"She's excellent on mining project finance matters." "She has very profound mining knowledge and provides a very high level of responsiveness."Chambers UK 2023
Rachel Speight is a partner in the Banking & Finance practice of the London office. She represents banks and sponsors in international structured and project financings. She particularly focuses on the mining finance sector and has experience in infrastructure finance in areas including the road, rail and healthcare sectors, including work on PPP projects.
Rachel joined Mayer Brown in 1999 and has spent some time on secondment to both the Royal Bank of Scotland and WestLB.
Consistently recommended and ranked as a key individual by the legal directories, Legal 500 UK 2022 recognises Rachel as “a key lawyer recommended for advising banks and sponsors on cross-border project financings, particularly in African markets.” Clients praise her as “a very likeable personality [who] combines in-depth knowledge of the mining sector with delivering excellent results to her clients, on time and on budget,” (Legal 500 UK 2022), noting that "Rachel adopts a commercial perspective and will not hesitate to provide an opinion, rather than sit on the fence" (Chambers UK 2022). Clients also observe that "she is extremely knowledgeable and always able to find an effective solution to any matter," and that "she provides advice which is very practical and makes sure that, as an organisation, we are doing the right things" (Chambers UK 2021).
Rachel has been selected for inclusion in the Legal 500 Private Practice Powerlist: African Specialists 2019. She was also listed in The 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining 2013 and The International Who's Who of Mining Lawyers 2013 to 2022, and was named as one of the Hot 100 lawyers by the Lawyer (2015).
Areas of Focus
Mining sector - Africa
- Advising Discovery Minerals on the successful project financing of its Boseto Copper project in Botswana ("African Mining Deal of the Year 2011" Project Finance Magazine).
- Advised the Lenders, including Société Générale and BNP Paribas on the financing and development of Roxgold Inc.'s Yaramoko gold project in Burkina Faso ("Africa – Mining and Metals Deal of the Year 2015" IJGlobal Europe and Africa Awards).
- Advising the Mandated Lead Arrangers on the $90m financing of the Karma Gold Project in Burkina Faso.
- Represented Africa Finance Corporation as lender on the acquisition of the Bonikro mine in Côte d'Ivoire.
- Advising the financing parties on the $350 million refinancing of Endeavour Mining's assets in Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana.
- Advising natural resources fund Medea Future Materials Fund L.P. on a loan related to the acquisition of the Adidi Kanga gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo by Vector Resources.
- Advising the sponsor on the project financing of its assets in Eritrea which involved a number of African and other official lenders.
- Advising the finance parties (including European official lenders) on the project financing of the Kwale mine in Kenya ("African Mining Deal of the Year 2011" Project Finance International).
- Representing the arrangers in relation to a senior debt facility made available to Bea Mountain Mining Corporation in relation to the New Liberty gold project in Liberia. This transaction was named Development Funding Deal of the Year (Mines & Money December 2013).
- Advised on a joint venture with SNIM to develop an iron ore mine in Mauritania including negotiating infrastructure contracts for rail, port and power facilities.
- Advising Xstrata and Sphere Minerals on various aspects of its projects in Mauritania.
- Advising the sponsor on a niobium mine in Tanzania which was to benefit from UFK cover.
- Advising Standard Chartered Bank on the US$350m financing of the Kansanshi Mine in Zambia.
- Advised the lenders on a project finance facility for the development of a platinum mine in Zimbabwe.
Mining sector – outside Africa
- Advising Sumitomo Metals & Mining (acting in consortium with its partner, Sumitomo Corporation), on its US$1.2 billion acquisition of a minority shareholding in the Teck-owned, Quebrada Blanca Copper Project in Chile and advising SMM on the related US $2.5 billion project financing of the Quebrada Blanca phase 2 project.
- Advised a group of ECAs on the proposed US$2.5bn financing for the Cobre Panama Copper project in Panama.
- Advised the sponsor on a credit facility for Yamana Gold, a Canadian mining company with operations across Central and South America.
- Advising the finance parties including the Korean Development Bank and Korean Finance Corporation Export Development Canada and Export-Import Bank of the United States on a loan to develop a copper, cobalt and zinc project in Baja California Sur, Mexico and its subsequent restructuring.
- Advising in connection with a royalty granted for a lithium project in Mexico.
- Advising the lenders on a facility to a gold mine in Suriname secured against gold accounts held with refiners.
- Advising the Lenders on the $3bn financing of First Quantum, a global mining company which included advising on the existing Franco Nevada Streaming arrangement.
- Advising the Sponsor on the Royalty financing arrangements connected with a mine in Greenland.
