Lexpert Magazine quotes Toronto lawyer, John Turner, in an article on Canadian law firms being in high demand for mega-global mining projects.
You can plan a project and asses the risks pro-actively and thoroughly, but you can’t always catch everything, especially when the client is working in a politically volatile jurisdiction, as many mining companies do. It’s the kind of thing that keeps John Turner, leader of the Global Mining Group at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, up at night.
Worst-case scenario? “There’s always the risk your client’s going to lose the project entirely,” he says. “Once you’re in the process of building a mine you can’t pick it up and move it if you have a dispute with the government, and it’s always possible you can have it confiscated.”
Turner has been through it. He was acting for Vancouver-based First Quantum Minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2011 when the government expropriated and nationalized First Quantum’s largest operating copper mine in the country, accusing the company of contract violations. The violation? “The date on a licence was one day off,” Turner says.