Mining in South Africa

ENSafrica

ENSafrica provides a genuine full-service offering to the mining industry, with highly-specialised teams in occupational health and safety, mining M&A, mining law and industry-specific employment issues, among others. It represents an impressive number of South African and international mining houses. Lloyd Christie leads the mining team and has an extensive record in mining law and mining M&A. Pieter Colyn leads the mine and occupational health and safety team, which includes experienced executive consultant Willem le Roux. Chief operating officer Otsile Matlou is a leader in mining law and regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Lloyd Christie; Pieter Colyn

Other key lawyers:

Ntsiki Adonisi-Kgame; Willem le Roux; Otsile Matlou 

Testimonials

‘Dynamic; innovative ideas; solution driven; highly skilled.’

‘Always delivering a personal service – you never feel like you are dealing with a large law firm. Kind and humble people to work with.’

‘Leaders in their field. The depth and breadth of team is extremely impressive. The turnaround time is excellent and the mine health and safety expertise is extremely impressive.’

‘The ENSafrica team is very attentive and timely. They are responsive to clients’ immediate and underlying needs.’

‘Lloyd Christie is an excellent professional, who goes out of his way to be flexible and to accommodate the client.’ 

‘Willem le Roux has assisted my company in many accident inquiries and has really become a trusted ‘partner’ in tough situations.’

‘Ntsiki Adonisi-Kgame is exceptional in terms of offering reasonable advice, keeping the engagement with stakeholders, and efficiency and quality of deliverables.’ 

‘Ntsiki Adonisi-Kgame comes up with innovative ideas that are tailored for the commercial issues being considered.’

Key clients

Bank of Montreal

South 32

African Rainbow Minerals

Norilsk Nickel Africa

Bushveld Minerals

Eskom Holdings

Minmetals Mining Company

ADI Mining

Wescoal

Neosho Trading 86

Exxaro

HCI Coal

Sibanye Stillwater

Sasol

Impala Platinum

Harmony Gold

Sedibelo Platinum

MC Mining

AngloGold Ashanti

Work highlights

  • Acted as lead counsel for Bank of Montreal in advising on its proposed commercial transactions with South African resident companies in respect of precious metals leases, collateralised loans and derivatives.
  • Advised South32 on the sale of its shares in South32 SA Coal Holdings.
  • Advised Bushveld Minerals on mining, environmental and corporate due diligence investigations pertaining to South African mining titles and subsidiaries.

Webber Wentzel

Webber Wentzel is deeply embedded in the mining sector. It has a raft of partners and attorneys who are either solely focused on the industry or spend the vast majority of their time dealing with mining sector clients. This ranges from mining law and regulatory matters, mining M&A, and employment matters to project finance and environmental concerns. The prestige and breadth of its client base is hard to match. Manus BooysenJonathan Veeran and Rita Spalding are leaders in mining law and regulatory matters, while Bruce Dickinson has an unrivalled record in mining M&A and corporate transactions. Kate Collier is noted for health and safety and Garyn Rapson for environmental matters. Giada Masina has joined from Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Veeran; Rita Spalding

Other key lawyers:

Manus Booysen; Bruce Dickinson; Kate Collier; Garyn Rapson; Giada Masina  

Testimonials

‘A very professional team, with extensive experience and diverse expertise in the mining industry. The practice offers a ‘one-stop shop’ for clients. The professionals work well together as a team, providing clients with an integrated and holistic approach to legal advice.’

‘Practical, effective, efficient, timeous and cost effective legal advice is critical to support an in-house counsel in this day and age. Many of the professionals at Webber Wentzel have demonstrated these qualities in their service delivery to us.’

‘Bruce Dickinson gets on top of issues extremely quickly and is able to guide us in our decision-making with his intimate knowledge of the law as it applies to our mining operations. Very personable, delivers on his promises timeously and is our go-to man for anything thorny.’

‘Manus Booysen is our key lawyer and he is really outstanding.’

‘Manus Booysen is always available to us, even on short notice. Correspondence is answered in a timely fashion.’

Key clients

Africoal

Afrimat

AfriSam

Anglo American

Aquila Resources

Assore

Bushveld Minerals

Dynamic Mining

Exxaro Resources

Fraser Alexander

Glencore

Gold Fields

Great Dyke Investment

Harmony Gold

Ikwezi

Impala Platinum

Ivanplats

Khoemacau Copper Mine

Moolmans

Northam Platinum

Omnia/BME

Raubex

Rio Tinto

Royal Bafokeng Platinum

SAIL Group

Sasol Mining

SepFluor

Seriti Resources

Sibanye-Stillwater

Siyanda Resources

South32

Stefanutti Stocks Mining Services

Tshipi

Universal Coal

Vedanta

Vergenoeg

Work highlights

  • Advised Anglo American on the consolidation and restructure of its South African export coal assets.
  • Advised Sojitz in relation to structuring, empowerment and the acquisition of Andalusite Resources (in business rescue).
  • Advised Anglo American in assessing the viability of implementing evergreen ESOP and COP structures that will facilitate long-term maintenance of its social licences to operate among its employees and in the communities in which it operates, enable good corporate citizenship and coordinate its spend on regulatory compliance.

