Legal 500 2023, Hall of Fame / Chambers UK 2022
'Ian Coles is world-class. Always on top of the file, fine legal mind, commercial and client driven.‘ He ‘is an exceptional lawyer’ and ‘is very knowledgeable in the mining space and in numerous geographies’.
'He is a solution-oriented professional who always puts the client first.' 'Ian Coles is a project finance guru.' 'He is very knowledgeable, hands-on and has very good business acumen.'
Ian Coles heads Mayer Brown's Africa and Mining practices and co-heads the Global Projects practice. He concentrates his practice on all aspects of bank and debt finance, ranging from projects and other structured finance to commodities financing and restructuring. He represents banks and other financial institutions, sponsors, and other participants in finance transactions throughout the world.
Continually recommended by the legal directories, sources praise Ian for his skill in project finance. He is "unflappable, very experienced and an exceptionally good lawyer" (Chambers: Mining 2020). He is “a stellar practitioner who receives widespread praise from peers” (Who's Who Legal: Mining 2020). He is "highly regarded for lender-side representation in mining transactions, with peers noting his activity on high-profile project finance mandates" (Legal 500 2020). He is “highly skilled and trusted. He has a unique ability to look through a complex problem and to charter a potential course through it." (Legal 500: Mining 2020).
Ian has also been listed in The International Who's Who of Mining Lawyers and Project Finance Lawyers since 2009. He has been listed in this publication since 2006. Ian has also been included in the mining chapter of Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders – Global Elite 2019-2022, as well as being selected for inclusion in the Legal 500 Private Practice Powerlist: African Specialists 2019.
Ian joined Mayer Brown in 1981, becoming a partner in 1987 and is the author of numerous articles in connection with project finance.
- 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 $2.5 billion project financing of the Quebrada Blanca phase 2 project.
- Advised Sumitomo in the initial stages of its potential acquisition of an interest in and development of a lithium-mining project in Argentina
- Advising the US government and Afghanistan Ministry of Mines on the development of the mining industry in Afghanistan (mineral reserves potentially valued in excess of US$ 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.
- 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).
- Represented the lending group in connection with the $425m of debt financing made available to Closed Joint Stock Company “Chukotka Mining and Geological Company”, a 75% owned Russian subsidiary of Bema Gold Corporation, for the development of the Kupol gold project in the Russian Far East.
- Advising the lenders on the $90 million financing of the Karchiga Project.
- Advised the lenders on a loan facility to Oriel Resources plc, a London based chrome and nickel mining and processing company for the Voskhod Chrome Project.
- Advising Chaarat Gold Holdings on an international tender for its gold processing plant and related infrastructure in the Kyrgyz Republic, including drafting a lump sum turnkey EPC contract for the project.
- Advised the finance parties generally on the corporate re-organisation and restructuring of the Endeavour Mining Group, including integration of new material subsidiaries as additional guarantors to the US$ 350m facility. The facility will be used to support gold mining operations in Ghana and Burkina Faso and develop exploration activities in the Ivory Coast, Mali and elsewhere. African Mining Deal of the Year 2013 Project Finance Magazine.
- Represented the arrangers in relation to US$ 88m senior debt facility made available to Bea Mountain Mining Corporation in relation to the New Liberty gold project. Won Development Funding Deal of the Year Award at Mines & Money Conference in London on 4 December 2013.
- Advised the MLAs in respect of the US$ 125m corporate revolving credit facility (and associated security) to the Dundee Group and advising re intercreditor relationship. Cross border involving Canada, Namibia, Armenia, Bulgaria, British Virgin Islands and the Netherlands.
- Advised Wolf on the project documents, planning and project financing for the construction and development of a tin and tungsten mine in Hemerdon, Devon, the first mine in the UK to be financed for several years. Our Corporate team also advised Wolf on its fast track admission to AIM. European Mining & Metals Deal of the Year 2013 Project Finance Magazine.
- Advised African Eagle Resources in the negotiation of project documentation for the Dutwa project in Tanzania.
- Advised lending group in relation to the complex restructuring package to ensure the ongoing survival of the Boleo copper-cobalt-zinc-manganese project in Baja California Sur.
- Advised MLAs on a US$ 215m syndicated loan for Australian mining company Base Resources to finance its Kenyan titanium mining project. Development Funding Deal of the Year 2011 & 2006 Mining Journal and Africa Mining Deal of the Year 2011 Project Finance International.
- Advised Nordic Mines in connection with the €53m financing of the development of the Laiva Gold Mine near Raahe, Finland.
- Represented Helios on the financing of mobile telecommunication towers in a number of African countries.
- Advising in relation to a gold project in Ethiopia
- Advising an equipment financier in connection with the financing of equipment in various African jurisdictions.
- Advised a zircon and titanium business with operations in Senegal and Norway regarding a proposed term loan facility and revolving facility.