- Advising the Lenders including Société Generale and ING Bank N.V. on a US$180 million on the pre-export facility for a mining company in Armenia, specialising in copper and molybdenum mining and processing.
- Advised the lenders on the $90 million financing of the Karchiga Project in Kazakhstan.
- We advised the lenders on a loan facility to Oriel Resources plc, a London based chrome and nickel mining and processing company for the Voskhod Chrome Project in Kazakhstan.
- Advising Nordic Mines on the financing and subsequent refinancing of their gold mine in Finland.
- Advised the finance parties on the successful project financing for the Kevitsa Mine in Finland.
- Advised the lenders on the financing and refinancing of a nickel mine in Sotkamo Finland being developed by Talvivaara.
- Advised the sponsor on the project financing of the Aguas Teñidas copper-zinc mine in Spain.
- Advising the US government and Afghanistan Ministry of Mines on the development of the mining industry in Afghanistan (mineral reserves potentially valued in excess of US$ 3 trillion and include gold, copper, iron ore, lithium and rare earths) with particular emphasis on the tendering process, model mining agreements and suitability of the mining laws. This was recognised in Financial Times Innovative Lawyer Awards 2011 as a “Stand-out” firm for our work on this and awarded the “Infrastructure/ Energy Team of the Year” at the Lawyer Awards 2012.
- Pro bono counsel for "Women in Mining (UK)".
Infrastructure finance sector
- Representing a group of international export credit agencies as lenders to the $10.6 billion project financing of the Tahrir petrochemical plant in Ain Sokhna, Egypt.
- Representing one of the largest steel producers in the world on a major arbitration in relation to its mineral rights in South Africa.
- Advising the Kingdom of Bahrain on the privatisation of its water and electricity industry.
- Advising successful concessionaire on the development of an oil terminal at the Port of Aqaba, Jordan.
- Advised the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum of Afghanistan in relation to the tendering process for private investors to design, construct and operate new cement production facilities in Jabal Saraj (Parwan Province) and Herat (Herat Province).
- Advising Autopista del Sol, Concesionaria Española, S.A. (“Ausol”), a Cintra subsidiary, in its €557 million refinancing of the AP-7 toll-road in the Costa del Sol, Spain through the issuance of €507 million of project bonds and the entering into of a €50.8 million subordinated junior facility.
- Advising Sociedad Concesionaria Autovía de la Plata in its offering of €184.5 million of project bonds to refinance a 49km stretch of the A66 motorway northwest of Madrid, Spain (named "Refinancing Deal of the Year" in the 2015 IJ Global European and Africa Awards).
- Represented the Issuer on the refinancing of the photovoltaic solar power park located in El Bonillo (Albacete) Spain.
- Advised GT Genera Renovables S.L. on the financing of its solar assets in Spain.
- Advising the Klesch Group, a global industrial company on the novel financing of its Heide refinery in Germany.
- Representing the Government of the Hellenic Republic (Government of Greece) on the Intergovernmental Framework Agreement with the Republic of Bulgaria to develop the rail connection between Greece and Bulgaria
- Advising an Icelandic producer and seller of silicon and solar grade silicon products on a loan covered by Nordic export credit agencies.
- Advising a monoline guarantee provider in relation to the Newcastle Hospital PFI project in the UK.
- Advised GE Medical Systems as managed equipment service provider in connection with the St Helens & Knowsley NHS Trust PFI Project in the UK.
- Advised Road Management Limited in relation to the £260m PFI project to upgrade, operate and maintain a 33 mile stretch of the A1 road in Yorkshire, UK.
- Advised the contractor on the Nottingham Express Transit Phase 2 PFI Tender in the UK, a £600 million extension of the existing tramway.
- England and Wales
Consistently recommended and ranked as a key or leading individual by the legal directories
- Band 2: Mining. Rachel Speight is well regarded for her finance practice and regularly advises banks and investment funds on the acquisition and financing of mining projects. Her international practice includes advising on transactions across Africa and the Americas. "She's excellent on mining project finance matters." "She has very profound mining knowledge and provides a very high level of responsiveness." (Chambers UK 2023).
- Listed as a Leading individual for Emerging Markets and a Leading individual and key lawyer for Mining and Minerals. (Legal 500 2023).
- Rachel Speight is well regarded for her finance practice and regularly advises banks and investment funds on the acquisition and financing of mining projects. Her international practice includes advising on transactions across Africa and the Americas. "She is a very responsive and solution-oriented lawyer." "Rachel adopts a commercial perspective and will not hesitate to provide an opinion, rather than sit on the fence." (Chambers UK 2022).
