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 Gowling WLG's Toronto office and is co-lead of the firm's Africa Group.  

Her practice focuses on commercial transactions in emerging markets (including M&A, joint ventures, development agreements and strategic alliances) and project finance. Her experience ranges across a number of sectors including infrastructure (power), resources (mining) and agriculture.

Avril also provides legal and strategic advice on all aspects of project development and has negotiated complex development agreements and fiscal incentive arrangements with emerging market governments on behalf of mining and energy companies.  

Avril has also advised governments on developing extractive industry legislative frameworks and the drafting of related legislation.

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 was also a non-executive director of TSX-V listed Golden Valley Mines between 2015 and 2017.

Avril regularly speaks at conferences and has made numerous presentations to clients and industry groups all over the world on various legislative developments affecting the mining sector. She has written numerous articles and is frequently quoted in the press on issues relating to the mining industry particularly in emerging markets. 

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:

  • Participated in a panel on de-risking trans-boundary infrastructure projects hosted by NEPAD, Sandton, Johannesburg, August, 2017
  • Participated in a panel on illicit financial flows and the impact of the new OECD guidelines on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting on the mining sector hosted by the African Union and the African Minerals Development Centre, Mining Indaba, Cape Town, February, 2017
  • “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

  • Advising developers and sponsors on commercial and project finance transactions in respect of power projects in West Africa.
  • 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.