Cescon Barrieu‘s team of mining law specialists regularly leads on high-stakes litigation, transactions and regulatory matters for domestic and international clients. A renowned figure in the mining sector, Marcelo Mendo Gomes de Souza leads the Belo Horizonte-based practice, which offers legal support to several of the most important mining companies operating in Brazil, as well as financial institutions involved in sector-related deals. The department stands out for its crisis management expertise and in-depth knowledge of regulations pertaining to the construction, operation and decommissioning of tailing dams. Paula Azevedo de Castro, who was promoted to partner in November 2021, is highlighted for mining regulatory issues, which is also an area of expertise for the recently promoted Maurício Pellegrino de Souza. In addition to its strong track record in regulatory matters and administrative proceedings, the department is also engaged in high-value M&A and financing transactions involving mining assets; Frederico Viana Rodrigues is a name to note in this space.
Mining in Brazil
Marcelo Mendo Gomes de Souza
‘The firm collaborates with us on issues related to the environment and mining law. Outstanding quality performance. Marcelo Mendo de Souza and Paula Azevedo are recommended for mining and environmental matters.’
‘The firm incorporated the Mendo Advogados law firm, bringing great expertise in mining law. Cescon’s business DNA made the mining team gain in agility and commercial knowledge. Cescon’s mining team is unique in the country.’
‘Personalised service. Lawyers always respond to demands quickly and inform the client when they are unable to meet the requested deadlines. I would also highlight the firm’s efficiency in proposing creative solutions to legal issues, always focused on resolving the case. Maurício Pellegrino and Paula Azevedo are great.’
‘The team’s technical expertise, especially on the subject of tailings dams, is outstanding. Paula Azevedo and Maurício Pellegrini are excellent.’
‘Strong technical knowledge. Maurício Pellegrino has a high level of knowledge of environmental and mining matters.’
Kinross Gold Corporation
CBMM – Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração
- Advised Vale on the first municipal dam’s management plan, which took place in Brazil, a multiparty joint plan involving three of the biggest mining companies in Brazil.
- Defended Anglo American in a citizen suit and in a public-interest civil action concerning the company’s Minas-Rio operation.
- Advises Sul Americana de Metais, a subsidiary of Honbridge Holdings, a Chinese company headquartered in Hong Kong, on the mining and environmental regulatory matters related to the installation of its Block 8 Project in Minas Gerais.
Working closely with the litigation and environmental practices, Pinheiro Neto Advogados is well positioned to assist clients with the gamut of transactional, regulatory and contentious mining mandates. Its broad client roster not only features some of the most relevant mining companies in Brazil, but also includes leading financial institutions, private equity firms and funds which partake in debt transactions and investments involving mining assets. On the transactional front, the department has been particularly active in financing for new projects, mergers and acquisitions; other recent areas of growth include legal matters involving the suspension of the right to mine, contractual issues, and environmental and labour matters arising out of the pandemic. Mining law and government relations expert Carlos Vilhena and Filipe Morais Cunha, both of whom are proficient in corporate, regulatory and contractual matters, are key figures in Brasília.
‘Pinheiro Neto Advogados provides a service with high legal quality, always demonstrating 360-degree thinking, evaluating all possible risks and opportunities involved in the discussions. The team’s technical knowledge, the agility in returning and understanding the subject, and lawyers’ availability are notable.’
‘Carlos Vilhena has very high technical knowledge, is very accessible and always available. He is able to assess all the risks and opportunities for the company, taking every factor into account.’
‘The team is one of the best due to the technical knowledge and expertise. The team is fantastic in guiding clients in this environment and Carlos Vilhena as team leader has shown excellent skills in this respect. Carlos Vilhena is an outstanding leader and expert in the mining sector. His sense of timing and political and legal focus is of great help to investors. I also would like to stress his ethical values and sense of honour.’
‘Excellent understanding of customer demand and needs.’
‘Carlos Vilhena has a full understanding of clients’ demands and provides advice based on risk management. Filipe Cunha has exceptional legal technical knowledge.’
‘The number of years that the team has specialised in the natural resources and mining sector makes their expertise second to none. The individuals in the Pinheiro Neto mining team are extremely responsive, understand the technical legal issues and are able to provide practical advice.’
Great Panther Mining
Mineração Rio do Norte
China Molybdenum (CMOC)
- Assisting Yamana Gold with the structuring and implementation of a complex corporate reorganisation of its subsidiaries in Brazil.
- Acted for Lundin Mining in the acquisition of Chapada Mine and its expansion projects, Suruca and Hidrotermalito.
- Assisted Great Panther Mining in the negotiation of a Gold Doré pre-payment transaction with Samsung.
