Fieldfisher advised on mining and metals deals and disputes with a value in excess of US$2.7 billion in 2020 – two and a half times the value of deals it worked on in 2019.
For the mining and metals industry, 2020 was dominated by two main themes: COVID-19 and ESG.
Having started the year with a burst of activity, including the listing of Gemfields Group in February – which at the time was the first mining company to be admitted to AIM in 12 months – the rapid spread of COVID-19 forced a lull in mining sector deals and disputes during the second quarter.
Activity picked up markedly towards the end of 2020 however, with a number of significant funding agreements, acquisitions and disposals and rescue deals.
Fieldfisher's mining team closed out the year by acting for AIM and Stockholm-listed Beowulf Mining Plc on a key capital raising from investors in the UK and Sweden.
The pandemic also sparked a surge in demand for 'green' and sustainability- linked loans and intensified investors' interest in the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of mining companies.
ESG due diligence became a defining aspect of many mining deals over the course of the year, while the EU's new Conflict Minerals Regulation has sparked fresh interest in raw material supply chains.
Commenting on the firm's performance, Fieldfisher's Head of Mining and Metals Jonathan Brooks, said:
"We are especially proud of our performance in what proved to be an unpredictable yet surprisingly active year for the mining and metals sector.
"The value, variety and quality of matters we advised on all grew in 2020, and we continued to expand the size and geographical footprint of our client base, although sadly networking was significantly curtailed for much of last year.
"Securing funding continues to be a high hurdle for early stage mining companies – a trend we revisit in the third edition of our enduringly popular Alternative financing for mining: New horizons report, published in December.
"We look forward to another interesting and successful year in 2021."
For further details, download a copy of the mining and metals team's 2020 highlights.
Fieldfisher is a European law firm with market leading practices in many of the world's most dynamic sectors.
We are an exciting, forward-thinking organisation with a particular focus on energy & natural resources, technology, finance & financial services, life sciences and media.
Our international mining and metals team includes experts in commercial, M&A, finance, restructuring, construction, tax and dispute resolution matters. Our knowledge and practical experience of the sector enables us to assist clients in a variety of complex transactions. Our specialists advise on issues including licensing and permitting; concession arrangements and mine development agreements; joint ventures; acquisitions, disposals, mergers and takeovers; tax and structuring.
We also advise on equity financing, debt, project and structured financing, as well as alternative financing; supplier, contractor, construction and engineering agreements; and dispute resolution including international arbitration and treaty disputes.
Our network has more than 1,550 people working across 25 offices providing highly commercial advice based on an in-depth understanding of our clients' needs.
We operate across our offices in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Beijing, Belfast, Birmingham, Bologna, Brussels, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Guangzhou, Hamburg, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Paris, Rome, Shanghai, Turin, Venice and Silicon Valley.
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