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Peter Leon
Peter Leon
Position: Partner and Head: Mining Regulatory Group
Department: Mining Energy and Natural Resources, Africa
Office: Johannesburg
Telephone: +27 11 530 5248

Peter Leon is a partner and head of Webber Wentzel’s Mining Regulatory Group.

His areas of expertise include mineral and petroleum regulation in developing countries (including the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 and international best practice), black economic empowerment and indigenisation law, international investment law as well as financial services regulation. He has advised on major mine development agreements in Africa, as well as resources regulatory issues in Botswana, Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Peter Leon is also a regular speaker at various mining conferences, courses and Parliamentary hearings in South Africa and internationally. Peter is an honorary lecturer at the University of Dundee in Scotland. He is also an accomplished speaker, and has written on the topics of mining, resource nationalism and empowerment.

His expertise has been recognised by various international research organisations including Chambers Global (Mining), Legal 500 (Mining) and The International Who’s Who (Mining, Business). Peter Leon was recently recognised as one of the world's top twenty mining lawyers by The International Who's Who of Mining Lawyers.

Peter holds a BA degree (with distinction in Roman law) and a LLB degree (cum laude) from the University of Cape Town, as well as a LLM degree (first class honours) and Diploma in Comparative Legal Studies from the University of Cambridge. He is a Senior Scholar of Christ’s College, Cambridge.

Areas of expertise
  • Mineral and oil and gas law
  • International investment law
  • Broad-based black economic empowerment
  • Regulatory law
  • Financial services regulation
Top matters
  • Currently advising:
    • Aquila Resources Limited in its on-going dispute with the Department of Mineral Resources over an alleged overlapping prospecting right and the awarding of a mining right, 2013 - present.
    • foreign investors on the implications of South African and foreign corruption law, including the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, 1977, and the South African Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Practices Act, 2004, 2013 - present.
    • foreign investors on the implications of South Africa's review and termination of its bilateral investment treaties, 2012 - present.
    • mining companies on the regulatory implications of key policy proposals in the African National Congress's research report on State Intervention in the Minerals Sector and the National Development Plan. 2012 - present.
    • mining companies on the regulatory implications of the proposed amendments to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 by the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill, 2013, 2012- present.
    • on a mining concession dispute in Liberia, 2012 - present.
    • mining companies and their suppliers on the requirements of the Amendment of the Broad-Based Socio Economic Empowerment Charter for the South African Mining and Minerals Industry, 2010 - present.
  • Has previously advised:
    • a multinational mining company on a mine development agreement and related issues with the Government of Ghana, 2012.
    • on the regulatory requirements for a change of control of a company holding mineral rights in Tanzania, 2012.
    • investors in the Madagascan oil industry, 2011-2012.
    • on strategic regulatory issues in Mozambican involving tantalum projects, 2009-2012.
    • on the terms and various interpretations of the bilateral investment treaty between South Africa and Zimbabwe with regard to the possible expropriation of protected investments, 2010-2011.
    • multinational oil and resource companies, including Impact Africa, Forest Oil Corporation, Anadarko Oil Corporation and Afren plc, on regulatory issues with the Petroleum Agency South Africa and the Department of Mineral Resources, 2005-2011.
    • on the terms and impact of the European Union (EU) sanctions against Zimbabwe on investments in Zimbabwe by EU nationals, 2009-2010.
    • Italian and Luxembourg investors in a EUR 266 million bilateral investment treaty arbitration against the South African government, instituted under the auspices of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) (Piero Foresti and Others v Republic of South Africa, case no. ARB(AF)/07/1), 2007 - 2010.
    • the Chamber of Mines of South Africa, the Banking Association and the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) on the draft Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Codes of Good Practice and advising AmCham on the Information and Communications Technology Charter, 2008-2009.
    • on the Western Cluster iron ore project in Liberia, 2008 - 2009.
    • on the Zimbabwean Mines and Minerals Act, 2007.
    • the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, Nigeria, on the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007.
    • investors on the recently licensed Bisha mining project in Eritrea, 2006.
    • on the International Petroleum Exchange and the London Metal Exchange, 2005-2006.
  • Named by:
    • International Who’s Who of Mining Lawyers 2014 as one of the top twenty mining lawyers globally.
    • Chambers Global 2012-2014 as a ranked lawyer (Energy & Natural Resources: Mining).
    • IFLR1000 Energy & Infrastructure Sub Saharan 2013 Guide listed as a leading lawyer (Energy & Natural Resources; Mining & Metals).
    • Legal 500 2011-2013 as a legal expert (Mining).
    • The International Who's Who 2006-2014 as a listed lawyer (Mining).
    • The International Who's Who 2006-2013 as a listed lawyer (Business).
  • Member of the:
    • National Council of the South African Institute of Race Relations (1991 to present).
    • Mongolian Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism's International Advisory Board (2012 to present).
    • Council of the International Bar Association’s Legal Practice Division (2013 to present).