ENSafrica has an all-encompassing mining practice, advising a vast array of clients, especially large national and international mining houses, regarding dispute resolution proceedings, M&A transactions and related due diligence, regulatory and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matters, and health and safety investigations and inquiries. Ntsiki Adonisi-Kgame now leads the core mining practice, after previous practice head Lloyd Christie left the firm in October 2021 to join Malan Scholes Attorneys; Pieter Colyn leads the health and safety department, and Willem le Roux is also a key practitioner in this area. Otsile Matlou handles the entirety of mining matters, including exploration, downscaling and closure.
Mining in South Africa
‘The strength of the ENSafrica team lies in the calibre of people at the firm.’
‘They cover a broad spectrum of expertise which allows for the firm to be a “one-stop” facility dealing with a broad range of issues facing the mining sector, ranging from commercial advice, regulatory input (including dealing with relevant persons at the regulator’s offices), and maintaining excellent working relationships with internal stakeholders.’
‘In my view, the ability of the ENSafrica team to deal with the requirements of the company at different levels distinguishes it from other firms. In this regard, the members of the Mine and Occupational Health and Safety Department stands out. We have a long standing relationship with Willem le Roux and Pieter Colyn.’
‘Expertise in South African mining health and safety.’
‘What makes their practice is the manner in which they also seek out innovative ways to deal with complex legal issues. They also do this in the simplest and most user-friendly way possible.’
‘They are very pragmatic in how they consider issues and seek to resolve them for their clients. They do work for a wide range of clients (both local, in Africa and Asia) across various commodities (i.e. precious metals and base metals) which gives the team a sense of well-roundedness.’
‘ENS’s mining team is very diverse and has a good mix of young talented and seasoned lawyers. The interplay between various departments is also exceptional. You never feel as though the standard or quality has dropped in any way.’
‘Ntsiki Adonisi-Kgame is very smart, an incisive thinker who is well rounded, having many years of experience in mining, environmental and property laws. A good leader that knows who to pull into her matters where appropriate. Never compromises on product quality.’
Black Royalty Minerals
- Advising Bushveld Minerals Limited regarding a mining project as contemplated in section 11(3) of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002.
- Advised AngloGold Ashanti in launching interdict proceedings against local communities, the local municipality, a neighbouring mine in sabotaging its Vaal River Operations pending its disposal to Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited.
At Webber Wentzel, the mining department forms a core part of the firm’s offering, with a large team of dedicated lawyers who spend a significant amount of time focused on the mining sector. Praised for its ‘deep mining-specific knowledge’, the practice is highly experienced across the entire mining lifecycle, including on M&A, regulatory issues, employment matters, and health and safety investigations. Additionally, it is increasingly active in ESG matters regarding the support of mining communities. The team is led by Jonathan Veeran and Rita Spalding in Johannesburg, supported by transactional specialist Manus Booysen, health and safety expert Kate Collier, and Bruce Dickinson, who is praised by clients as an ‘experienced, commercially minded lawyer.’ The team also underwent expansion with the addition of regulatory expert Giada Masina, and Lilia Franca, in February 2021.
‘The team has a depth of expertise in their field and takes the time to understand the legal and commercial issues to give a good overall offering.’
‘The turnaround is always on time and the professionals concerned are always available.’
‘Notwithstanding that one is dealing with one of the largest law firms in the country, you are left feeling that the service given is intensely personalised to your company’s needs.’
‘The mining team has a diverse skill set, and I would not hesitate to use them for anything ranging from listings to discrete regulatory advice.’
‘The team’s strength lies in its deep mining specific knowledge – regulatory, commercial, and environmental, and the fact that it can rely on the greater Webber Wentzel ecosystem (particularly the projects and finance teams).’
‘The team is well plugged into the key issues and is incredibly responsive. The collaboration was exceptional within the mining team but also across the whole legal team.’
‘Huge amount of dedication and approachability.’
‘Bruce Dickinson is an experienced, commercially minded lawyer. Bruce’s value is that he is immensely practical, strategic and commercial. He marshals his team well, and he will deliver a client and value-focused outcome. I have no hesitation in recommending Bruce.’