Beech Veltman Inc

Beech Veltman Inc, a mining boutique spin-off from Eversheds (SA) Inc. (a member of Eversheds Sutherland), was established in 2020. The firm is led by Warren Beech, a recognised specialist in health and safety, environmental, and regulatory matters, including Mining Charter compliance. Fellow founding partner Nicholas Veltman is another prominent specialist in mining, construction and engineering, and is especially noted for health and safety matters. The two have strong links to a range of mining majors and large construction businesses.

Practice head(s):

Warren Beech; Nicholas Veltman

Key clients

Glencore Operations South Africa – Coal Division

Glencore Operations South Africa – Ferroalloys and Alloys Division

Anglo American Platinum

Anglo American Coal

South32 Group (Coal, Manganese, Aluminium)

Royal Bafokeng Platinum Mines

Gunvor Singapore

Samancor Chrome

Sishen Iron Ore Company

Glencore – Mopani Copper Mine (Zambia)

Glencore International AG – Astron Energy

Village Main Reef

Rail 2 Rail

Lennings Rail

Mathupha Capital

Ford Motor Company Southern Africa (Manufacturing)

Motul

Work highlights

  • Advised South32 / Samancor Manganese on the proposed disposal of the Metalloys Business Unit.
  • Advised Glencore Oil and Gas on a deflagration and detonation incident in July 2020 resulting in extensive damage to Plant 4 at a refinery, fatal injuries to two employees and injuries to seven other persons.
  • Represented AngloGold Ashanti in relation to a dispute that has arisen out of a legacy agreement involving various mines providing relevant pumping and related infrastructure to pump underground water to prevent flooding of mines in the West Witwatersrand Basin.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr  has a prominent mining team that represents some of the biggest names in the industry, along with mid-tier players and market entrants. It continues to impress in mining M&A, regulatory matters and fund raising exercises. It remains active in Mining Charter-related engagements and environmental compliance, health and safety and black economic empowerment issues. Allan Reid is a leading figure in mining law engagements in South Africa and many other African jurisdictions. Vivien Chaplin has joined from Hogan Lovells (South Africa) to reinforce the transactional side of the practice. Environmental and regulatory lawyer Sandra Gore has left to become a consultant, though continues to work with the firm. Mining law specialist Giada Masina and mining M&A expert Lilia Franca have joined Webber Wentzel.

Practice head(s):

Allan Reid

Other key lawyers:

Vivien Chaplin; Ben Cripps

Testimonials

‘They are more than just lawyers and advisors, but rather business partners who try to help you resolve issues and find solutions.’

‘Strong technical expertise combined with commercial practicality. Exceptional partners backed up by very good senior associates.’

‘Allan Reid brings a great depth of experience to our file. His guidance has been invaluable. Allan is well versed in our industry and the types of issues we face. He is able to help us quickly assess and react to circumstances, which are usually quite dynamic.’

‘Allan Reid combines great knowledge with practical solutions. He has a long history with our company which makes him uniquely positioned to provide the correct advice.’

‘Ben Cripps has often been given complex and cumbersome tasks, which he has been able to manage and complete in a thorough manner. Ben has displayed a good understanding of the legal issues we have faced and is very talented.’

Key clients

AngloGold Ashanti

African Rainbow Minerals

ArcelorMittal

Assmang Limited

Atlatsa Resources

BHP Billiton

De Beers

Evraz

Exxaro Resources

Harmony Gold

Hitachi Construction Machinery Southern Africa

Ivanhoe Mines

Lanxess Deutschland

Lonmin

Pengxin International Mining

Petmin

Northam Platinum

Platinum Group Metals

Samancor

Sentula

Sibanye-Stillwater

South32 SA Coal Holdings

Waterberg JV Resources

Xstrata Coal

Fasken

Fasken has a long history with the mining sector, including mining majors, mid-tier players, smaller players in the sector and traditional communities. Strongly allied to the industry, it continues to serve clients in M&A, regulatory, employment, health and safety, environmental and other key areas. Dimitri Cavvadas is an experienced figure in corporate transactions in the natural resources sector. Stimela Mokoena is an emerging name in mining M&A and other transactions in the sector. Godfrey Malesa is noted for mining regulatory and M&A work. The employment team, including Paul Fouche, is also heavily involved with the mining industry, and has additional expertise in occupational health and safety.  Francois Joubert is a key name on the environmental side.

