A spectacular recovery in commodity prices has brought with it a reemergence of activity across the mining and metals industry.
Growth is now back on the agenda, particularly across base and precious metals, fertilisers and minerals feeding into the battery supply chain (lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper).
Battery metals are a hot topic, with surging demand predicted into 2020 and beyond–the result of the electric vehicle revolution and applications in grid storage. Manufacturers of battery cells and carmakers are scrambling to secure long-term supply of the necessary raw materials.
And with balance sheets of the majors and mid-caps largely repaired, the industry is poised to take advantage of the emerging opportunities.
But the “supercycle” has not returned.
Now, the focus is on true growth investments (portfolio upgrades, strategic acquisitions and prudent greenfield developments) and most by way of structured financings (project financings, royalty/stream financings, earn-ins, structured M&A, earn-outs and public M&A).
And every deal must be carefully structured and highly bespoke to the asset, commodity, geography and investors involved, to provide protection and flexibility through the volatile mining commodities cycle.
Industry customers and investors are also increasingly insisting on sustainable supply chain sourcing and transparency as a condition of transacting.
Meanwhile, uncertainty continues around the direction of China and the impacts of Trump and Brexit. And swings in resource nationalism, as well as environmental and shareholder activism, are all in motion.
An industry focused-approach
Our metals and mining lawyers work exclusively on deals in the mining and metals industry and have done for decades, at White & Case and in-house at major, mid-cap and junior mining companies.
We understand the twists and turns of the sector. We know and track those involved, the assets, the market trends and commodity fundamentals. And we understand the technical side of the business, the underlying chemistry and geology and how mining works operationally, from pit-to-port.
Our global mining and metals team is shaped and reshaped to meet the needs of the industry. This means we can advise clients on their activities at all points in the cycle and bring an industry-focused approach to each transaction.