- Mining & Metals
Mining & Metals
As the mining and metals industry strives to satisfy unprecedented demand, it also continues to confront a number of challenges, including heavy regulatory diligence in most regions of the world, differing demands from a rapidly expanding base of stakeholders, antitrust, and national security issues, health, safety, and environmental issues, including ESG risks and considerations. The World Bank estimates that over 3 billion tons of minerals and metals will be needed to deploy sufficient renewable power and energy storage technologies to keep the rise in mean global temperatures in compliance with climate change goals outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Our lawyers combine deep experience in the mining and metals industry with experience across the energy transition spectrum to assist clients in climate-smart mining matters for critical minerals and metals such as lithium, copper and cobalt, that are essential for a low carbon future.
Our lawyers are also familiar and have experience working with the IFC’s Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability, the World Bank’s EHS guidelines, the Equator Principles, the OECD’s Common Approaches for Officially Supported Export Credits and Environmental and Social Due Diligence and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in relation to the development and financing of projects in the mining industry.
With more than 400 lawyers advising regularly on natural resource-related matters, Vinson & Elkins has developed distinctive capabilities to assist mining and metals industry participants to meet their unique business challenges. We provide clients with advice related to a full spectrum of complex mining and metals transactions, including joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions, project development and finance, environmental, antitrust, tax, regulatory issues, and dispute resolution (including cross-border litigation).
V&E possesses extensive experience across the energy industry value chain in nearly every energy-producing region in the world. We have significant English law capabilities, including dual-qualified lawyers who advise on both English and U.S. legal matters. Our clients in the mining and metals sector have included energy and mining companies, state-owned companies, private equity investors, and project sponsors.
 World Bank Group (2020), Minerals for Climate Action: The Mineral Intensity of the Clean Energy Transition, World Bank, Washington, DC
Transactions & Projects
ioneer Ltd. in the formation of a 50/50 joint venture with Sibanye Stillwater to develop the flagship Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project located in Nevada and related development and financing matters
An AI-powered mineral exploration company in its preferred stock investments from Equinor Ventures, Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz
Ramaco Resources, Inc. in its $81 million initial public offering of common stock
Underwriters to Smart Sand, Inc. in its $148 million initial public offering of common stock
Natural Resource Partners in the $310 million acquisition, and related debt and equity financing, of interests in OCI Wyoming, a producer of soda ash, and operator of a trona ore mining operation and a soda ash refinery in Wyoming, from subsidiaries of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation
Quintana Energy Partners in the $127 million combination of its portfolio company, Kopper Glo, a TN-based coal producer, with affiliates of Corsa Coal Corp., a Canadian publicly traded coal company, and the acquisition by Quintana of control of Corsa Coal Corp., parent company after the combination
A large international mining company in connection with the proposed development and financing of a multibillion dollar integrated iron ore and rail project in west Africa
Mubadala Development Company in the $18 billion development and construction aspects of an aluminum smelter (EMAL Aluminium Smelter Project at Al Taweelah in Abu Dhabi); the world’s largest greenfield aluminum smelter
Underwriters to CNX Coal Resources LP in its $83 million initial public offering of common units
Black Stone Minerals, L.P., a mineral interest MLP, in its $428 million initial public offering of common units
Foresight Energy LP in its $350 million initial public offering of common units
FMSA Holdings Inc. in its $400 million initial public offering of common stock by a selling stockholder
(11th Cir.); (M.D. Fla.); (Bankr. M.D. Fla.); (D.D.C.) – Defended District Court litigation brought by two United Mine Workers of America funds that sought to recover Coal Act liabilities by reopening decades old bankruptcy case to argue that all Coal Act liabilities had previously been discharged; on appeal to Eleventh Circuit, obtained favorable ruling that all Coal Act liabilities had been discharged in prior bankruptcy
Defending a start-up mining company in citizen suit enforcement litigation brought under the Clean Water Act by a local tribal government claiming violations during the mine’s on-going pre-development phase and advising with respect to government agency environmental review and permitting
Represented a mining company in connection with the EPA’s proposed financial assurance rule for hardrock mining, submitting extensive comments touching on legal, technical, and economic issues, and successfully defended the EPA’s decision not to promulgate financial-responsibility regulations for the hardrock mining industry under CERCLA
Represented a steel service center in an antitrust case alleging violations of Section 1 of the Sherman Act
Obtained favorable settlement on behalf of Hi-Crush Partners, L.P., its directors, and certain of its affiliates in federal securities class action lawsuit alleging violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act and Section 11 of the Securities Act arising from initial public offering; obtained dismissal in related derivative litigation in Texas state court
Representing 12 of the largest shippers asserting claims against the four major railroads in In re Rail Freight Fuel Surcharge Antitrust Litigation; these shippers include large electric utility companies, steel companies, and fertilizer companies
Favorably settled litigation with a county appraisal district over the value of a major generator’s coal-fired power plant
Representing a major international mining company in a class action case arising from a smelter, located near a small Oklahoma community, that operated for almost 60 years; involves allegations of soil and groundwater contamination and claims of nuisance, trespass, and strict liability; remedies sought include damages to real property and injunctive relief in the form of additional environmental cleanup
Represented a client in a mediation process with the United States that resulted in a settlement where the federal government agreed to accept a greater than 50% share of the costs to clean up historic mining sites in the Southwestern U.S in light of potential CERCLA claims that could have been asserted by the client
Represented a major industrial facility in developing a compliance strategy to address the requirements of EPA’s reginal haze regulations and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for sulfur dioxide; this engagement involved commenting on proposed EPA regulations, advising the client regarding compliance and air modeling issues, and appellate litigation challenging certain regulatory actions
Advised a metal technology company in MSHA investigations into serious injuries related to an accident