Khoemacau Copper Mining
Royal Bafokeng Platinum
Tshipi é Ntle Manganese Mining
- Advised Anglo American in its internal reorganisation including the separation of Anglo Group’s South African “thermal coal” assets and business operations from the group’s remaining assets and subsequent disposal of the Armstrong Assets.
- Advised Northam in relation to its intention to accelerate the maturity and wind-up of the empowerment transaction concluded between Northam and Zambezi Platinum Limited, and concluded a proposed extended empowerment transaction with an emphasis on participation by Northam group employees and host and affected communities, incorporating the acquisition by Northam Platinum Holdings Limited of all the shares in Northam.
- Advised Africoal in relation to the negotiation, drafting and signature of a Contract Mining and Toll Washing Agreement with New Largo Coal.
Beech Veltman Inc
Boutique firm Beech Veltman Inc was established in 2020 as a spin-off from Eversheds (SA) Inc. (a member of Eversheds Sutherland). The group is highly adept at handling a wide range of mandates within the mining sector, including health and safety issues, environmental and regulatory matters, and dispute resolution, as well as handling M&A transactions and employment issues. Warren Beech leads the mining practice with the support of fellow founder Nicholas Veltman. Eben van Zyl is also notable in the health and safety space, and Melanie Hart joined the team from Fasken in April 2021.
Glencore Operations South Africa
Lonmin Group of Companies
Anglo American Platinum
Royal Bafokeng Platinum Mines
Gunvor Singapore PTE
Samancor Chrome Limited No
Sishen Iron Ore Company No
Bowmans has a strong reputation in corporate mining matters, but in addition to this, the team is also adept at handling regulatory, environmental, health and safety, and employment matters for a broad range of clients, including investors, financial institutions and government departments. Of recent note was the team’s representation of Harmony Gold Mining Company regarding its $300m acquisition of the Moab Khotsong and Great Noligwa mines from AngloGold Ashanti Limited. Corporate M&A lawyer Charles Young is head of the department and is supported by Wandisile Mandlana and Claire Tucker who are skilled in regulatory and environmental mandates. Jason Wilkinson is a name to note for banking and finance matters.
‘The team is very responsive, adaptable and dependable. They go above and beyond when it comes to client matters and make all manner of sacrifices. From a diversity perspective, they excel.’
‘Bowmans’ best quality is its caliber of employees. I have worked with a number of departments and all of them have exceptional knowledge and skill.’
‘The mining industry requires in many instances “out of the box” thinking due to the legislative environment which could tend to slow down development. The team at Bowmans has the ability to apply this thinking and their advice is highly regarded by our company. You can trust their advice and know that your back is covered.’
‘During engagements (verbal or in writing) with some competitors I find our representatives to have better insight and the ability to identify risks and make trustworthy recommendations.’
‘Claire Tucker has gone out of her way to provide a professional service and render solutions and options to our challenges.’
‘Wandisile Mandlana is exceptional service personified. He is available 24/7 and produces top quality work. He works seamlessly with both technical and executive teams.’
African Rainbow Minerals
Anglo Gold Ashanti
Barrick Gold Corporation
Black Mountain Mining
De Beers Consolidated Mines
Harmony Gold Mining
Lanxess Chrome Mining
Royal Bafokeng Platinum
Sumitomo Metal Mining
Vedanta Zinc International
- Advising Harmony Gold Mining Limited on its acquisition of AngloGold Ashanti Limited’s remaining operating assets in South Africa.
- Advised Royal Bafokeng Platinum Limited on a transaction involving the sale and purchase of gold by Triple Flag Mining Finance Ltd.
