Resurgence of commodities activity for Gowling WLG Natural Resources team

08 June 2016

The commodities sector is seeing a resurgence of activity despite tough market conditions, according to Gowling WLG's Natural Resources team.

The team, renowned for its wealth of mining expertise and leading AIM position, has been active on a number of significant deals this spring for clients operating in the mining and oil & gas sectors.

Charles Bond, partner and head of natural resources at the firm, led on many of the deals.

Charles said: "It remains a challenging time for many of our clients, but we believe this surge of activity reflects a turn in market for commodities, as does the fact that just yesterday many share prices in the mining sector and commodities staged a rally.

"We're particularly impressed by our clients who have managed to complete these transactions in a difficult market environment and are delighted to have played our part. We're expecting to see more and more deals completing as the industry works towards a recovery."

Partner David Ponsford added: "We’re also witnessing an increasing appetite for alternative financing structures, as our work with new client Sandown Bay Resource Capital Partners on its silver streaming arrangement evidences. This form of mining finance is relatively new in the UK."

The team working on these deals included partners Charles Bond, David Ponsford and Dominic Prentis, principal associate Susan Johnston, senior associates Samantha Myers and Tom Stockley and associate Stephen Bowman.

  • Aim-quoted Hummingbird Resources plc: advised Hummingbird, the West African gold company, on its $67 million equity fundraise for the construction of its Yanfolia Gold Project in Mali. Hummingbird is now in a position to bring Yanfolila, one of the highest margin undeveloped gold projects in Africa, to production.
  • Bushveld Minerals Limited: advised Bushveld, a diversified mineral development company with a portfolio of vanadium, titanium, iron ore, tin and coal assets in Africa on its conditional acquisition from Evraz Group SA of a majority stake in Strategic Minerals Corporation and its subsequent equity fundraise and strategic partnership with Yellow Dragon to fund part of the purchase price.
  • Cantor Fitzgerald Europe: advised investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald Europe as broker and nominated adviser to DekelOil Public Limited on its c.£11 million fundraising to finance the acquisition of a 30.5% stake in CS DekelOil Siva Limited. The acquisition increases DekelOil's interest in the Ayenouan palm oil project in Cote D'Ivoire to 81.5%.
  • TSXV-listed Mkango Resources Ltd: worked with Mkango, an exploration and development company focussed on rare earth elements and associated minerals in the Republic of Malawi, on its proposed admission to AIM and associated placing.
  • Galena Special Situations Fund: advised on Galena's proposed restructuring of Western Union Mined Ltd, which owns the South Crofty tin mine in Cornwall, and its acquisition by Canadian-listed Strongbow Exploration Inc.
  • Peak South Trading Limited: advised on Peak South's acquisition of the Kazakh oil and gas assets of formerly AIM-quoted Max Petroleum plc out of administration.
  • Sandown Bay Resource Capital Partners LLP: advised new client Sandown on a silver streaming arrangement with Shanta Gold Limited. This form of mining finance has not been used widely in the UK previously and indicates the increasing appetite for alternative financing structures in this sector.
  • Sister Holdings SAS: advised the Francophone sellers of the Tilapia hydrocarbons asset held in Petro Kouilou in the Republic of Congo to AIM-quoted Namibian Resources plc (to be re-named Anglo African Oil & Gas plc).

Gowling WLG's Natural Resources team has a wide range of experience acting for companies and intermediaries in all areas of the extractive industries, especially in corporate finance and equity capital markets where it is recognised as one of the leading natural resources IPO practices in the UK.


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