporation / Southern Copper Argentina

Quantum Capital

Centaur Resources

Minera San Jorge

Everlight Resources

SurMinera

Route One Investment Company

Minera Don Nicolás

Compañía Inversora en Minas (“CIMINAS”)

Asphaltum Argentina

ESCO

Work highlights

  • Advised Quantum Capital, through its local subsidiary Centaur Resources, on the launch of its activities in Argentina, as well as on its lithium investment projects.
  • Acted for Southern Copper Corporation and Southern Copper Argentina on several matters, including bids for mining properties, option agreements and joint ventures, and various other regulatory and transactional matters.
  • Advised Minera Don Nicolás on permitting, environmental, commercial and corporate matters connected to the Don Nicolás project in the province of Santa Cruz.

Beretta Godoy

Mining is a mainstay of Beretta Godoy’s firm-wide offering and the group attracts praise for its ‘very strong experience in the local mining sector’. Well versed in all aspects of the industry, the team handles an array of regulatory, transactional and contentious matters and has experience in all minerals being extracted in Argentina. Its broad practice translates into a diverse client list, with Yamana Gold, Gangfeng Lithium and Goldcorp all representative names. Federico Godoy is ‘very experienced and talented’ and specialises in project finance and arbitration; he co-heads the team alongside Juan Sonoda, who focuses on litigation and energy and natural resources.

Practice head(s):

Federico Godoy; Juan Sonoda

Testimonials

They have very strong experience in the local mining sector. They have followed these projects for many years, so they know the area and the stories behind the deals very well, which makes the team very unique compared to other firms.’

They get to know the client, which gives them a customised view of the issues. They develop and maintain long-term client relationships.’

Federico Godoy is a very experienced and talented partner. He always does his best to understand, and focus on, the client’s requirements and business intentions.

A professional team with a strong sense of responsibility. Provides quick and detailed responses to the client, especially Federico Godoy and Juan Sonoda.

Key clients

Yamana Gold

Goldcorp

Gangfeng Lithium

Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt

Barranca Sur Minera

Litio Minera Argentina

Work highlights

  • Advised Yamana Gold on the integration of the Agua Rica and Alumbrera mining projects, and also on the negotiation of joint venture, service and lease agreements with Glencore, Goldcorp and YMAD (a state-owned company that owns the Alumbrera mining property).
  • Advised Ganfeng Lithium on its $160m capital contribution in Minera Exar, as a result of which Ganfeng holds 50% of Minera Exar’s shares.
  • Acted for Yamana Gold on the $150m sale of the Gualcamayo mine to Mineros.

Mitrani Caballero & Ruiz Moreno Abogados

Mitrani Caballero & Ruiz Moreno Abogados’s increasingly prominent team continues to gain ground in the local mining market, recently securing Fortuna Silver Mines and Rumble Resources as new clients. The group has comprehensive experience across mining law matters, with its recent work spanning cross-border investments, M&A, project finance and regulatory issues. Matías Olcese co-heads the department and is recommended for his focus on mining-related regulatory, finance and M&A work. Senior counsel María Paula Terrel co-leads the practice and advises on corporate and finance matters, with an emphasis on mining.

Testimonials

I consider the team of lawyers to be very good.’

The team is excellent, both from the technical side and in terms of the experience and network of contacts.’

Key clients

LSC Lithium

Lithium Power International

Fortuna Silver Mines

Toyota Tsusho

Shandong Gold Mining

Kinross Gold

RHI- Magnesita

LitheA

KR Energy /FIB

Tor Investment Management

Rumble Resources

Work highlights

  • Advised Mansfield Minera, a subsidiary of Fortuna Silver Mines, on structuring its ore purchase and gold refining agreements.
  • Acted for Shandong Gold Mining (Hong Kong) on its $1bn loan repayment and security interest release over a package of Argentine based collaterals.
  • Advised Rumble Resources on the arrangement documents for securing its initial package of mining tenements in Argentina.

Zaballa - Carchio Abogados

Boutique firm Zaballa - Carchio Abogados has a holistic firm-wide focus on the mining industry, with strength in administrative and environmental law, through to public tenders, M&A and dispute resolution. As testament to its reputation in the area, the firm represented longstanding client McEwen Mining on the negotiation and approval of the binational protocol between Argentina and Chile for its Los Azules copper project in San Juan. Managing partner Hernán Zaballa is a dedicated mining specialist with strong commercial and regulatory expertise — he led the team’s advice on obtaining the protocol.

Practice head(s):

Hernán Zaballa

Key clients

McEwen Mining

Ganfeng Lithium

Emprendimientos Minero

Abraplata Resource

Goldinka Energy

Work highlights

  • Acted for Abraplata Resource on the local aspects of its merger with Toronto-based Aethon Minerals.
  • Represented McEwen Mining on the negotiation and approval of the binational protocol between Argentina and Chile for the Los Azules copper project in San Juan.
  • Acted for Ganfeng Lithium on its successful tender for the Cerro Incahuasi large lithium area, and also advised it on the mining aspects of its acquisition — via a $160m capital contribution — of Minera Exar.

Nicholson y Cano Abogados

Nicholson y Cano Abogados houses a compact mining practice, which strikes a balance between transactional and regulatory work. The team’s recent activity spanned a range of feasibility studies, bids for public tenders and project acquisitions and spin-offs — it also has experience in construction and financing matters. Nicolás Perkins focuses on energy and natural resources and heads the department. Of counsel Fernando Caruso is also recommended for his strong industry experience.

Practice head(s):

Nicolás Perkins

Key clients

Desarrollo de Prospectos Mineros (Deprominsa)

Filo del Sol Exploración

Pampa Exploración

Pecom Energía

Minera Exar

Work highlights

  • Represented Pampa Exploración on its public bid for the Valle Ancho and Interceptor properties.
  • Advised Desarrollo de Prospectos Mineros on the spin-out of the Los Helados project, in order to allow Josemaria Resources to develop its Josemaria project in San Juan.