Mining and metals

A&O Shearman supports the world's leading mining and metals companies with their most complex, innovative, and sensitive matters.

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Our clients include major, mid-tier, and junior corporates, international financial institutions, private equity funds, OEM’s, commodity traders, multilateral institutions, and governmental entities.

We have extensive experience across the full mining lifecycle – from acquisition, development and financing to expansion, restructuring and disposal – and across multiple segments of the industry, such as ferrous, non-ferrous, and precious metals and critical minerals, as well as extraction, smelting, refining, trading, and semi-manufacturing. 

We leverage our in-depth knowledge of the commercial, tax, and regulatory opportunities and challenges in different jurisdictions to offer practical and tailored solutions to our clients. 

We understand the key challenges and opportunities facing the industry in a rapidly changing world, such as energy transition, battery/critical minerals, decarbonization, new technologies, ESG, compliance, government relations, and shareholder activism, and help our clients to navigate through these challenges and opportunities. 

We have a strong presence and network in the key mining jurisdictions, with teams of dedicated and diverse lawyers in Johannesburg, London, the Middle East, New York, Perth, and Toronto, who work seamlessly across borders and disciplines to deliver innovative and practical solutions. 

Deep financing and project development expertise 

Our lawyers excel at helping clients access varied sources of financing and optimize their capital structures. 

We are recognized for developing innovative funding structures, as well as for our strong relationships with private equity investors, sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, strategic investors, and streaming/royalty companies. 

We act for both issuers and underwriters in capital markets offerings by leading mining and metals companies around the world, including in relation to equity, high-yield and investment-grade bonds.  

We have extensive experience in the development and financing of related infrastructure projects – such as power, water, and transportation – which are often essential for the success of mining operations. Our expertise extends across various models of infrastructure development, including private sector and public-private partnership-style arrangements. 

Reputation for transformative M&A deals 

We have a stellar reputation for advising on transformative, multijurisdictional cross-border M&A transactions. We know how to execute deals successfully and expeditiously and advise both buyers and sellers on multiple corporate/M&A matters including acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic alliances, divestments, carve outs and spin-offs. 

Impressive track record when disputes arise 

Our lawyers provide strategic counsel on managing business risks. We are recognized for our work on complex and significant domestic and cross-border disputes and contentious regulatory matters.  

When disputes arise, we have a formidable track record of delivering successful outcomes in the courts as well as in international arbitration and investment treaty arbitration.  

We have handled highly technical disputes relating to the development of mining infrastructure and mineral processing, commercial and investment litigation and arbitrations arising from construction arrangements, purchase and supply agreements, joint venture agreements, and other mining-related contracts and activities. 

The mining and metals industry unfortunately is not immune to the perils of fraud and corruption.  

We represent corporate and individual interests in government investigations, develop and implement global anti-corruption compliance programs, and monitor entities’ compliance programs pursuant to agreements entered into with governments. We also regularly conduct compliance reviews and internal investigations.  

Our extensive experience and insight into the mining and metals industry enable us to anticipate and address the needs and goals of our clients and to deliver solutions tailored to their needs. 

Representative matters

  • Allied Gold Corp on its USD1.2 billion reverse take-over of Mondavi Ventures Limited (now Allied Gold Corporation), and the USD267 million financing, and subsequent listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange.  
  • Allkem in connection with two limited recourse parallel project financings provided by IFC and IDB Invest to support the development of Allkem’s Sal de Vida lithium brine project in Catamarca, Argentina. The financing is IFC’s and IDB’s first investment in lithium mining and is the first time a greenfield mining project's financing has been structured as a green and sustainability-linked loan—creating a “Super Green” loan. (Shortlisted for Project Finance Deal of the Year, IFLR Americas, 2024).  
  • Anglo American on its combination with First Mode, a Seattle-based creative engineering company, and additional capital investment in the combined business (as well as various related commercial contracts). The partnership with First Mode is part of Anglo American’s larger global initiative called FutureSmart™ Mining that’s aimed at reducing its environmental footprint through the development of mining and data analytic technologies.  
  • Managem Group on the negotiation and execution of a supply agreement with Renault SAS, for Managem to supply Renault with sustainable cobalt sulfate, one of the essential materials for the construction of EV batteries. Through this partnership, Renault Group will ensure a significant supply for its EV battery supply chain. 
  • Subsidiaries of Fortescue Metals Group Limited, in respect of the defence of native title compensation proceedings commenced by the Yindjibarndi Ngurra Aboriginal Corporation concerning the Solomon Hub iron ore mine in the Pilbara, Western Australia. The matter is a landmark case in Australia regarding the assessment of compensation (for economic and cultural losses) to native title holders in the context of development of a mining project.  
  • The project company on all aspects of a multibillion-dollar integrated iron ore project in Mauritania. The project involves the development and project financing of the mine, processing plant, power production, water supply and railway and port capacity expansion. This project will ultimately be one of the largest mines and the first major project financing completed in the country. 
  • Orion Mine Finance on its acquisition and financing through Sweetwater Royalties of Occidental Petroleum Corporation’s Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah Land Grant assets for about USD1.33bn. These land grant assets are home to the world’s largest deposit of natural trona and hold over 100 years of trona reserves.  
  • The Republic of Panama in an international investment arbitration with First Quantum Minerals and Panamanian subsidiary Minera Panama under the Panama-Canada Free Trade Agreement regarding a copper mine concession.

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