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



Index of tables

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

Next generation lawyers

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Mining sits at the core of Linklaters LLP 's multi-disciplinary practice which advises the full gamut of clients under the joint leadership of Charles Jacobs , Toby Grimstone and David Avery-Gee . Longstanding client Glencore recently appointed the team to oversee its acquisition of 31% stake in Mutanda and 10.25% in Katanga from Fleurette Properties. Corporate partner James Inglis worked closely with allied firm Allens to handle Rio Tinto's sale of its Australian subsidiary Coal & Allied Industries to Yancoal, and Avery-Gee intervened in Newcrest regarding its subscription for 10% of the issued share capital in AIM-listed SolGold. On the financing side, Fiona Hobbs and head of the Africa group Andrew Jones oversaw the $2.73bn project financing for the construction and refurbishment of a 912km coal railway line through Mozambique and Malawi as well as the Nacala port in Mozambique to service the Vale and Mitsui mine on behalf of a group of investment and commercial banks.

Described simply as 'the best' by one client, the 'excellent' mining and minerals team at Norton Rose Fulbright advised CBG on the expansion of its Sangaredi bauxite mine in western Guinea which involves the construction of additional rail and port infrastructure. Global practice head Martin McCann acted for Yara in the financing and development of their new potash mine in Ethiopia and the associated port terminal in Djibouti. On the banking side, the client-recommended Simon FT Cox handled the issuance of guaranteed notes on behalf of longstanding client Petropavlosk to raise funds for the refinancing of loans provided pursuant to its banking facilities. Holly Stebbing is also a key name to note alongside corporate practice head Raj Karia , projects specialist Mark Berry and dispute resolution expert Neil O’May.

The 'personable' lawyers at White & Case LLP 'are extremely capable, react quickly and have a deep understanding of the commercial drivers of a transaction'. A team led by Rebecca Campbell and corporate specialist Allan Taylor recently acted for Pallinghurst in its £211m hostile takeover offer for Gemfields, and Peter Finlay - who 'gets to the heart of a problem very quickly' - advised a group of lenders on the multi-million dollar financing of the Sangaredi bauxite mine expansion in the Republic of Guinea. Contentious highlights include Charles Balmain 's counsel to a global mine company with regards to a tax indemnity claim under its SPA for the purchase of a copper project in South America. Also notable is the IPO of Russian energy group EN+ which was complicated by sanctions imposed on a number of entities and individuals involved.

London-based Dominic Morris jointly heads Allen & Overy LLP 's global mining offering with Geoff Simpson who sits in Perth. In recent highlights, Richard Hough collaborated with the corporate department to advise Odey on the restructuring of debt held by a number of its funds into equity in Tri-Star, and Richard Browne handled the AIM de-listing of Sirius Minerals and subsequent listing on the premium segment of the LSE. Vale appointed the group to re-negotiate Mitsui's $1bn investment in the Moatize coal mine and related rail and port project in Mozambique, and Jamie Durham intervened in Volcan's investment in Anglo American shares through two separate issues of mandatory exchangeable bonds by wholly-owned Volcan subsidiaries. On the contentious front, Mark Levy represented the Republic of Pakistan in an investment treaty arbitration arising from a gold and copper mining project in Balochistan brought by Tethyan Copper. Also notable are David Lee and Jeremy Parr who co-head the firm's global infrastructure and energy groups respectively.

The multi-disciplinary mining team at Ashurst is particularly strong in M&A and fundraising transactions for listed entities with assets in emerging markets such as Africa. JP Morgan Cazenove recently appointed the group as sponsor to handle the listing of Sirius on the LSE as a move up from the AIM, and Tom Mercer acted for the independent directors of Vedanta in the investment by Volcan - its majority shareholder - in Anglo American. Yann Alix - who heads the firm's Africa group - intervened for Newcrest as the seller in the disposal of 89.9% interest in the Bonikro gold mine to Forbes & Manhattan and Africa Finance Corporation. The mining offering is headed by corporate partner Michael Robins and supported by Nick Williamson who specialises in M&A, corporate finance and ECM mandates.

