Mining in South Africa

ENSafrica

ENSafrica covers the full spectrum of mining-related work with continued prominence in mining law, regulatory, employment and M&A engagements. The firm is also considered the leader in mine and occupational health and safety. Mining M&A expert Ian Hayes and mining law specialist Otsile Matlou are highly rated. Lloyd Christie provides further environmental and mining law expertise, while Pieter Colyn and consultant Willem le Roux are leaders in health and safety.

Practice head(s):

Lloyd Christie; Pieter Colyn

Testimonials

The ENS mining team gives prompt, practical advice that you can rely on.’

The team is extremely professional, dynamic and efficient in their conduct.

Their experience in the dynamics and the mechanisms of the mining industry gives them the edge on others.

Lloyd Christie responds to queries promptly and with enthusiasm, giving thorough and practical advice. I have not experienced this level and quality of service from any other firm in 20 years.’

Key clients

Exxaro Coal Central

PPC

Norilsk Nickel Africa

Black Royalty Minerals

Siyanda Bakgatla Platinum Mine

Glencore Operations South Africa

Hernic Ferrochrome

Work highlights

  • Represented MC Mining in administrative appeals and High Court review applications against various government consents  granted for the Makhado Project.
  • Advised AngloGold Ashanti on the disposal of its Vaal River mining operations to Harmony Gold and Village Main Reef.
  • Acted for AngloGold Ashanti in defending the company’s assets against unlawful invasions and political interference.

Webber Wentzel

Webber Wentzel has a strong track record in the mining sector with outstanding credentials in M&A, regulatory and employment issues, among others. The firm has successfully made inroads into the wider Africa market, including mining projects and M&A. Bruce Dickinson is a leader in mining M&A, backed ably by Alison Mills, and Manus Booysen is at the forefront of mining law matters. Jonathan Veeran is also rated for regulatory issues. Rita Spalding and health and safety specialist Kate Collier are also rated.

Practice head(s):

Bruce Dickinson

Testimonials

This practice arguably has the most in-depth knowledge and most years of combined experience in mining and mineral law and practice in South Africa. Their technical knowledge of the law in this practice area is unsurpassed. They combine these skills with good old-fashioned values of integrity, hard work and client service. This is a first-class mining law practice.

Alison Mills is consistently a safe pair of hands for complex transactions. I have worked with her for more than a decade now and have yet to see her drop a ball.

Bruce Dickinson and the team are exceptional. They are responsive, knowledgeable and creative problem solvers and always fully committed to your matter. You are are made to feel as though you are the only client.

Both Alison Mills and Bruce Dickinson have also proven to be fantastic project managers, which can be invaluable for an often capacity constrained in-house counsel.

Manus Booysen is an old school lawyer who devotes enormous amounts of time and energy to understanding his clients needs and finding the best solutions. His knowledge of his field is unsurpassed in the industry, and clients can expect the highest quality advice from him.

Rita Spalding is a savvy and dedicated commercial lawyer. She is great with clients and delivers work of exceptional quality within a short turn-around time. It is always a pleasure to deal with her.

Key clients

Anglo American Group

Palabora Mining Company

South32

De Beers

Rio Tinto

Sasol

Vale

Harmony Gold Mining Company

Exxaro Resources

Sibanye

Work highlights

  • Advised Rustenburg Platinum on the disposal of its entire 33% interest in the Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine to Royal Bafokeng Resources
  • Assisted Mbila Resources with the sale of its core anthracite asset in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
  • Advised MMG on its proposed copper project in Angola, including its proposed joint venture agreement with Ferrangol.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has a significant client base of major, mid-tier and junior mining companies. It is active in restructurings and transactions involving the sale of non-core assets. Environmental and regulatory matters also account for a significant portion of the practice. Allan Reid leads the department, which includes mining law specialist Giada Masina, environmental and regulatory lawyer Sandra Gore and M&A leader Lilia Franca.