Harvard Law School, LLM
University of Cambridge, BA, First Class Honours
- England and Wales (Barrister at Law)
- Bar Association for Commerce, Finance & Industry, England
Continually recommended by the legal directories as a Leading Individual:
- Band 2: Project Finance - Africa-wide. Ian Coles is respected for his expert handling of mining finance matters across sub-Saharan Africa. He leads the firm's Africa and mining practices from London and has a wealth of experience representing DFIs, institutional investors, sponsors and producers.
Band 3: Projects & Energy - Africa-wide. Ian Coles is respected for his expert handling of mining finance matters across sub-Saharan Africa. He leads the firm's Africa and mining practices from London and has a wealth of experience representing DFIs, institutional investors, sponsors and producers.
Foreign Expert in Africa-wide: Projects - UK. Ian Coles of Mayer Brown is an exceptional projects lawyer who acts as the head of the firm's mining and Africa practices. He regularly takes on project financing mandates in relation to mining developments in the region, with recent work including matters in Senegal, North Macedonia and Liberia. (Chambers UK 2023).
- Listed in the 'Hall of Fame' for Mining and Emerging Markets, Ian is 'is world-class. Always on top of the file, fine legal mind, commercial and client driven.‘ He ‘is an exceptional lawyer’ and ‘is very knowledgeable in the mining space and in numerous geographies’. (Legal 500 2023).
- Ian Coles is an esteemed finance attorney with considerable experience advising clients in the mining industry on the financing of projects. He regularly advises on transactions involving projects based in Africa and Latin America. "He is a solution-oriented professional who always puts the client first." "Ian Coles is a project finance guru." "He is very knowledgeable, hands-on and has very good business acumen." (Chambers UK 2022: Mining).
- Listed in the 'Hall of Fame' for Mining and Emerging Markets. ‘Key standout members of the [Mining] team are Ian Coles and Emma Sturt. The difference is the pragmatism and experience of working on both the lender and borrower side over many years on transactions in the sector. Experience can be found in several firms, but implementing and negotiating a sensible result is sometimes less of a focus; the MB team is responsive and pragmatic.’ (Legal 500 2022).
- Listed in the 'Hall of Fame' 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.’ ‘Strong leadership from Ian Coles and good strength in depth.’ ‘Ian Coles is particularly good. Smart, excellent problem solving skills. Always looking for win-win solutions.’ (Legal 500 2021: Mining).
- Ian Coles is an esteemed finance attorney with considerable experience advising clients in the mining industry on the financing of projects. He regularly advises on transactions involving projects based in Africa and Latin America. "He's seen everything before and can very quickly steer you in the direction of a solution." "He's a very good lawyer who has lots of experience and is flexible in the way that he approaches issues." (Chambers UK 2021: Mining).
- Listed in the 'Hall of Fame' for Emerging Markets. ‘The firm is client-focused and deal-oriented. Senior partners Ian Coles and Rachel Speight are readily available to find solutions.’ ‘The firm is dedicated and hands on. Ian Coles is perhaps the most experienced mining finance lawyer in the City. Ian is always available when required and his broad experience is crucial in closing deals.’ (Legal 500 2021).
- Listed under 'Other key lawyers' for Energy and Infrastructure (Legal 500 2021).
- Ian Coles is an esteemed finance attorney with considerable experience advising clients in the mining industry on the financing of mining projects in Africa and Latin America. A client describes him as “unflappable, very experienced and an exceptionally good lawyer,” while another notes: “He is pragmatic and has a lot of knowledge at his fingertips.” (Chambers UK 2020).
- "Ian Coles has a wealth of experience and is very pragmatic - always looking for a win-win solution to problems." "Ian Coles and Rachel Speight tick all the right boxes."
The 'well respected' Ian Coles leads the London (Mining) team. 'Ian Coles is highly skilled and trusted. He has a unique ability to look through a complex problem and to charter a potential course through it.' (Legal 500 2020).
- Listed in the 'Hall of Fame' Mining and Minerals (Legal 500 2022).
- Listed and recommended in Who's Who Legal - Global Elite Thought Leader: Mining 2009, 2013 to 2023; Who's Who Legal: Project Finance 2010, 2016 to 2021.
- Included in the Legal 500 Private Practice Powerlist: African Specialists 2019.
- Ian Coles "is very knowledgeable, pragmatic and knows what is and isn’t acceptable in the market," report market sources. He maintains an impressive project financing and restructuring practice and frequently counsels financial institutions and governments on international mining matters. (Energy & Natural Resources: Mining: International, Chambers UK 2019).
- Banking and finance partner and leading light Ian Coles is an expert on mining transactions. (Legal 500 2018: Emerging Markets)
- The "outstanding" Ian Coles is a true market leader, drawing widespread international acclaim. He consistently impresses clients with his "significant international experience". (Who's Who Legal :Mining 2018).
