Practice Areas & Industries: Mayer Brown LLP

 





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Practice/Industry Group Overview

The African continent provides a wealth of opportunities both to clients seeking to expand their operations and to new entrants to these countries. Our Africa practice supports clients with an interest in African jurisdictions and has proven experience in addressing and resolving issues as they arise. We have a comprehensive track record in African common and civil law jurisdictions, complemented by unrivalled strength in capital markets and international trade, with particular strength in project finance and the mining industry.

Our association with Tauil & Chequer Advogados (T&C), a Brazilian law firm with offices in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Vitória, substantially increases the resources available to clients in relation to investments in Africa, notably Angola, where many of T&C’s clients are active.

We are able to support clients in all aspects of their projects and operations in Africa, offering:

  • A dedicated, internationally qualified team with experience of working on a range of matters in Francophone, Anglophone and other jurisdictions;
     
  • The firm’s fully integrated skills in key areas such as project finance, international arbitration, interna¬tional banking, mining, oil and gas, telecoms and infrastructure;
     
  • Comprehensive experience in pre-privatization sector reviews and feasibility studies, together with Official Lender transactional and advisory experience;
     
  • Tried and tested project manage¬ment skills to ensure that both on-site and remote support on African projects is delivered effectively; and
     
  • Close relations with local counsel throughout the continent.

Experience

Botswana

  • We represented Discovery Metals as project sponsor in connection with the $180 million debt financing of its greenfield copper project.

Burkina Faso

  • We represented Goldbelt Resources (now Avocet Mining) on the financing and construction of the $128 million Inata gold mine in Burkina Faso.
  • We represented Goldbelt Resources on its takeover by Avocet Mining.
  • We represented a client in a construction & engineering mining dispute relating to time overrun and delay with a construction contractor.

Central African Republic

  • We represented a project sponsor in connection with the project financing of a gold mine in the Central African Republic.

Congo-Brazzaville

  • We represented a Swiss offtaker on the first project financing and offtake agreement in Congo-Brazzaville for the Kouilou Potash Project, a proposed $412 million development.

Egypt

  • We represented the Export-Import Bank of the United States on the $229.8 million financing of an anhydrous ammonia project being developed by Egypt Basic Industries Corporation. The transaction was Ex-Im Bank's first limited recourse project financing in Egypt.

Eritrea

  • We represented Nevsun Resources on the development and financing for a $300 million gold/copper/zinc/silver deposit.

Equatorial Guinea

  • We represented a US company in connection with a private port to be built in a Free Trade Zone under a government concession from the Government of Equatorial Guinea with facilities to include oil storage and transfer facilities, container, bulk liquids handling facilities, airfield and runway for air cargo operations and related facilities.

Gambia

  • We are representing the Government of Gambia on an ICSID arbitration.

Ghana

  • We are representing a large telecom tower operator in connection with a loan facility for development of mobile phone infrastructure.
  • We represented the arrangers on the financing of the Wassa, Bibiani, Tarkwa and Wassa gold mines.

Guinea

  • We represented the lenders on a project finance facility for the development of a bauxite mine.
  • We represented a client in connection with a trust agreement and documents for a mining project.

Kenya

  • We represented Tiomin Resources Inc in connection with its $201 million mineral sands project for extraction of titanium and zircon in Kenya. At the time of financing this was the largest foreign direct investment ever into Kenya and Kenya's first major mining operation.

Mali

  • We represented the arrangers of a $60 million debt financing for the development of the Loulo gold mine.
  • We represented the arrangers of a $90 million debt financing for the development of the Morila gold mine.

Malawi

  • We represented the lenders on a project finance facility for the development of a uranium mine.

Mauritania

  • We represented several companies in relation to financings and joint ventures in iron ore projects in Mauritania.
  • We represented Xstrata on its takeover of Sphere Minerals.

Namibia

  • We represented Namibia Copper Mines, Inc., in connection with the development and financing of the $490 million Haib copper mine. The "Haib" was the first new major mining project in Namibia since its independence in 1990.

Nigeria

  • We represented the lead book-runner on the $175 million issuance of subordinated Tier II debt by First Bank of Nigeria PLC, the country’s largest bank. This was a first-of-its-kind transaction.
  • We represented Merrill Lynch International as initial lender and facility agent in two $100 million loans to the Nigerian company O and O Plc, one guaranteed by Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and the other guaranteed by Zenith Bank Plc.
  • Acting for a multi-national power generation company on proposed contracts for three combined heat and power (CHP) plants.

South Africa

  • Advising one of the largest steel producers in the world on a major arbitration in relation to its mineral rights.
  • We represented a large multinational consumer goods company on the restructuring of its businesses and joint venture arrangements in South Africa.
  • We represented a bank group in the debt acquisition financing for a mining company.

Tanzania

  • We are representing a large telecom tower operator in connection with a loan facility for development of mobile phone infrastructure.
  • We represented the arrangers in connection with the refinancing of the Golden Pride gold mine project financing in Tanzania.
  • We represented the project sponsor on the terms of engagement for engineers to undertake a Bankable Feasibility Study for a nickel mine development (JORC resource of 99m tonnes) using atmospheric leaching technology and with an estimated NPV of $995m.
  • We represented an African government in respect of an ICC arbitration relating to mineral rights.

Zambia

  • We represented the senior lenders, Barclays and European Investment Bank on the $60 million senior debt facility for the development, construction costs and working capital for the Munali nickel mine in Zambia.

Zambia , DRC and Mauritania

  • We represented the mandated lead arrangers, Standard Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, BNP Paribas, Fortis Bank and Bayerische Hypo- und Vereinsbank AG in connection with a $400 million five year facility to First Quantum Minerals Ltd., relating to the refinancing and development of copper and gold mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Zambia and Mauritania.

Zimbabwe

  • We represented the mandated lead arranger on the proposed project financing of a platinum project in Zimbabwe.