Clifford Chance LLP 's 'very professional, very presentable' mining team is 'reachable around the clock'. The London team recently collaborated with its Shanghai, Hong Kong, Paris, Singapore and Australia colleagues to assist longstanding client Eramet with the sale of 57% stake in one of its subsidiaries to Tsingshan, and Adrian Cartwright and John Connolly acted for the underwriters in connection with the IPO of Polyus Gold alongside the Moscow office. James Pay - who jointly leads the practice with David Lewis - oversaw all aspects of the multi-billion dollar development and financing of a bauxite mining and alumina processing plant project in Africa. Recent contentious highlights include representing a major global mining group in an investigation by the FCA pertaining to the acquisition and subsequent impairment of a competitor leading to allegations of breach of disclosure obligations.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP 's mining practice fields strong dispute resolution and finance capabilities under the leadership of corporate expert Greg Mulley . Lonmin recently appointed a group including Stephen Wilkinson and Robert Moore to oversee its recommended all-share takeover by Sibanye-Stillwater, and Nicholas Peacock represented Vedanta in a bilateral investment treaty arbitration against an Asian government arising from the imposition of a retrospective tax. Gregg Rowan acted for ArcelorMittal with regards to its claim against a Ukrainian subsidiary, an formed senior manager and the Luxembourg-based group holding company on the grounds of alleged breach of contract. David Walton and Will Breeze are also key names on the financing side while John Ogilvie  handles a wide range of disputes. Other notable clients include BHP, Newcrest, South32 and JP Morgan Cazenove.

The broad multi-disciplinary mining offering at Hogan Lovells International LLP advises clients on financing transactions, M&A mandates, regulatory issues, disputes and the construction and planning aspects of projects. On the projects front, practice head Adrian Walker is currently overseeing the contractual aspects of a mine expansion in Africa, and Crispin Rapinet collaborated with the Washington DC and Johannesburg teams to review the anti-bribery compliance policy of a global mining company. Kieron O’Callaghan led the advice to a bank with regards to claims against a large Eastern European mining group on the grounds of alleged breach of loan arragnements. Sarah Shaw recently joined the corporate department from Allen & Overy LLP and construction disputes specialist Angus Rankin arrived from an in-house position at Mitsubishi. David Moss retired from the partnership.

Mayer Brown International LLP 's 'consistently strong' mining practice is 'a centre of expertise' and recently acted for the lead arrangers on the amendment and restatement of a revolving corporate loan facility for Endeavour Gold. Clients recommend practice head Ian Coles , the 'outstanding and extremely personable' Tom Eldridge and Rachel Speight for their 'commercial outlook and experience'. In recent highlights, the group advised on a number of project financing mandates for clients such as Investec and Société Générale who act as funders of the Sasa lead and zinc mine in Macedonia, and disputes arising from operational and royalty agreements. Danuta De Vries was promoted to counsel within the finance department and Rebecca Bothamley  was recently promoted to the partnership in the corporate securities and construction and engineering teams respectively.  Tamsin Travers was promoted to counsel in the construction and engineering team.

One client describes Milbank 'the best for mining project financing' mandates and consultant Cathy Marsh as 'simply the best in the field'. A group of lenders including the EIB and the African Development Bank recently appointed the group to handle the restructuring of the financing for the Moma Titanium Mineral Sands project in Mozambique and the provision of a new money super senior debt facility. Manzer Ijaz - who co-leads the mining practice - is currently advising a mining company as borrower on a platinum group metals and gold deposit project in Africa, and Phillip Fletcher is acting as lender counsel to export credit agencies and development financial institutions with regards to the expansion of a gold mine. Also notable are practice co-heads John Dewar and Clive Ransome and restructuring specialist Nick Angel .

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP boasts a strong borrower and sponsor practice with a particular expertise in project bonds and capital markets as part of complex financing structures. In recent highlights, Craig Jones is currently acting for Intergeo MMC in the construction and financing of its copper project in Siberia. The team also advised Rio Tinto as sponsor and Oyu Tolgoi as project company on the multi-source financing for the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia, and Ambatovy engaged the firm to oversee a complex equity restructuring. On the contentious front, Centerra Gold appointed a team led by Stewart Robertson to resolve its international arbitration against the government of Kyrgyzstan with regards to the Kumtor gold mine project.

The mining offering at Baker McKenzie was recently bolstered by the arrival of corporate expert David Duncan from Allen & Overy LLP . Senior associate Tom Pound supported practice head Richard Blunt to advise Anglo Pacific on its acquisition of a gross revenue royalty interest with regards to the Piaui nickel and cobalt project in Brazil, and Adam Farlow was part of a cross-jurisdictional team acting for Nyrstar in the issuance of senior guaranteed notes due 2024 to raise funds towards the conditional tender offer on the client's outstanding senior convertible bonds. On the projects side, Mike Webster and senior associate Rhiannon Williams oversaw the development of several gold mining projects in Central Asia and the Middle East.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP represents major publicly traded mining companies, funds, investment banks and brokers with its full-service offering which was recently strengthened and broadened through its high-profile merger. Especially strong in capital markets mandates, practice head Alexander Keepin recently advised JP Morgan Cazenove and Peel Hunt on an underwritten fundraising for Central Asia Metals and its readmission following its acquisition of the Sasa mine; he also acted for a syndicate of brokers on a fundraising for Avesoro to partially fund the acquisition of the Youga and Balogo gold mines in Burkina Faso. In other highlights, the group assisted an East African government with the development of its model mining agreement to encourage and facilitate investment in its mining industry, and senior associate Patrick Lilly was part of the team overseeing the IPO of an offshore gold mining company with assets in Francophone Africa.