Practice head(s):

Allan Reid

Testimonials

Cliffe Dekker is by far the most efficient, thorough and professional firm.’

The team is excellent, committed and have impressive turnaround times on documents. They always go the extra mile.’

The turn-around time is phenomenal.

Insight into mining law and practical application, strong corporate and M&A competancy (especially in listed company rules), ability to find solutions to problems/issues.

Allan Reid is fantastic, commercial, his views are robust, and he has a high ethical standard.

Lilia France is a brilliant attorney, she has a vast amount of experience and we are very fortunate as she is always available for us.

Key clients

Anglo American

ArcelorMittal South Africa

Harmony Gold

Lonmin

Northam Platinum

Work highlights

  • Advised Lonmin on its sale to Sibanye Gold.
  • Assisted Northam Platinum with its acquisition of additional mineral resources from Anglo American Platinum.
  • Advised Sishen Iron Ore Company on the disposal of the Thabazimbi Mine to ArcelorMittal South Africa.

Eversheds (SA) Inc. (a member of Eversheds Sutherland)

Eversheds (SA) Inc. (a member of Eversheds Sutherland) established a prominent mining group with the hire of Warren Beech and a team from Hogan Lovells (South Africa). The group is recognised for its expertise in environmental, health and safety, regulatory and M&A matters. Nicholas Veltman is also a key name.

Practice head(s):

Warren Beech

Key clients

Glencore Operations South Africa

Lonmin

Anglo American Platinum

Anglo American Coal

South32 Group

Royal Bafokeng Platinum Mines

Work highlights

  • Advised Glencore Operations on a range of matters associated with four fatal accidents.
  • Acted for South32 in an urgent application to interdict and restrain illegal mining at Witbank Colliery.
  • Represented Sasol Mining in connection with two fatal accidents .

Fasken

Fasken's strong commitment to the mining industry is evidenced by its range of services, from mining M&A to environmental and labour relations issues. Moreover, its client base includes mining majors, juniors and traditional communities. It has worked on a series of streaming transactions and has advised a number of black economic empowerment (BEE) players on asset acquisitions. The Johannesburg team works closely with strong mining groups in Canada and London. Stimela Mokoena is recognised for mining M&A. Francois Joubert is the key name on the environmental side. Lucas Moalusi joined African Rainbow Minerals in 2020.

Work highlights

  • Advised Innovators Resources on its partnership with Wescoal Mining to acquire Exxaro Coal Mpumalanga’s Arnot Mine business operations.
  • Defended Zizwe Opencast Mining against an unfair dismissal claim by employees that were dismissed post an unprotected strike.
  • Acted for AngloGold Ashanti in successfully interdicting a secondary strike action called for by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP is at the forefront of sub-Saharan mining sector engagements, including crisis management and regulatory matters. The South Africa team has played a pivotal role in securing new client relationships for the global firm and has achieved greater prominence in cross-border M&A deals, often working alongside London and Paris colleagues. International arbitration is another major growth area. Peter Leon is a giant of the market and Patrick Leyden is gaining recognition for M&A expertise.

Practice head(s):

Peter Leon

Key clients

Natal Portland Cement Company

Anglo American

Harmony Gold Mining Company

International Finance Corporation

BHP Billiton

Work highlights

  • Advised Alliance Mining Commodities on the project development and project financing of its Koumbia Bauxite Project in the Republic of Guinea, which includes the construction of mining, road, rail and port infrastructure.
  • Assisted Thiess with its acquisition of Basil Read’s interest in the Majwe Joint Venture in Botswana and its contract mining services agreement with Debswana.
  • Represented Norilsk Nickel Mauritius and Norilsk Nickel Africa in a variety of disputes arising from a share sale and purchase agreement with BCL Investments.

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc has longstanding experience in the mining sector, particularly in mining law, regulatory matters and disputes. Michael Dale remains the nation's leading authority on mining law. Georg Kahle is an experienced figure in mining sector M&A, and Jackie Midlane is noted for project finance in the mining sphere. Jeffrey Kron and André Vos are prominent litigators with extensive mining sector disputes experience, including class actions.

