The European law firm's flagship mining practice saw resilient deal activity in a turbulent year characterised by COVID-19 disruption and increased focus on sustainability.
Fieldfisher advised on mining and metals deals and disputes with a value in excess of US$2.7 billion in 2020 – two and a half times the value of deals it worked on in 2019.
For the mining and metals industry, 2020 was dominated by two main themes: COVID-19 and environmental, social and governance (ESG).
Having started the year with a burst of activity, including the listing of Gemfields Group in February – which at the time was the first mining company to be admitted to AIM in 12 months – the rapid spread of COVID-19 forced a lull in mining sector deals and disputes during 2Q20.
Activity picked up markedly towards the end of 2020 however, with a number of significant funding agreements, acquisitions and disposals and rescue deals.
Capital markets activity was particularly buoyant following a lacklustre 2019. Production-based financing transactions by some of the world's leading commodity traders also kept cash flowing through the industry, restoring confidence.
Fieldfisher's mining team closed out the year by acting for AIM and Stockholm-listed Beowulf Mining Plc on a key capital raising from investors in the UK and Sweden. The firm expects Nordic markets to play an increasingly prominent role in mining finance deals over the coming years.
The pandemic also sparked a surge in demand for 'green' and sustainability- linked loans and intensified investors' interest in the ESG performance of mining companies.
ESG due diligence became a defining aspect of many mining deals over the course of the year, while the EU's new Conflict Minerals Regulation has sparked fresh interest in raw material supply chains.
Head of Mining and Metals, Jonathan Brooks, said: "We are especially proud of our performance in what proved to be an unpredictable yet surprisingly active year for the mining and metals sector.
"The value, variety and quality of matters we advised on all grew in 2020, and we continued to expand the size and geographical footprint of our client base, although sadly networking was significantly curtailed for much of last year.
"Securing funding continues to be a high hurdle for early stage mining companies – a trend we revisit in the third edition of our enduringly popular Alternative financing for mining: New horizons report, published in December.
"We look forward to another interesting and successful year in 2021."
Read the article online at: https://www.globalminingreview.com/finance-business/20012021/fieldfisher-advises-on-us27-billion-worth-of-mining-deals-in-2020/