London - Leading global law firm Mayer Brown has won Infrastructure/ Energy Team of the Year at the Lawyer Awards 2012 for its pioneering work to develop a legal framework to encourage international investment in the mining industry in Afghanistan.

The Mayer Brown team, led by London partner Ian Coles who heads the firm’s global Mining practice, is sponsored by the US Department of Defense’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations. In order for Afghanistan to realise the full potential from its mineral resources, the team is assisting in the development of a legislative and regulatory framework. The team is also designing and implement a transparent tender process that relies upon internationally-recognised business practices on behalf of Afghanistan's Ministry of Mines.

This is the first time anyone has tried to develop a framework to allow Afghanistan's rich minerals to be explored and exploited.

Commenting on the award, Ian Coles, global head of the Mining group, said: “Being named Infrastructure/ Energy Team of the Year at the Lawyer Awards 2012 is a fantastic accolade. The work we are doing in Afghanistan to develop a mining code is truly innovative and this award is a testament to the market-leading Mining team we have at Mayer Brown.”

Mayer Brown's Mining team is used to advising on industry firsts. Ian and his team have worked on mining projects in almost every single country where significant mining activity takes place across the globe, including the first producing mine in Eritrea, the Voshkod Chrome project in Kazakhstan, and the Kupol gold and silver mines in Russia. Ian has been involved in the negotiation of government-sponsored mining agreements in Asia, Africa and elsewhere around the world.

The team working on the project in Afghanistan is led by Ian Coles and also includes partners Chris Fellowes, Rob Hamill and Rachel Speight. Jonathan Olson-Welsh, Danuta Rychlicka, Tamsin Travers, Sean Hummerstone, Peter Parten and Camilla West make up the rest of the UK team working with the client.