Fieldfisher recently won a number of high-profile clients such as Terrafame and Trafigura through the arrival of structured finance expert Dougall Molson from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP . The 'very good and commercially focused' mining team is spearheaded by corporate partner Jonathan Brooks who collaborated with the client-recommended Brad Isaac and Dominic Gurney-Champion and associate Naomi Nguyen to advise Atalaya on a fundraising to finance the expansion of its Rio Tinto copper project in Spain and the consolidation of its offtake arrangements with XGC. Matt Hinxman recently acted for the EBRD in a $350m syndicated loan to a Kazakh company for the expansion of the Shalkiya zinc and lead mine, and Colin Gibson is part of the team representing Atalaya in its appeal against a High Court decision relating to a claim for outstanding deferred consideration payment with regards to the Rio Tinto mine. Other key clients include Fusion Capital, Kodal Minerals and Osisko Gold.

HFW 's London-based mining offering is jointly led by Nick Hutton and Brian Gordon who splits his time between Singapore and London as head of the global practice. The group was recently appointed to handle the sale by tender of a 30% interest in two major Indonesian mines for $1.3bn to an Indian electricity generation company, and to represent the captive insurers of an international mining company in property damage, increased working costs and business interruption claims brought by a joint venture with regards to severe weather conditions in Queensland where the operation of nine mines were affected. Other key contacts include Sarah Taylor , Haydn Dare and Giles Beale .

At Latham & Watkins 'the quality is without question' and the mining team is 'outstanding in all cases'. Recent capital markets work includes Francesco Lione 's advice to the initial purchasers - including Goldman Sachs and Santander - on their acquisition on the senior note issuance by Ferroglobe and Globe Specialty Metals, and practice head Craig Nethercott led on a number of financing matters such as Taweelah's financing as borrower of its aluminium extrusion plant in Dubai. Simon Tysoe is 'easy to work with and highly knowledgeable' and another noteworthy contact alongside John Balsdon . Other key clients include Rio Tinto, Ma'aden, ArcelorMittal and Royal Hill.

Pinsent Masons LLP represents blue chip clients such as Anglo American , Sirius Minerals and African Minerals across the full life cycle of mining projects. In recent highlights, Jon Harris acted for Opera Investments' £5.5m placing and acquisition Kibo Gold by way of reverse takeover and admission to the AIM as Katoro Gold, and the Glasgow-based legal director Ross McDowall continued to advise Kier on planning, environmental and construction issues arising from its mining operations in East Ayrshire. On the construction side, Sarah Thomas is currently assisting a minerals company with a range of health and safety, planning and infrastructure procurement issues arising from its proposed mine development. The practice is spearheaded by Akshai Fofaria who holds a strong expertise in the African mining industry especially with regards to 'front-end' matters.

The mining and minerals outfit at Shearman & Sterling LLP is jointly led by Jason Lehner in New York and Cynthia Urda Kassis in the London office and intervenes in corporate, financing, international arbitration and capital markets mandates. A team led by Trevor Ingram and David Dixter recently represented the underwriters as joint global coordinators on the $1bn rights offering by Sibanye, and M&A specialist Jeremy Kutner is currently assisting a major global mining company on the potential sale of a third of its interest in a South American coal mine. On the contentious front, Alexander Uff is representing two African subsidiaries of a global mining and exploration company as respondent in ICC arbitration proceedings brought by a South African contractor. Iain Elder , Nicholas Buckworth and counsel Anthony Lepere are key names to note in the project development and finance sub-team.

Clients describe the 'utterly reliable' mining offering at Simmons & Simmons as 'extraordinarily well suited to handle the most complex and difficult assignments' especially for 'Francophone countries where they are simply the best'. Orion and Fusion Capital instructed the group to handle the sale of Lynx Resources - the owner of the Sasa zinc, lead and silver mine in Macedonia - to Central Asia Metals, and the client-recommended Yves Baratte teamed up with Iain Duncan , Adam Cooper and Andrew Petry to oversee a major equity and debt investment into a major bulk commodity mining project on behalf of two private equity funds. The arrival of Stuart Dutson from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP significantly bolstered the firm's international arbitration capacities namely for cases pertaining to Africa, China and the Middle East; he is currently acting for the government of Indonesia in a bilateral treaty arbitration brought by Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys in the context of an investment in a coal mine in Kalimantan.