Practice head(s):

Georg Kahle

Werksmans Attorneys

Werksmans Attorneys advises a number of the mining majors in the industry. It has outstanding mining law credentials thanks to the presence of Chris Stevens and is at the forefront of mining disputes with its market leading litigation team. In the business rescue field, Eric Levenstein has been especially active in the mining sector. David Gewer is recommended for mining M&A.

Practice head(s):

Chris Stevens

Key clients

Glencore

Wescoal

Anglo Platinum

South32

Samancor Chrome

Work highlights

  • Acted for Anglo Platinum on the disposal of Glencore’s interest in the Mototolo joint venture.
  • Acted for Samancor Chrome on the acquisition of the Hernic Ferrochrome Chrome Mine.
  • Advised Hernic Ferrochrome on the disposal of one of its chrome mines to Samancor.

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg has an outstanding record in cross-border M&A deals, joint ventures, asset disposals and BEE transactions. The Johannesburg office has played a pivotal role in a number of major global and cross-border deals. It also operates in most of the major mineral segments. Morné van der Merwe, Mike van Rensburg and Marc Yudaken are senior corporate partners that have extensive experience in the mining sector. Kieran Whyte and Wildu du Plessis are key names for projects and project finance in this sphere.

Practice head(s):

Morné van der Merwe

Key clients

CITIC Group

Arcelor Mittal

Exxaro Resources

Aveng Africa

Ma’aden

Impala Platinum

Work highlights

  • Advised Citic Group on the acquisition of a 19.9% stake in Ivanhoe Mines.
  • Acted for Arcelor Mittal on the disposal of its indirect 50% interest in Macsteel International Trade to MacSteel Global.
  • Assisted Exxaro Resources with obtaining South African merger clearance for the acquisition of control over its Arnot mine operated by Exxaro Coal Mpumalanga by Arnot OpCo.

Bowmans

Bowmans is primarily recognised for mining M&A, regulatory and environmental matters. The firm advises on big-ticket M&A and asset disposal transactions. Charles Young is highly reputed for mining M&A transactions, Claire Tucker for environmental issues and Jason Wilkinson for mining sector finance. Wandisile Mandlana is developing a strong reputation for environmental and mining law.

Practice head(s):

Charles Young

Key clients

African Rainbow Minerals

Anglo American

AngloGold Ashanti

Barrick Gold

Eskom

Harmony Gold

Minmetals

Northam Platinum

Work highlights

  • Advised Chevron Global Energy on its $1bn disposal of its 75% interest in Chevron South Africa and 100% interest in Chevron Botswana to Off The Shelf Investments Fifty Six, Chevron’s empowerment partner.
  • Assisted Ata Resources with its proposed acquisition, together with a consortium of investors, of Universal Coal by way of a scheme of arrangement.
  • Represented Black Mountain Mining in an appeal to the Minister of Environmental Affairs for the granting of various environmental authorisations.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP has made significant progress in mining M&A, including cross-border deals. The firm is also active in mining sector project finance and has a strong list of mining clients. Gary Felthun and Craig Atkinson are at the forefront of M&A in this space and Joz Coetzer has deep experience in mining sector project financings.

Practice head(s):

Gary Felthun

Key clients

AngloGold Ashanti

Black Royalty Minerals

Glencore

MC Mining

Meridien Mining and Resources

Mitsui & Co

Work highlights

  • Advised Pallinghurst Group on its equity investment in Nemaska Lithium, to finance the Wabouchi Project, a lithium and electrochemical plant in Quebec, Canada.
  • Acted for MC Mining on its funding agreement with the Industrial Development Corporation.
  • Advised MC Mining, via its subsidiary Baobab Mining & Exploration, on the acquisition of two key properties required for its Makhado hard coking and thermal coal project.