Mining

Our Mining team has deep experience across all aspects of mining projects, including acquisitions and disposals, project financing and development, mining and environmental approvals, offtake, construction, procurement, regulation, operations and corporate social responsibility. 

Our Approach

We advise both Australian and International listed and private companies involved in resource exploration, development, mine closure, remediation and mining. 

We have a detailed understanding of the mining sector and the inter-relationship between resource projects, infrastructure, tenure, logistics and financing requirements (both equity and debt). 

The team provides specialist legal advice on all aspects of project and construction law from the inception of a project through to completion.  We advise on contract drafting and negotiation of all forms of contracts including the Australian and International Standards for contractors and principals as well as consultant agreements.

Our experience includes advising on base metals, bauxite, coal, copper, diamonds, graphite, gold, iron ore, mineral sands, niobium, nickel, platinum, rare earths, tantalum, uranium, pearls and salt. We also have extensive experience in coal bed methane, gas and other hydrocarbons. In particular, our expertise covers projects in foreign jurisdictions, particularly Africa.

Our services include:

  • Mining legislation and regulation advice, liaising with government, regulators and other stakeholders and drafting agreements between project sponsors and the State.
  • Developing and negotiating enabling legislation, State Agreements and other legal mechanisms to support the development of large and small mining operations and related infrastructure.
  • Land access, native title and Aboriginal heritage issues affecting resource projects and negotiating with native title parties and other stakeholders.
  • Developing and reviewing tenure solutions and approval programs for large and small-scale resources projects.
  • Warden’s court matters, including objections to tenement applications and other disputes and occupational health and safety regulations.
  • Negotiation and documentation of farm-in agreements, joint venture agreements, sale and purchase agreements, option agreements, royalty agreements, mineral sharing agreements, compensation agreements and toll treatment agreements.
  • All aspects of mine development, including engineering, procurement and construction contracts and off-take contracts.
  • Infrastructure solutions for development projects including roads, airports, power, rail and port arrangements.
  • Financing and hedging facilities.
  • All aspects of M&A involving mining and resource assets, including public company takeovers and schemes, private acquisitions and disposals, due diligence and regulatory approvals (including Foreign Investment Review Board applications).
     

Our experience includes advising:

  • Mineral Resources Limited in relation to the original $1.15b sale of a 50% interest in the Wodgina lithium project to Albemarle Corporation which was later amended to the sale of a 60% interest in the Wodgina lithium project for a cash payment of US$820m and the transfer of a 40% interest in Albemarle’s Kemerton Hydroxide Plant (Trains 1&2) to Mineral Resources.
  • Whitehaven Coal Limited in relation to its bid for the Queensland coal assets of Rio Tinto, and its acquisition of the Winchester South project from Rio Tinto.
  • Todd Corporation on the development of a $6+ billion greenfield iron ore mine, rail and port project in the central Pilbara region of Western Australia.
  • Yancoal Australia’s Independent Board Committee (“IBC”) on the company’s US$2.45 billion ($3.27 billion) acquisition of Coal & Allied Industries from Rio Tinto and the related capital raising.
  • Talison Lithium, on a major contractual dispute relating to its mining operations at Greenbushes, the world’s biggest lithium mine.
  • Al Rawda Resources Limited in relation to its then proposed purchase of the Askaf Project in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and an iron ore project in the Republic of Guinea.
  • Iluka Resources Limited in relation to the acquisition of the Puttalam Mineral Sands Project in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and its engagement with the Sri Lankan government relating to the development of the project.
  • Gold Fields Australia Pty Ltd in relation to the acquisition of a 50% interest in the Gruyere gold project from Gold Road Resources Limited and related joint venture and royalty arrangements and the subsequent restructuring of these arrangements.
  • OZ Minerals Limited in relation to a farm-in and joint venture arrangement with a subsidiary of Cassini Resources Limited in respect of the West Musgrave project, Western Australia.

Michael Blakiston is ranked as Band 1 and states that he is highly regarded in the market for capital markets and joint venture transactions as well as his experience in handling mining projects across the world, particularly in Africa.

Chambers Asia Pacific Guide 2019