- Acted for Royal Bafokeng Platinum Limited on various matters.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has a strong mining practice that is skilled at handling contractual, governance and regulatory mandates for both well-established companies and new market entrants. Health and safety matters, social and community issues and black economic empowerment, as well as environmental licensing applications are all strengths of the practice. Its strong relationship with the Department of Mineral Resources allows the practice to offer advice on legislative matters and it continues to advise on Mining Charter matters. Allan Reid heads the team, which includes mining disputes practitioner Fiona Leppan. In March 2021, M&A expert and former joint head of the corporate and commercial team at ENSafrica, Ian Hayes joined the firm, alongside Brian Jennings who specialises in private equity transactions. Giada Masina and Lilia Franca left the firm in January 2021.
‘Experienced, good care and attention to detail, dedicated, prompt, good legal and industry connections, practical and excellent skill sets.’
‘Allan Reid is a great asset to our company.’
Waterberg JV Resources
South32 SA Coal Holdings
ABSA Property Development
Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa
Public Investment Corporation
Platinum Group Metals
Kumba Iron Ore
Rustenburg Platinum Mines
CAPM African Precious Metals
BHP Billiton South Africa
Glencore Operations South Africa
Village Main Reef
Rio Tinto plc
Fasken handles the mining matters of a wide range of clients, including junior and senior mineral exploration companies, financial institutions and industry service providers. The team is experienced in both domestic and cross-border mandates, having completed work in Angola, Botswana, Madagascar and Zimbabwe. Its capabilities span M&A transactions, permitting, project development, employment mandates and corporate social responsibility. The team consists of corporate and commercial lawyer Dimitri Cavvadas, mining regulatory expert Godfrey Malesa and black economic empowerment and M&A specialist Stimela Mokoena. Paul Fouche has expertise in occupational and health and safety matters whilst Francois Joubert is acknowledged for his environmental experience.
‘The team are very thorough in their approach to legal issues that may arise.’
Zizwe Opencast Mining
Pilanesburg Platinum Mines
Itereleng Bakgatla Mineral Resources
Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP
The mining practice at Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP, which is praised by clients for its ‘profound knowledge‘, is led by Africa chair Peter Leon and is active across sub-Saharan Africa. The group consists of lawyers who spend all their time focusing on the industry, and corporate, employment and environmental lawyers with mining expertise. The team handles transactional and continuous matters for its impressive list of clients, including multinational and domestic mining companies, communities, governmental departments, and which also now includes the Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources. Corporate and regulatory lawyer Patrick Leyden is also of note in the mining sector, alongside newly promoted senior associate and environmental specialist Ernst Muller.
‘I think that they have profound knowledge of the law as well as the mining environment and are able to create tailored, unique solutions to complex challenges in our organisation.’
‘They are very client-focused and committed to delivering quality and timely outputs.’
‘Their costing is fair and appropriate for the effort and output.’
‘HSF’s practice led by Peter Leon is unique in that it adopts an advocacy-based approach far beyond a black letter legal approach. This enables creative, swift and comprehensive decision making for clients which often brings about a favourable resolution. I can’t recommend them more highly.’
‘I work closely with Peter Leon and and Ernst Muller. They are both exceptional lawyers, and lovely people.’
‘Peter Leon and and Ernst Muller see solutions where others do not, and work tirelessly and in good humour to solve them.’
‘I have recommended them without hesitation to my own clients especially where they have existential problems that need particularly creative solutions. The best in the business.’
‘Patrick Leyden’s legal prowess coupled with his deep understanding of the mining sector is key to him delivering, sound, pragmatic solutions that protects both our legal position, our business environment and our socio-political relations.’
Dr. Ahmed Al-Sgaih & Partners
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources
HDG Limited Mintails SA
Mintails Mining SA
Norilsk Nickel Africa
Motsitle Mining- Vlakfontein Site
Anglo American Plc Anglo American South Africa
Harmony Gold Mining Company
Sumitomo Corporation South Africa
China Molybdenum Company Limited
CIMIC Group Limited
Oryx Energies SA Oryx Oil Company
- Advised the The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources on the full suite of Mining Investment Regulations and guidelines supporting the recently promulgated Mining Investment Law, 2020, which came into force on 1 January 2021.
- Advised Harmony on to the acquisition of AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng mine and surface operations in South Africa for approximately $300m.