Covering the entire spectrum of mining matters, Veirano Advogados particularly excels in regulatory issues pertaining to the sector, and transactional work ranging from project financing to the acquisition of mining companies and mineral rights. Litigation, administrative proceedings and environmental matters are other areas of activity for the team, which is also noted for its experience in cross-border mining projects. Based in Rio de Janeiro, the department is under the leadership of Pedro Garcia, who has a wealth of experience in mining law. Antonio Albani Siqueira is another practitioner to note for mandates related to the structuring of mining projects.
- Assisted Leagold Mining in the $578m merger with Equinox Gold Corp.
- Acted as Brazilian counsel to Samsung in connection with an offtake pre-payment agreement, pursuant to which Samsung made available to Great Panther Mining a dollar term pre-payment facility.
- Acted for Ferrous in a matter to prevent the Brazilian courts from stopping its acquisition by Vale due to environmental and antitrust issues.
With particular strength in regulatory and contentious matters, Azevedo Sette Advogados counts some of the leading domestic and international mining players among its clients. The practice, which is located in the Belo Horizonte office, is also active in joint ventures and M&A transactions involving mining assets, where the team acts on both the buyer and seller side. Leonardo Pereira Lamego heads the environmental and mining department, which also includes Gabriela Salazar Silva Pinto, who specialises in mining transactions and agreements.
Leonardo Pereira Lamego
‘High quality advice. Great performance in litigation. Gabriela Salazar is recommended.’
‘Outstanding expertise of the subject, especially on the environmental legislation of Minas Gerais. Institutional relationship with regulatory bodies in the state of Minas Gerais.’
Companhia Brasileira de Alumínio
Sintertec Minerais Industriais
- Assisted Vale in a a high-profile case involving the negotiation of a comprehensive environmental settlement agreement regarding the tailings dam collapse in Brumadinho.
- Assisting and defending Samarco in lawsuits involving the fines applied by IBAMA (Federal Environmental Agency) regarding the tailings dam collapse in Mariana in 2015.
- Advises J. Mendes Group on several mining matters regarding its activities and provides legal assistance on a range of mining and environmental regulatory issues.
Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr. e Quiroga Advogados regularly advises mining-sector clients on equity and debt transactions, and often provides assistance in relation to sector-related contractual and regulatory issues. The firm's offering was further strengthened by the arrival of Adriano Drummond Trindade from Pinheiro Neto Advogados, who has a strong background in contracts, financing, project development, policy and environmental issues pertaining to the mining sector. Mining and energy specialist Eugênia Pedroso is another key individual, who focuses on infrastructure projects.
‘The technical expertise of the team makes them stand out. Strong presence in the federal capital, guiding clients in their interactions with regulatory bodies.’
‘Adriano Drummond Trindade is great.’
Extratora de Minérios São João Novo
Denham Capital Management
Serra Verde Pesquisa e Mineração
- Represents Vale in a public civil action attempting to impose obligations on relevant companies in connection with the control and eradication of sun coral.
- Represented InterCement Participações and InterCement Brasil, as guarantors, in connection with the potential exchange offer of the outstanding $750m 5.750% senior notes due 2024 for the newly issued senior secured toggle notes due 2027 by InterCement Financial Operations.
- Acts for Hydro and its subsidiary in the state of Pará, Alunorte, in several lawsuits filed by residents of the city of Barcarena and neighboring cities involving the company’s factory.
William Freire Advogados
Boutique firm William Freire Advogados has a well-established reputation in the mining sector, and is highlighted for its thorough knowledge of regulatory matters and its ability to assist clients throughout all stages of a mining project. The team brings together expertise in real estate and environmental law in relation to the mining sector, and is also adept at assisting clients in administrative proceedings before regulatory agencies. William Freire has a wealth of experience in M&A deals and contractual matters involving mining and environmental issues. Tiago de Mattos is a noteworthy practitioner for mining litigation, transactional matters and regulatory issues.
Tiago de Mattos; William Freire
‘Availability and technical capacity. Tiago de Mattos is excellent.’
‘Promptness, impeccable service, extensive technical knowledge and relationship with public agencies, distinguished team.’
‘Tiago de Mattos has extensive technical knowledge and is always available.’
‘William Freire is exceptional! The provision of services is dynamic, multifaceted, with impeccable technique and, above all, always – without exception – aligned with the client’s demands and urgencies.’
Kinross Brasil Mineração
Grupo RHI Magnesita
Borba, Simões Barbosa, Bessone e Cristofaro Advogados
Showcasing a solid track record in transactional work, Borba, Simões Barbosa, Bessone e Cristofaro Advogados is experienced in advising domestic and foreign clients in an array of mining projects, with a particular emphasis on aluminium, copper, iron and gold. Besides assisting with the acquisition and sale of mineral assets and project development, the Rio de Janeiro team is also well versed in joint ventures, royalty agreements and environmental licensing. Practice leader Virgilio Cezar de Moraes Borba has a long and distinguished career in this field, and is regularly instructed to advise on the development of mining projects, sector-related disputes and land use issues. Fellow co-head Daniela Bessone leads on work pertaining to commercial contracts and M&A.