- Ian Coles comes highly recommended for his industry expertise and experience in project financing and restructuring. He regularly acts for a range of clients including governments, sponsors and large banks. One client says: "He's good at coming up with solutions and he cuts through a lot of noise to get to the key issues." (Chambers UK 2018).
- "Always top class work from Ian." "A recognised expert, involved in the details of the files, keen to find a solution and not to create unnecessary issues, and supported by a talented team of junior lawyers." (IFLR 1000 2017).
- "all very commercial and experienced in the mining sector"; "experienced, focused and hands-on lawyers who provide the required senior oversight for all matters" (Legal 500 2017).
- Ian Coles is a hugely experienced mining lawyer and is well recognised among his peers. He regularly advises governments and banks on high-level project financing and has experience of advising on matters in a broad range of jurisdictions including Afghanistan and Ghana. One client says: "He is one of the best lawyers I have worked with. He is always looking for win-win solutions and is very commercial." (Chambers UK 2017).
- Inclusion in Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders 2017, 2018 and 2019: Mining Chapter. In this extremely selective new guide and according to their research, only the most highly regarded lawyers are featured – those who truly stand out in their field as being leaders and trailblazers, and who are held in the highest esteem by their clients and fellow practitioners.
- Mayer Brown International LLP fields "a large number of experienced mining practitioners". Practice head Ian Coles (whom clients rate as "a number-one draft pick") advised European Bank .... (Legal 500 2016).
- Mayer Brown’s London office is “absolutely top-tier”, gaining four listings alone. The “sensational” Ian R Coles heads the firm’s Africa and mining practice, and co-heads the project finance practice. One source states, “He is one of the most high-profile and experienced mining lawyers around,” while another adds, “It is a tough ask to find anyone else better equipped to handle complex cross-border transactions.” The firm also receives listings from its offices in Brazil and Texas. (Who's Who Legal 2016).
- Ian Coles is a market leader with deep experience in the mining space, particularly in Afghanistan, Northern Europe and Africa. His focus includes high-level project financings for major mineral extraction projects, with one commentator noting that "host government advice is a real strength for him." Clients say: "His industry knowledge and practical nature are compelling." (Chambers UK 2016).
- Chambers UK 2016 ranks 30 Mayer Brown practices and 48 lawyers.
- Mining & Minerals: Mayer Brown International LLP "has a very strong platform in the sector", and is best known for its project finance capabilities through team head Ian Coles, a longstanding and respected presence in the market. (Legal 500 2015).
- Is viewed as a "force to be reckoned with" by sources, who praise him for his comprehensive knowledge of mining projects and finance. Sources say: "He really understands mining projects. He is very experienced, and always very solutions-oriented." (Chambers UK 2015).
- Mayer Brown International LLP’s Mining group is led by Ian Coles, who has "a longstanding pedigree in natural resources project finance" and is "head and shoulders above most in the City for mining finance" (Legal 500 2014).
- Praised by sources for his skill in project finance and his "invaluable knowledge of law, his banking practice and his ability to contain heated negotiations." (Chambers UK 2014);
- Is "hugely experienced in the space, and brings a great wealth of knowledge to any negotiation". Highly sought-after, Ian impresses with his excellent leadership skills, "great sector knowledge and good negotiation skills." He is "the best mining finance lawyer in London" (Legal 500 2013);
- Is "the best mining lawyer in the UK and probably globally," said one interviewee, adding: "He has a good intellect but also extensive experience." (Chambers UK 2013);
- Commands respect which means that "transactions always run smoothly" when he is involved (Chambers UK 2012);
- Is "probably the most experienced lawyer in this space". One client said "There were twists and turns in the deal when we needed a quick reaction, and he responded very quickly." "He knows how to negotiate points so they're a win/win" (Chambers UK 2011);
- Ian's long-standing status as one of the finest financiers in the market remains undiminished (Chambers UK 2010);
- "eminent" team head Ian is singled out by clients as "the standout leading name for mining work" (Legal 500, 2010);
- His "encyclopaedic knowledge of the industry" is highlighted by clients and peers and they describe him as "one of the perfect gentlemen of the mining world". "Very experienced and pragmatic", "thoughtful and thorough", peers dub Ian Coles "King Cole" for his "excellent ability and sensible approach" while clients praise his "unrivalled expertise regarding mining industry specifics" (Legal 500, 2009);
- Is "simply excellent", he is well known and respected as an "extremely talented" project lawyer (Chambers & Partners UK Directory 2009);
- Is "unquestionably a first-rate lawyer" (Chambers UK 2007);
- Is described as "hard to beat for mining finance experience" (Chambers UK 2006);
- Is "a significant figure in the firm's mining finance practice" who "boasts particular experience in project finance in the international mining arena" (UK Legal 500);
- Is recommended by Legal Media Group's "Expert Guide" series as one of the world's leading lawyers in project finance.