Avril Cole Partner Co-Lead, Africa Desk

Speaks:  English

Year of Call: 2006 - Ontario

Year of Call: 2004 - New York

Primary phone: +1 416-369-4605

Fax: +1 416-862-7661

Email: avril.cole@gowlingwlg.com

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Primary office:  Toronto

Secondary office  London

Areas of expertise:

Avril Cole

Avril Cole is a partner in the Mining and Energy Groups of Gowling WLG and is co-lead of the firm’s Africa Group. She specializes in advising Canadian and international clients on commercial transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions, divestitures and financings, with a focus on the natural resource sector. Avril has represented public and private entities, including private equity funds.

She also provides legal and strategic advice on all aspects of project development and related commercial mining agreements. Her problem-solving and mediation skills are often sought by industry for contract negotiations with governments and other regulatory authorities, particularly in Africa.

Avril also handles due diligence assignments for clients, including country risk assessments, for prospective acquisition and financing transactions.

Avril combines technical expertise with extensive international experience in order to provide clients with valuable insight into the cultural and legal complexities of doing business in emerging markets. She is frequently asked by the media to comment on developments affecting the mining sector, and is a regular writer and speaker on issues relating to the mining industry in Africa.

Avril has been the chair of the board of directors of the Canada-Africa Chamber of Business since 2016 and volunteers with the Italian medical non-governmental organization Emergency/Venti.

Avril also serves on the board of Golden Valley Mines (TSX-V).


Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:
  • 2018

  • 2006

    • Qualifications (Year of Call/Admission, etc.)
      Year of Call, Ontario
  • 2005

    • Education
      University of Toronto, NCA
  • 2004

    • Qualifications (Year of Call/Admission, etc.)
      Year of Call, New York
  • 2002

    • Education
      University of Wolverhampton, LLB (Hons.)
  • 1998

    • Education
      Dalhousie University, BA

Representative Articles:

  • “Negotiating Development Agreements in Tough Times for the Mining Industry,” Canadian Mining Journal, August 2013
  • A Commentary on IFC Performance Standard Five — Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement, IFC Performance Standards on Environmental & Social Sustainability: A Guidebook, published by Lexis Nexis, October 2012
  • “Recent Developments In the Regulation of the Mining Industry in South Africa,” The International Resource Journal, January 2011
  • “The Canadian Securities Administrators Publish Proposed Changes to National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects; Recent Legal Developments in the Regulation of the Mining Sector in Some West African States,” (co-author), The African Business Journal, August 2010

Selected Presentations:

  • “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Mining Investment Agreements During Difficult Economic Times,” 15th Annual Mining Breakfast, Canada-Southern Africa Chamber of Business (Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada Conference), Toronto, March, 2014
  • CSR and Effective Risk Mitigation During Challenging Economic Times for the Mining Industry: A Legal Perspective, Canada-Southern Africa Chamber of Business, London, England and Toronto, Canada, October 2013
  • “Understanding the Impact of Recent Developments in Canadian Mining Law,” Global Mining Finance & Law Conference, the Canadian Institute, Vancouver, B.C., May 2012
  • “International CSR Standards: Benchmarks for Due Diligence and Risk Minimization in Emerging Market Resource Transactions” (co-presenter with Madeleine Donahue), Mining Law & Regulation: An Examination of Contemporary Issues & Emerging Trends, The Commons Institute, Toronto, February 2012
  • "Debt and equity financing solutions for mineral projects in Africa," Sierra Leone Investment Conference: Working in Partnership, The Daily Telegraph, London, England, October 2011

Selected Media appearances:

  • “Operating in Emerging Markets,” Lexpert, April 2013
  • “Adopting CSR Standards 'helps companies reduce risk of failure',” Environmental Leader, April 18, 2012
  • “Adopting Corporate Responsibility Standards (CSR) can help reduce a company's political risk in emerging economies,” Canadian Underwriter, April 12, 2012
  • “Global miners to stay in the game despite rule changes,” Reuters, The Guardian (U.K.), The Vancouver Sun, March 9, 2012
  • "Legal: Recent developments in the regulation of the mining industry in South Africa," The African Business Journal, January 2011
  • Quoted in Canadian Institute of Mining Magazine, “The Safety Factor: Mining Companies Venturing into West Africa,” May 2011
  • Quoted in Canadian Institute of Mining Magazine, “Towards a Common Goal: Resource Development Critical to a New Era in West Africa,” May 2011
  • "Sino-Symbiosis: Entering a new era of Chinese-African relations," The African Business Journal, June 2010

Insights & Resources

  • Negotiating on behalf of a public company a complex mine development agreement, including a comprehensive fiscal package, with an African government.
  • Acting for a private mining company with respect to its exploration activities and obtaining a large-scale mining lease in a West African jurisdiction.
  • Acting for a public company with respect to a multi-jurisdictional corporate reorganization to streamline its corporate structure following several M&A transactions and the subsequent acquisition by another public corporation.
  • Assisting a public company on a “three-cornered” merger.
  • Assisting a public company with respect to various public market matters, including a public offering of common shares, which raised C$100 million for the construction of a mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Acting for a TSX-V listed company with respect to a joint venture arrangement involving properties in Ethiopia.