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Mining disputes

2015 Litigation Trends Annual Survey Image


Meet the team

As a leading Canadian mining disputes practice, we have extensive knowledge of the sector and a thorough understanding of the issues faced by industry players, including major, mid-tier and junior mining companies, as well as prospectors and investors.

We deliver

  • Pre-eminent experience with the mining industry in Canada – Our mining disputes team works closely with our internationally recognized Canadian mining and resources group, providing us with valuable insight into the key issues faced by the sector.
  • Expertise in all forms of dispute resolution relevant to the mining sector – Mining companies and other industry players rely on our help to resolve all manner of high-risk, complex and sensitive mining disputes in court proceedings, administrative processes, and arbitrations. Our experience encompasses dispute-resolution regimes and investment treaties applicable to mining interests, including: protections in treaties and customary international law against expropriation without compensation; unfair, inequitable or discriminatory treatment; and denial of justice.
  • Extensive experience with mining disputes in Canada – These disputes can concern prospecting and staking activities, exploration, surveying, mining and surface rights (including permits and licences), assessment work, mine construction and operations, liens, mine and mining claims ownership, expropriations, NI 43-101 technical reports, assay salting, shareholder rights plans, aboriginal title and treaty claims, mining operations, proceeds from mining (including royalties), and closure and rehabilitation plans. They may be governed by legislation, regulation, investment treaties, joint-venture agreements, licensing agreements, mineral supply and processing contracts, or option agreements. In addition, our experience extends to disputes concerning ancillary contracts such as foreign-market credit agreements for mineral exports.
  • Global resources and a multijurisdictional team – Our Canadian mining disputes practice forms part of our global mining disputes team, which comprises lawyers drawn from our offices around the world who work closely with our award winning global mining group. Our extensive international breadth means we are one of the few international practices that can provide seamless multijurisdictional representation to mining clients, offering timely advice on local laws, regulations and procedures across the globe (including local laws on foreign investment). Our key areas of strength include international arbitration, regulations and investigations, business ethics and anti-corruption, and transnational litigation, all of which can significantly affect industry stakeholders. We understand the risks inherent in carrying out mining operations in difficult jurisdictions, including political risks.

Our areas of work include

  • civil proceedings, including transnational litigation, class actions and plans of arrangement
  • administrative processes, including proceedings before statutory tribunals (such as Ontario’s Mining and Lands Commissioner), disputes with regulators, and challenging expropriations and the granting or non-granting of mining claims, leases, permits and licences by governmental authorities
  • domestic arbitration
  • international arbitration, including investor-state arbitrations and commercial arbitrations

Rankings and accolades

  • Chambers Canada, Nationwide: Energy and Natural Resources: Mining, Chambers and Partners, 2018
  • Chambers Canada, Alberta: Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1), Chambers and Partners, 2018
  • Chambers Canada, Quebec: Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1), Chambers and Partners, 2018
  • Chambers Canada, Ontario: Litigation: General Commercial, Chambers and Partners, 2018
  • Chambers Canada, Nationwide: Litigation: General Commercial, Chambers and Partners, 2018
  • Chambers Canada, British Columbia: Litigation: General Commercial, Chambers and Partners, 2018
  • Legal 500, Canada: Alberta: Dispute Resolution (Tier 1), The Legal 500, 2018
  • Legal 500, Canada: Quebec: Dispute Resolution (Tier 1), The Legal 500, 2018
  • Legal 500, Canada: British Columbia: Dispute Resolution, The Legal 500, 2018
  • Legal 500, Canada: Ontario: Dispute Resolution, The Legal 500, 2018
  • Legal 500, Canada: Energy: Mining, The Legal 500, 2018
  • Chambers Global, Canada: Dispute Resolution, Chambers and Partners, 2018
  • Chambers Global, Canada: Energy and Natural Resources: Mining, Chambers and Partners, 2018
  • Chambers Canada, Nationwide: Litigation Firm of the Year, Chambers and Partners, 2017
  • GAR 30, Global Arbitration Review 100, 2017

Select client work

  • Civil litigation: obtaining dismissal of legal action seeking C$300 million regarding uranium deposits in Mongolia; obtaining discharge of liens registered against Ontario mining claims; obtaining trial judgment against surveyor for negligent surveying of mining claims; settling claims that arose after spillage of sodium cyanide near the border of Kyrgzstan and China; successfully defending prospector in claim concerning proceeds from staked claims
  • Mining and Lands Commissioner for Ontario: setting aside tribunal orders that had negatively affected an exploration company’s rights to mining claims; extending the time for assessment work on more than 100 staked mining claims related to a significant gold strike; intervening on behalf of a mining company in proceedings between prospectors regarding claim holdings
  • Governmental authorities: successfully opposing an application by a claim holder for an exploration permit from Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development and Mines; obtaining reversal of the Provincial Mining Recorder’s transfer of claim holdings; negotiating a resolution to an overlapping staking dispute in the Yukon involving numerous claims; acting for an exploration company with respect to the expropriation of a mineral claim in northwestern British Columbia
  • Technical reports: disputes regarding misrepresentation and sufficiency of disclosure, including securities class actions (ArcelorMittal S.A. and Baffinland; SNC-Lavalin)
  • Domestic arbitration: proceedings relating to the construction, modernization and operation of mines
  • International arbitration: joint venture, licensing and resource nationalism disputes with respect to mining interests in Latin America, Central Asia and Europe, including expropriation and deprivation through cancellation of mining licences
  • Securities proceedings: contesting “cease trade” orders sought by regulators in Ontario and Quebec with respect to shareholder rights plans of mining companies
  • Plans of arrangement: Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation, Yamana Gold Inc, Champion Iron Mines Limited, Tahera Diamond Corporation, Nuinsco Resources Limited
  • Aboriginal rights: claims regarding resource development in the provinces and territories, including defending the Iron Ore Co of Canada against legal action with respect to mining proceeds from minerals in Labrador and eastern Quebec
  • Workplace safety at mines, including class actions