With particular experience in emerging markets, Clyde & Co LLP acts for clients such as Anglo-American Minerals and Glencore across the full life cycle of mining projects. Maurice Kenton sits in the firm's international arbitration team and previously represented insurance clients in property damage and business interruption claims; he jointly leads the practice with corporate expert Chris Duffy who assists quoted and non-quoted companies with a wide array of issues. Also notable on the corporate side is Philip Mace who previously handled the $200m sale of Brazilian Iron Ore to a major international trading company by a leading Brazilian mining company.

Neil Nicholson heads the mining offering in Dentons 's London office with substantial corporate M&A experience including share and business transactions, fund matters and equity capital markets. He is supported by insolvency and restructuring specialist Will Gunston and Evgenia Laurson who focuses on project financing matters in the energy sector and splits her time between London and Moscow. The firm's recent merger with Maclay, Murray & Spens added a significant Scotland-based strength to its overall offering, particularly in the domestic space.

The 'very good' mining team at DLA Piper for its 'great adaptability to circumstances and great understanding of clients' cultural environments'. Head of the UK and EMEA mining sector Petra Billing is based in Sheffield and led the advice to Aggregate Industries and LafargeHolcim on a dispute arising from the encroachment of individuals within the premises of a non-operational mine for which the client retains restoration and aftercare obligations. In other highlights, legal director Michael Wright successfully represented Wentworth Woodhouse in a large subsidence claim, and of counsel Ben Sanderson and Kate Cervantes-Knox are currently assisting an African government with international investment treaty arbitration proceedings brought by a mining investor and its associated companies related to the alleged expropriation of a license. The firm also provides ongoing counsel to its mining clients with regards to impact of Brexit on the existing WTO rules.

FASKEN 's client roster includes a wide array of entities including brokers, corporates, mining companies, banks and investors. The main names to note within the firm's mining and minerals offering are Jodi Katz , Thomas Wexler and managing partner Al Gourley who has substantial experience  in cross-border transactions, IPOs and corporate finance mandates within the natural resources sector.

At Gowling WLG the mining offering is 'comprehensive and well-informed in the specialist area of mining project financing and small to mid-cap transactions'. Especially recommended are the 'very intelligent' and 'excellent professionals' Charles Bond and consultant Andrew Wright who recently represented Phoenix Global Mining on its AIM flotation. A team supported by 'deeply knowledgeable' principal associate Susan Johnston acted for Bushveld in its acquisition of 78.8% stake in Strategic Minerals from Evraz; Bond also led the advice to Bushveld regarding the demerger of Greenhills - its tin-focused subsidiary - which is now wholly-owned by AfriTin. Other key names to note include Sefton Collett who specialises in equity capital markets.

The mining offering at Reed Smith LLP covers the buying, selling, financing and transport of raw materials and has a particular strength in the transport sector where it handles contractual issues and disputes. Jonathan Solomon heads the firm's EMEA and South East Asia trade and commodities trade practice while Kyri Evagora represents a variety of clients across commercial litigation, arbitration and mediation proceedings from the New York office. Other notable names include Richard Swinburn , Paul Skeet and Alex Andrews .

Described as 'brilliant' by one client, the services provided by Watson Farley & Williams LLP 's mining outfit 'are exactly what one would expect from a firm of this calibre' and 'delivered in a sensible and cost-effective manner'. Recently strengthened by the arrival of new corporate head Chris Kilburn from the Singapore office, the offering also welcomed Colin Graham from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP and consultant Rob Askew from the EBRD.  Jan Mellmann 'is one of the best and most approachable lawyers in the city', according to one client; his 'first-rate knowledge of the area is superbly complemented by his sound expertise in M&A and capital markets'. Recent work highlights include a series of high-value equity capital market listings and fund raising mandates, the successful appeal and enforcement of an international arbitration award and the combination of two mining companies. Daniel Saunders  was recently promoted to the partnership in the corporate department and senior associate Svetlana Sorokina-Wilson joined from Locke Lord LLP .

Bird & Bird LLP recently welcomed new mining practice head and equity capital market expert Clive Hopewell and corporate partner Adam Carling from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP , legal director Nicholas Heap from Fieldfisher and senior associate Sharon O’Donnell from Locke Lord LLP . This brand-new team recently acted for Asiamet Resources on a placing of new shares to raise capital for a definitive feasibility study and drilling operations, and Jangada Mines instructed the group to oversee its admission to the AIM and an associated fundraising of £2.5m. Peter Knight advised an African government on amendments to its mining law, and Carling represented Mwana Africa in a dispute with its controlling shareholder.