- Rachel is listed as a Leading individual for Mining and Minerals and Emerging Markets. She is a key lawyer recommended for advising banks and sponsors on cross-border project financings, particularly in African markets. ‘Rachel Speight is a very likeable personality and combines in-depth knowledge of the mining sector with delivering excellent results to her clients, on time and on budget.’ (Legal 500 2022).
- Rachel Speight is well regarded for her finance practice and regularly advises banks and investment funds on the acquisition and financing of mining projects. Her international practice includes advising on transactions across Africa and the Americas. "She is extremely knowledgeable and always able to find an effective solution to any matter." "She provides advice which is very practical and makes sure that, as an organisation, we are doing the right things." (Chambers UK 2021).
- Listed as a 'Leading individual' for Mining and Emerging Markets and under 'Other key lawyers' for Mining. ‘Ian Coles and Rachel Speight are stand out members of the team. All down to approachability, commercial acumen and legal experience with a focus on the specifics of the natural resources sector.’ ‘The firm is client-focused and deal-oriented. Senior partners Ian Coles and Rachel Speight are readily available to find solutions.’ ‘Rachel Speight’s experience and hands-on approach have been instrumental in structuring and closing deals.’ (Legal 500 2021).
- Listed as a 'Leading Individual', Rachel Speight is well regarded for her finance practice and regularly advises banks and investment funds on acquisitions and the financing of mining projects. An appreciative client remarks that she “demonstrates excellent client management skills, has extensive experience in the mining sector and takes a commercial approach towards providing pragmatic solutions.” (Chambers UK 2020).
- Listed as a 'Leading Individual', "Ian Coles and Rachel Speight tick all the right boxes." (Legal 500 2020).
- Listed Legal 500 Private Practice Power List: African Specialists 2019.
- Rachel Speight possesses a strong international mining practice with a particular emphasis on project financing. She is noted for her experience of representing banks and other lenders in cross-jurisdictional mining matters. Interviewees highlight her "industry knowledgeable and ability to find solutions to problems that arise in transactions."(Chambers UK 2019).
- Clients recommend mining specialist Rachel for her "commercial outlook and experience". (Legal 500 2018).
- Listed and recommended in Who’s Who Legal: Project Finance 2020 and 2021.
- Listed and recommended in Who's Who Legal: Mining 2013 to 2022.
- Rachel Speight has "an excellent understanding of the project finance and mining finance business", according to sources. She is highly sought after thanks to her "excellent sector knowledge and vast experience". (Who's Who Legal: Mining 2018).
- Rachel Speight is highly regarded for her advice to banks and sponsors in large project financings across the globe. One commentator reports: "She is a very thorough and commercially-minded lawyer with a deep understanding of the mining sector." (Chambers UK 2018).
- Rachel Speight and Ian Coles are "experienced, focused and hands-on lawyers who provide the required senior oversight for all matters". She is a key partner in the mining practice. (Legal 500 2017).
- "Rachel has always been excellent in her service to the bank. Readily accessible and understanding the key issues very quickly and clearly." (IFLR 1000 2017).
- Rachel Speight is "balanced, dedicated, extremely technical, very commercial and knowledgeable," according to clients. She frequently advises on project finance and has extensive experience of international mining projects. (Chambers UK 2017).
- Rachel Speight is a mining project finance lawyer who is particularly well known for her work representing lenders. Sources say: "She is very detailed and has a good style that builds bridges between a client and banks."
- Rachel is listed in Who's Who Legal: Project Finance 2016 to 2019.
- Nominated as one of this year’s Hot 100 lawyers by The Lawyer (2015).
- Sources say she is "very available, always trying to find the right solutions and has answers to any questions you have." (Chambers UK 2015).
- Listed in The 100 Global Inspiration Women in Mining 2013.
- "very approachable and experienced," "very calm and considered, and isn't easily flustered even when there's an impending disaster." (Chambers UK 2013).
- Rachel attracts high praise from clients and peers (Legal 500 2013).
- She is picked out by sources for her high profile "Rachel is heavily involved in the mining sector". Speight also has experience of working on mining matters in Finland and Mauritania; (Chambers 2014).
- Chambers Global 2014 commends Rachel for her "very impressive work" and mining sector dedication; she is "very approachable and experienced."
- Clients are particularly impressed by the way in which she remains "very calm and considered, and isn't easily flustered even when there's an impending disaster." (Chambers UK 2013).
- She is complimented for her level headedness and dedicated work ethic in Africa (Chambers Global 2013).
- "Concise, reasoned in her analysis, and commercial" (Legal 500 2011).
- She is praised for being "clear in communication, easy to deal with and quick to respond" notes (Chambers UK 2011).
- Legal 500, 2010 recommends Rachel for "the broad range of her experience".
- In 2009, she was listed as "extremely experienced, level-headed and commercial".