In August, a period normally associated with less activity within law firms generally, Milbank’s London office acted on two major African mining deals within two weeks.
Lumwana, Equinox Minerals’ copper mine in Zambia, reached financial close on 14th August and Ambatovy, one of the world’s largest mining deals, signed on 22nd August.
Phillip Fletcher, a partner in the London office stated “These two projects have done much to confirm Milbank’s traditional strength as lenders counsel in complex mining projects in the emerging markets.”
Ambatovy to be One of the largest Independent Nickel Projects in the World
LONDON, 22 August 2007 – International law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has advised the lenders on the Ambatovy nickel, cobalt and ammonium sulphate project. The project is the first large-scale project in Madagascar, one of the largest project financings ever undertaken in Sub-Saharan Africa and one of the largest project financings ever undertaken in the mining sector globally.
The deal signed in the middle of August with five agency lenders, eight commercial banks and four sponsors. The lending agencies include the African Development Bank (AfDB), European Investment Bank (EIB), Export Development Canada (EDC), The Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) is acting as facility agent for the JBIC and KEXIM tranches and The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd (BTMU) is acting as administrative agent for all of the lenders.
The Project will be one of the largest nickel projects in the world, with a designed annual capacity of 60,000 tonnes of nickel metal, 5,600 tonnes of cobalt and approximately 190,000 tonnes of ammonium sulphate. Commercial production is expected to begin in the 1st quarter 2010. The capital cost for the project is estimated total US$3.3 billion, with financing of US$2.1 billion.
The Milbank team was led by London-based partners Phill Fletcher and Cathy Marsh, European of counsel Patrick Holmes and associates Axel Acakpo-Satchivi, Kinnari Bhatt, Barry Burland, Ben Farnsworth, Asha Ghedia, Richard Keenan, James Orme, Alison Smith and Madeleine Welham. The team also encompassed Tokyo-based partner Gary Wigmore and associate Takesh Nakayama and Hong Kong-based partner Young Joon Kim. Local legal advice on the transaction was provided to the lenders by Madagascar Conseil International.
N M Rothschild & Sons Limited acted as financial adviser to the sponsors and legal advice was provided to the sponsors by Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.
Lumwana Copper Project in Zambia to be One of the Largest Copper Mines in Africa
LONDON, 14 August 2007 –The international law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP acted as international legal advisor to the lenders on both the project financing and the equipment financing for Equinox Minerals’ US$1 billion copper mine in Lumwana, Zambia.
Lumwana is one of the largest copper projects anywhere in the world currently advancing towards production and among the largest project financed mining deals in Africa to date.
The deal included an amalgam of 12 different credit facilities aggregating US$583 million. The facilities are being provided by a syndicate of European, African and Australian commercial lenders, development banks and export credit agencies.
The commercial bank tranche was jointly arranged and underwritten by Standard Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.
The export credit agencies include Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) of South Africa, Euler Hermes Kreditversicherungs-AG (Hermes) of Germany and the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) of Australia.
The development finance institution (DFI) tranches are being provided by the African Development Bank (AfDB), DEG-Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG), the European Investment Bank (EIB), Nederlandse Financierings-Maatshappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V. (FMO) and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID).
A subordinated debt facility was provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Asset-backed finance for the mining equipment fleet is being provided by Fortis Bank S.A/N.V. in conjunction with Export Development Canada (EDC) and by Caterpillar Financial Services (UK) Limited.
The sponsors were advised by Norton Rose.
Milbank’s Project Finance Team has recently won the ‘Chambers 2006 – Global Project & Energy Law Firm of the Year’. Milbank was also recently recognised as the ‘European, Middle East and Africa Project Finance Team of the Year’ by the International Financial Law Review. Milbank has been designated as among the 1st Tier of project finance practices in London and globally by Chambers & Partners Directory.
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP is a preeminent global law firm that for more than 140 years has provided innovative legal solutions in many of the world’s largest, most complex, “first-ever” corporate transactions and litigation. Our transactional expertise includes capital markets, corporate finance and transactions, project finance, acquisition finance, and other major fields of law practice. Milbank litigation teams resolve disputes involving mergers and acquisitions, proxy battles, financings and securities offerings, intellectual property, white collar crime, and corporate restructurings, among others. Our clients range from prominent multinational financial, industrial and commercial enterprises to governments, institutions and individuals. The Firm is headquartered in New York, with offices in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, London, Frankfurt, Munich, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore and Beijing.