- Represented NNM and NNA in appeal proceedings which were instituted under section 96 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 and two subsequent judicial review proceedings which arose from a Share Sale and Purchase Agreement between NNM and BCL Investments.
Werksmans Attorneys caters to mining clients based in North America, Europe and Australia, in addition to South African mining houses and black economic empowerment mining companies. The team is adept at acting for clients in M&A transactions, health and safety matters, disputes and statutory and regulatory compliance mandates. It also advises on the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 2002, the Mining Charter, black economic empowerment and environmental law and waste management. Chris Stevens is head of the practice and he is supported by director and financing expert David Gewer, transactional lawyer Steven Lochner and director and disputes lawyer Kathleen Louw, Director Athi Jara joined the team from Gwina Attorneys in March 2021.
Glencore South Africa
Rustenburg Platinum Mines
- Represented South 32 in a matter which involved High Court litigation against the DMR granting the refusal of mining rights.
- Advised Andalusite Resources regarding the sale of its entire business to ARM Andalusite pursuant to the seller’s business rescue plan approving such sale.
- Advised Oakwood Trading 21 on the disposal of its entire shareholding in Coza Mining.
Baker McKenzie Johannesburg
Baker McKenzie Johannesburg represents its clients across the entire mining life cycle. This includes handling M&A transactions, compliance and environmental finance matters and employment mandates. Darryl Bernstein is a notable name for mining-related disputes, whilst Kieran Whyte is a name to note for project development and financing. Wildu du Plessis and Morné Van Der Merwe left the firm in 2021.
Ninety One SA
Sibanye Stillwater Group
- Acted for FirstRand Bank Limited, Nedbank Limited, Absa Bank Limited and Ninety One SA Proprietary Limited in relation to revolving term loan facilities provided to Petra Diamonds Limited and its subsidiaries.
- Advised Sibanye Gold and the Sibanye Stillwater Group in relation to the accession by the new holding company, Sibanye Stillwater, to various of the group’s existing financings as guarantor.
- Advised Sibanye-Stillwater on the extension of the tenor of its existing $600m revolving credit facility agreement.
Gary Felthun and Matthew Burnell jointly sit at the helm of the mining group at White & Case LLP. The team handles the financing, environmental and regulatory needs of cross-border and domestic mining deals, as well as advising clients on transactions, restructurings and construction mandates. The practice is also increasingly active in the growing ESG space surrounding the sector; associate Tim van der Merwe, who joined the group in mid-2021 from Gunn Attorneys, is particularly skilled in this area. Debt financing lawyers Lionel Shawe and Sibusiso Zungu are also new additions from Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP, joining in May 2021.
‘In addition to the team’s strong environmental law competence, the fact that the team structures their advice in a commercial and pragmatic manner greatly assists the company they are advising in that it is able to hold a holistic view of a transaction/matter instead of focusing on one aspect.’
‘White & Case has an excellent mining environmental legal team and I am very impressed by the commitment to the client and service excellence.’
‘Dr Matthew Burnell is conscientious, committed, very competent and he delivers outstanding work. He goes beyond the call of duty to assist and support us.’
‘Matthew Burnell is knowledgeable, hard working and thorough, engages with the detail.’
‘Matthew Burnell of White & Case is proficient in mining and environmental law, skilful and practised, friendly and easily contactable, pragmatic and open-minded.’
Anglo Corporate Services
Anglo American plc
Black Royalty Minerals
Burgh Group Holdings
Samancor Chrome Limited
Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited
Kopanang Gold Mining Company
MC Mining Limited
Pallinghurst Advisors LLP
Sinosteel Group Corporation
Sedibelo Platinum Mines
Tau Lekoa Gold Mining Co
Village Main Reef
- Represented Harmony Gold Mining Company in relation to its acquisition of AngloGold Ashanti’s remaining South African assets.
- Represented Black Royalty Minerals on its successful bid process to acquire all of the assets of Koornfontein Mines.
- Represented the bondholders of Petra Diamond in respect of its proposed capital restructuring.