Virgilio Cezar de Moraes Borba; Daniela Bessone
‘Very experienced lawyers in the mining area.’
‘Virgilio Borba has around 40 years worth of experience in the mining sector.’
Anglo American Group
Newmont Mining Corporation
Anglo Pacific Group
Mining Business Platform
Elia Hanry Tasca
- Advising Mineração Tanagra and Anglo American Níquel Brasil on an M&A transaction involving the sale of a Brazilian mining company which holds rights on some nickel deposits.
- Represents the plaintiffs (individuals owners of 2,214,545 perpetual debentures issued by Vale in 1997) in a claim against Vale.
Offering multidisciplinary expertise that cuts across financing, tax, environmental law, contractual and regulatory issues, Machado Meyer Sendacz e Opice Advogados routinely receives instructions from mining companies and investors in relation to project development and transactions. Greenfield mining projects and M&A involving mining assets are strong points for the department, which is jointly led by Liliam Fernanda Yoshikawa and Pedro Henrique Jardim. The practice heads combine several years of experience in domestic and cross-border natural resources and infrastructure projects.
Pedro Henrique Jardim; Liliam Fernanda Yoshikawa
Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM)
JFE Steel Corporation
Dolomita Indústria e Comércio de Calcário
Vantage Brasil Mineração
Andina – Rio de Janeiro Refrescos
Anglo American Group
- Advised Vale on the structuring and negotiation of the sale of assets related to the exploration of copper in the Circular Project to Oz Minerals.
- Advised Vale on the renegotiation of the terms pursuant to which Avanco Resources acquired certain assets from Vale, namely, the Pantera Project (a copper project in Carajás, Pará).
- Assisted CEFAR in relation to a mining project, with a special emphasis on the new rules on tailing dam control and safety.
Rolim, Viotti, Goulart, Cardoso Advogados
Rolim, Viotti, Goulart, Cardoso Advogados' mining practice offers comprehensive advice to foreign and domestic clients on a broad range of matters. The group has a strong emphasis on regulatory matters and often works alongside other departments to advise mining clients on mandates concerning corporate, environmental, real estate and tax law. Thiago Pastor, whose experience in mining and environmental law spans almost two decades, oversees the team in Belo Horizonte, which is also active in administrative proceedings and judicial litigation. Other key individuals include Ana Letícia Lanzoni and Marcus Vinicius Neves Vaz, both of whom excel in regulatory issues and mining disputes.
Kinross Brasil Mineração
Anglogold Ashanti Brasil Mineração
Coca Cola FEMSA
Indústria de Calcinação (ICAL)
Companhia de Desenvolvimento de Minas Gerais (CODEMGE)
Piauí Níquel Metais
Gerdau Aços Longos
Consórcio UHE Guilman Amorim
Mineração Serra do Cabral (MSC)
- Provides comprehensive legal assistance (litigation and consultancy) to Kinross Brasil Mineração in the regularisation of activities concerning mining projects.
- Advised Vale on the development of mining projects (involving iron ore), especially with regards to mining in indigenous lands, and also consultancy on mining (lease and assignment) and supply chain contracts.
- Assisted Mosaic in regards to the legal requirements for tailing dam control and safety in Brazil due to recent regulatory changes.
With the ability to support clients throughout the entire life cycle of mining projects, Sion Advogados has notable experience in advising mining-sector clients on compliance and regulatory issues, including those pertaining to tailings dams. Furthermore, the Belo Horizonte team is also sought after for assistance with due diligence in the context of M&A deals involving mining companies or assets, and administrative proceedings. Alexandre Sion, who focuses on transactional work, heads the department, which also includes Bernardo Pessoa, a name to note for mining projects and compliance.
Luiz Fernando Visconti leads the team at Siqueira Castro – Advogados, which is equipped to advise on a range of mining matters, covering project finance, contractual issues, M&A deals, regulatory matters and dispute resolution. Department head Visconti, who sits in the São Paulo office, stands out for his substantial experience in greenfield project development, public law matters and mining litigation. He receives key support from Simone Paschoal Nogueira, who besides focusing on the energy and infrastructure sectors, possesses complementary knowledge of environmental legislation.
Luiz Fernando Visconti
‘In the mining sector, Luiz Fernando Visconti is very experienced, active, close to the client and comes up with viable solutions.’
‘Luiz Fernando Visconti is prominent in the mining sector.’
Valore Metals Corp.
Atlântica Do Brasil Mineração