Practice head(s):

Dimitri Cavvadas; Stimela Mokoena; Godfrey Malesa 

Other key lawyers:

Paul Fouche; Francois Joubert

Key clients

Innovators Resources

Lafarge South Africa

Impala Platinum

Ndonsa Mining

Arnot OpCo

Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP has made significant headway in building its presence in sub-Saharan Africa, landing mining sector engagements in jurisdictions such as Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon. It represents many of the biggest names in the industry on key matters such as mining M&A, mining law and regulatory matters, project development and project finance. The South Africa team features Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone expertise, enabling it to cover the continent with genuine credibility; the group works closely with London, Paris and other key international offices. Africa co-chair Peter Leon is one of the pre-eminent mining law specialists in South Africa. Ross Lomax is recommended for mining sector M&A. Director Patrick Leyden is another key name.

Practice head(s):

Peter Leon

Key clients

Norilsk Nickel Africa; Norilsk Nickel International Holdings

Natal Portland Cement Company

Anglo American; Anglo American South Africa

Harmony Gold Mining

BHP

Sumitomo Corporation South Africa

MMG

Alliance Mining Commodities

Kore Potash

Dynamic Mining

Middelvlei Resources

Deton Engineering

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Work highlights

  • Advised Harmony Gold on its acquisition of AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng Mine (currently the world’s deepest mine at 3.84km) and its mine waste solutions business in South Africa.
  • Appointed as the international legal advisor on the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources’ mineral law reform project.
  • Advised Middelvlei Resources on alternative corporate restructurings, which included elements of B-BBEE, as well as the funding arrangements in respect of its wholly owned gold mining subsidiary, Middelvlei Minerals.

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc is deeply aligned with the mining industry, having represented the Minerals Council South Africa, the trade body for the sector, for many years. It continues to be active in disputes connected to the Mining Charter and the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act. The firm is making a further impression in project finance, including green field mining projects. It has experienced additional growth in beneficiation of battery materials such as nickel, cobalt and graphite. ESG-related engagements are another forte for the team. Michael Dale continues to be a recognised leader in mining law, and Georg Kahle is a key figure in mining M&A and mining projects. André Vos and Jeffrey Kron are noted for mining sector disputes including judicial review and class actions.

Practice head(s):

Georg Kahle; Michael Dale

Other key lawyers:

Jackie Midlane; André Vos; Jeffrey Kron; Christina Pretorius

Testimonials

‘The Norton Rose team is highly knowledgeable in their area of expertise and extremely efficient in handling all required matters.’

‘The team is very passionate about the work they perform.’

‘Deep knowledge of mining, knowledge of our business and the required capacity to get large transactions done.’

‘Mike Dale is the industry leader in mining law.’

‘Jackie Midlane is an acknowledged industry leader in banking and finance-related matters.’

‘Christina Pretorius has a keen eye for detail and commerciality. Her advice is both practical and legally sound. She is always a reliable source for legal solutions to challenging problems.’

‘Christina Pretorius has exceptional insight into how to best apply contractual law in the business environment. Her legal acumen is crucial to our strategic business decisions.’

Key clients

Mimosa Resources

RFW Lonmin Investments

Thakadu Battery Materials

Minerals Council South Africa

Vedanta Resources

Dialstat Trading 115

Impala Platinum

Exxaro Resources

Sefateng Chrome Mine

AngloGold Ashanti

Work highlights

  • Advised RFW Lonmin Investments on the unwind of a $50m Metals Purchase Agreement implemented in 2016, the settlement of amounts owing, and the release and cancellation of the associated agreements and securities.
  • Acted for the Minerals Council South Africa against the Minister of Mineral Resources in a judicial review application to set aside certain provisions of the Mining Charter.
  • Represented Vedanta in urgently obtaining an interim injunction against Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines in respect of the Konkola Copper Mine in Zambia, directing ZCCM to withdraw a winding up petition before the Zambian courts in order for the underlying dispute first to be determined by international arbitration.

Werksmans Attorneys

Werksmans Attorneys has a well-developed mining law and regulatory practice, coupled with a consistently high performing mining-focused M&A team. Mining disputes has been a long-term forte for the firm and this has increased in line with the Mining Charter and related administrative disputes over granting of prospecting and mining rights. Business rescue is another key area. The firm has an expanding list of clients, in part thanks to the presence of mining law and regulatory specialist Chris StevensStephan Lochner and David Gewer are key names in mining M&A.

Practice head(s):

Chris Stevens

Other key lawyers:

Stephan Lochner; David Gewer

Testimonials

‘Chris Stevens is an exceptional lawyer who has the ability to provide practical, effective and efficient legal advice within a quick turnaround time without ever compromising on the quality of his work. Chris Stevens is able to deal with the instruction predominantly by himself.’

