Webinar – Social Licences and the Termination of Mining Rights

In today’s globalised world, companies face increased scrutiny when seeking to create and maintain business activities.  This is particularly true for companies in the extractive industries such as mining.


Improving the sector’s economic image and creating responsible and profitable ventures has turned into one of the most difficult challenges faced by the mining industry.  Governments also increasingly seek to strike the right balance between attracting and retaining international investment, which includes safeguarding the rights and protection of investors and their ventures and also ensuring that the legitimate interests of communities are heard and considered.


The relationship that mining firms have with the societies around their operations, as well as society at large, has a significant effect on the progress or failure of many mining projects around the world.  And, when confronted with private investor arbitration claims, States have resorted to asserting defences that blame the investor for the civil instability.


In this context, the relationship between sustainability and economic goals in securing and sustaining a “social licence” has become increasingly important.


Our experienced panellists were:


Pablo Spiller, Senior Consultant at Compass Lexecon.  Dr Spiller is also the Jeffrey A. Jacobs Distinguished Professor (Emeritus) of Business and Technology at the Haas School of Business, and Professor of Graduate Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.  Dr. Spiller has extensive consulting and expert testimony experience and is regularly consulted on issues of regulation for private businesses, governments and international organizations. He has testified as expert in more than 120 international arbitration cases, involving both treaty and contractual disputes rendering opinions on damage assessment, contract interpretation and regulatory conduct in a variety of sectors.  In addition to his extensive experience as an expert, he has contributed to the design and implementation of public utility regulatory reforms in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Hungary, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, Panama, the Philippines, the United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela.


Madeleine Evans, Consultant for Wallbrook.  Ms. Evans is an ex-investor with varied experience across mature, high-growth and transforming companies in Africa and Latin-America.  Ms. Evans led ESG diligence on all her investments, including working with management teams to establish 100 day plans for remedial processes. In this regard, she has published academic research on responsible investment (including winning a Le Monde-sponsored prize for research on ESG).  In addition, she has been a speaker or contributor to various media platforms including The Telegraph, the Evening Standard and the Guardian. In 2015, she was named one of Financial News’ Extra Mile 40 for founding Finance Matters.


Gunjan Sharma, Associate at Volterra Fietta.  Mr Sharma routinely advises companies on complex issues of international law and investment risk.  Mr Sharma has represented States before the International Court of Justice, represented investors and States in investor-State arbitrations and been counsel to clients before numerous US courts.  In addition to his significant litigation experience, Mr Sharma has advised clients on dispute resolution, indemnification clauses, stabilisation clauses, investment risk mitigation and sovereign immunity issues in over 300 commercial transactions.


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