Mining, environmental & resources lawyers will attest to the fact that few industries have changed as dramatically as South Africa’s mining, environmental and resources sector

Mining & Resources

Once dominated by a handful of private mining companies, the sector has seen private ownership of mineral rights converted to state custodianship, a new-order licensing regime and black economic empowerment obligations imposed on local and foreign players. The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002 (MPRDA) that came into effect on 1 May 2004 has necessitated fundamental changes in the way mining companies operate in relation to ownership structures and the acquisition of rights to prospect and mine.

Client-focused specialists applying a best-practice approach

The evolving regulatory landscape (including the Mining Charter, as amended, and the Codes of Good Practice for the Mineral Industry) has led to a growing number of administrative disputes over the granting of prospecting and mining rights. In addition, mining companies are subject to increasingly stringent environmental regulation, particularly around waste management and rehabilitation of the surface of the earth disturbed during prospecting and mining.

With a well-established international network, our mining & resources lawyers come with extensive experience in structuring mining transactions to meet legislative and regulatory requirements, including the impact of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Royalty Act. Mining clients include North American, European and Australian companies, as well as some of the major South African mining houses and empowerment mining companies. Our services include advising on the MPRDA, Mining Charter and Codes of Good Practice; black economic empowerment legislation and regulation; mergers & acquisitions; environmental law (including waste management); mine health and safety; Joint Venture and Pooling and Sharing agreements; mining and prospecting statutory and regulatory compliance; and processing and off-take agreements. We also advise on matters in the mining and energy sector relating to banking and finance; litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution; internal appeals; and due diligence exercises.

Environmental law

There is a growing emphasis on corporate governance requirements in the shape of triple-bottom line reporting; partly due to the country’s changing legal and regulatory landscape.

A good environmental lawyer knows this. A great environmental lawyer uses this information to fully assimilate the extent to which environmental considerations affect the operations of businesses across the economy; from agriculture and construction to energy, mining, manufacturing, property development, tourism and transportation.

All this is reflected in the comprehensive range of environmental law issues we advise on, including land claims, mining rights, environmental compliance, regulation, waste and hazardous substance emissions and legal controls. A versatile and highly responsive team of experts, our environmental lawyers tactfully address advisory, regulatory, compliance, contractual and transactional issues, as well as resolve and avoid potential disputes or litigate when disputes arise.

Expertise that comes naturally

The team collaborates and assist local and international companies in understanding the impact of their development projects on all aspects of the environment to the cultural heritage of affected communities. Our environmental lawyers have also acted for tribal authorities and previously disadvantaged communities to resolve land claims and implement land restitution settlement agreements.

Environmental law is still an emerging discipline in South Africa, but our lawyers readily share their expertise by convening seminars and workshops on environmental law, the legal implications for the mining industry, and the effects of environmental law on consumer rights.

Our services include advising on regulatory and compliance issues; contractual and transactional issues; litigation and dispute resolution; waste and hazardous substance emission and control; and restitution of land rights.

Click here to read the South Africa chapter of The International Comparative Legal Guide to Mining Law 2016 Edition – 4th Edition, authored by director Chris Stevens.

Click here to read Chapter 1 of  The International Legal Guide to Mining Law 2014 Edition – 1st  Edition, authored by director Chris Stevens, entitled “Developing Resource Nationalism: A South African and Southern African Perspective.”

Click here to read the South Africa chapter of The International Legal Guide to Mining Law 2014 Edition – 1st Edition, authored by director Chris Stevens.