The full-range mining practice at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP services a client roster of mining companies, banks and investors in commercial law, corporate M&A, dispute resolution and project financing issues. On the contentious front, one of the main names to note is John Sykes who specialises in international commercial disputes but also handles arbitration and mediation cases. Clients rely on Chris Putt for corporate finance and complex governance matters. Adam Carling and Clive Hopewell departed to join Bird & Bird LLP .

Fladgate LLP has a particular expertise in mining transactions in Africa and Eastern Europe. In recent highlights, practice co-head Nigel Gordon assisted Xtract Resources with a capital raising by way of placing and acted for Papua Mining in its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of BGM Investments and a conditional placing to raise up to £2m. Tri-Star instructed a team led by David Robinson to handle a series of transactions to restructure its balance sheet, including the conversion of loan notes into equity, and Paul Airley oversaw Opera's acquisition of Kibo Gold from Kibo Mining and the admission of the new group to the AIM. Senior associate Zehra Kofturcu is also name to note.

Julian Makin heads the mining and minerals offering at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and focuses on equity and debt capital markets in the energy and natural resources space. Gabriel Mpubani is co-head of the firm's Africa focus group and leads the London energy, transport and infrastructure practice.

K&L Gates LLP 's mining offering advises a broad range of domestic and international clients on equity capital market and M&A transactions, dispute resolution and regulatory compliance issues. QG Africa recently instructed the group to handle its investment in Guernsey-registered company Toro Gold, and Bellzone engaged a team led by James Green to oversee its placing to raise approximately £1.5m. In other highlights, John Magnin successfully represented a global mining company in a dispute against a US corporate finance house claiming an incentive fee following the reconstruction of a major part of the client's business. Paul Tetlow spearheads the London practice and co-leads the firm's global mining department. Other key clients include RTG Mining, Orica Minova Ekochem and Central Rand Gold.

Kerman & Co recently acted for new client Panthera on its restructuring as part of its listing on the AIM and assisted longstanding client Metals Exploration with certain transactional issues arising from its $21m mezzanine debt facility. Una Deretic handled the acquisition of a limited partnership, a third-party investment and a number of joint venture arrangements on behalf of Jade Resources. On the contentious side, consultant Sean Nolan advised Norgold on a dispute with the lead contractor on an open pit mine in Africa; he also oversaw the internal reorganisation and restructuring of the business and a series of loan facilities. Other key names include equity capital markets expert Simon Holden and head of the Asia Pacific region Joan Yu who regularly represents clients in complex cross-border transactions. Peter Kohl heads the firm's corporate department and leads the mining sector offering.

Jointly led by Michael Dawes and Nick Davis , the mining offering at Memery Crystal LLP is especially strong in acting for mining companies with assets in Africa, private equity funds and financial lenders. Among recent work highlights feature Davis' work for SigmaRoc with regards to its acquisition of Ronez - a LafargeHolcim subsidiary - funded by the placing of new ordinary shares and convertible notes, and new client Rainbow Rare Earth's admission to the Main Market of the LSE by Lesley Gregory and Kieran Stone . Also notable is director Melanie Talbot who sits in the corporate department and holds a particular expertise in corporate governance issues; she supported Davis in the debt restructuring of Shanta Gold's Investec loan and its takeover of Helio Resources.

Litigation boutique firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP 's Anthony Sinclair is currently representing AngloGold Ashanti in its dispute against the government of Ghana arising from the latter's decision to abruptly remove military security forces from the client's concession in Obuasi which has since been overrun with illegal miners. Sinclair is also acting for this client in an international arbitration against the government of Tanzania arising from new laws introduced to regulate the local mining industry.  Ted Greeno leads the practice with substantial experience in a wide range of litigation; he recently advised an African energy distribution company on its arbitration against a local copper mining company arising from allegedly excessive pricing of energy supply to the claimant's mine. Also notable are Mark Hastings , Stephen Jagusch QC and of counsel Jenni Lajzerowicz who arrived from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP .

Stephens Scown LLP is based in Exeter and provides the full gamut of mining and minerals advice to an impressive client roster. Strongbow Exploration recently engaged a team led by consultant Sally Norcross-Webb to handle its listing on the AIM, and Christopher Tofts continues to advise Imerys Minerals on a series of mandates including a claim for compensation against Dorset County Council following its modification of its ball clay pit planning permission. On the corporate front, Simon Trahair-Davies led on the sale of a redundant china clay processing plant.

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