‘Chris Stevens has the ability to simplify complex matters and to provide clients with practical and pragmatic legal advice that makes complicated transactions easier to implement. It is an absolute pleasure to deal with him.’

Key clients

Glencore South Africa

Wescoal

Anglo Platinum

South32 SA

Samancor Chrome

Hernic Ferrochrome

Petra Diamonds

Gold Fields

Assmang

Anglo Operations

Mbuyelo Coal

Tronox

ArcelorMittal

Assore

Londani Coal

Village Main Reef

Genet Minerals

Work highlights

  • Represented South32 in a matter which involved High Court litigation against the DMR granting the refusal of mining rights.
  • Acted for Assmang in the acquisition of two manganese projects in the Northern Cape.
  • Acted ArcelorMittal in the sale of COZA Mining to Afrimat.

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg is principally known for its transactional record in the mining sector. It has an impressive number of mining clients and has worked on a consistent flow of headline deals, including advising Impala Platinum on its $758m acquisition of North American Palladium, the Canadian-based primary platinum group metals producer. Head of the M&A group and Johannesburg managing partner Morné van der Merwe has extensive experience in the mining sector. Kieran Whyte and Wildu du Plessis are key names for project development and project finance.

Practice head(s):

Morné van der Merwe

Other key lawyers:

Kieran Whyte; Wildu du Plessis 

Bowmans

Bowmans  continues to impress in mining sector corporate transactions, and is also an emerging player in mining regulatory, environmental law and health and safety matters. Charles Young leads the team and has a fine record in mining sector M&A for clients such as Harmony Gold Mining, Rio Tinto and African Rainbow Minerals. The regulatory and environmental side of the practice is led by Wandisile Mandlana and Claire Tucker. Jason Wilkinson is recommended for mining finance.

Practice head(s):

Charles Young

Other key lawyers:

Wandisile Mandlana; Claire Tucker; Jason Wilkinson 

Testimonials

‘The team is diverse and has a generational mix that results in extraordinary value creation.’

‘Wandisile Mandlana has continuously outdone himself. He has an exceptional ability to apply rigid legal principles to complex commercial scenarios. He is attentive and thinks ‘outside the box’. He is client-orientated and dependable.’

Key clients

Africa Barrick Gold (now Acacia)

African Rainbow Minerals

Anglo American (and associated operations)

AngloGold Ashanti

Barrick Gold Corporation (Canada)

Caledonia Mining Corporation

Dodsal Resources FZCO

Eskom

Eurasian Resources Group

Harmony Gold

Hulamin

Lanxess

Merafe Resources

Minmetals

Northam Platinum

PPC

Puma Energy

Rio Tinto

Royal Bafokeng Platinum

Shanduka Resources

South32

The Tanzanian National Development Corporation

Trafigura

Trans Hex Group

Wogen Pacific

Wescoal

Work highlights

  • Advised Harmony Gold Mining on its acquisition of AngloGold Ashanti’s remaining operating assets in South Africa.
  • Advised on the sale and purchase of gold by Triple Flag Mining Finance from Royal Bafokeng Resources and Royal Bafokeng Platinum.
  • Advised Lanxess on its disposal of its 74% shareholding in Lanxess Chrome Holdings to Chrome Production Holdings.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP is primarily noted for corporate transactions and restructurings in the mining sector, this includes company and asset acquisitions. Matthew Burnell joined the firm in January 2020 from Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP to reinforce the mining and environmental regulatory practice. He links up with Gary Felthun and Craig Atkinson , both of whom have a strong track record in mining M&A.

Practice head(s):

Gary Felthun; Matthew Burnell

Other key lawyers:

Craig Atkinson

Testimonials

‘The team structures their advice in a commercial and pragmatic manner, which ensures that the client is able to build a holistic view of a transaction or a matter instead of focusing on one aspect.’

‘Matthew Burnell is an environmental lawyer with a strong knowledge of the South African mining sector. He is very hard working and easy to get along with.’

‘Matthew Burnell is proficient in mining and environmental law; skilful and practised; affable and easily contactable; pragmatic and open-minded.’

Key clients

Pelagic Resources PTE

Samancor Chrome

Sinosteel Corporation

Village Main Reef

Anglo Operations

Black Royalty Minerals

Burgh Group

Exxaro Resources

Gemfields

Glencore

Harmony Gold Mining

MC Mining

Sedibelo Platinum Mines

Work highlights

  • Represented Harmony Gold Mining in relation to its acquisition of AngloGold Ashanti’s remaining South African assets.
  • Represented Black Royalty Minerals in 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.