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Peter Leon


Peter is the global co-chair of our Africa Group



Peter Leon, based in our Johannesburg office, is a partner and global co-chair of our Africa Group.

Peter is one of the world's pre-eminent mining lawyers according to the International Who's Who of Mining Lawyers and other peer reviewed global legal directories.  His areas of expertise include crisis management, mineral and petroleum regulation in developing countries (including international best practice), resource nationalism, black economic empowerment and indigenisation law, international investment law and investment protection.

Peter regularly advises clients on major mine development agreements and resources regulatory issues across Anglophone Africa.   He also has significant experience in contentious matters involving States in sub-Saharan Africa.  He is particularly skilled in crisis management and has provided expert advice on an urgent basis to clients to assist them in managing and mitigating significant country risks.

Peter is well versed in the sub-Saharan African geopolitical climate and provides strategic advice not only on issues related to the mineral regulatory framework but also how to navigate the framework within the prevailing economic and political conditions in key African mining jurisdictions.

Peter is also an accomplished speaker and a regular presenter and panelist at conferences, courses and Parliamentary hearings in South Africa and internationally.  He has written extensively on the topics of mining, resource nationalism, the regulation of foreign direct investment, and black economic empowerment and indigenisation law and is an honorary lecturer at the University of Dundee in Scotland's Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy.

Peter's experience includes advising:

  • a globally diversified natural resources company on disputes with the Government of Zambia 
  • foreign investors on the consequences arising from notices issued in terms of section 28 of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 and section 93 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002, including disputes with the Department of Mineral Resources regarding a demand for ZAR 460 million in respect of environmental rehabilitation (ongoing)
  • various confidential clients which have operations in Tanzania’s resources sector on the significant changes to the natural resource regulatory regime and the operating environment as well as leading an international advocacy strategy which includes engagements with various governments and international non-governmental organizations 
  • a mining company in defending ICC arbitration proceedings instituted by the Congolese commodity trading and mining company La Générale des Carrières et des Mines 
  • a confidential client in a dispute with the Central Energy Fund SOC Ltd and the Strategic Fuel Fund Association NPC regarding the sale of South Africa's strategic crude oil reserves
  • Norilsk Nickel Africa (Proprietary) Limited and Norilsk Nickel Mauritius on the sale of Norilsk Nickel Mauritius's interest in the Nkomati Joint Venture to BCL (Proprietary) Limited in Botswana (2016) and the disputes which have subsequently resulted from this transaction
  • a multinational mining company on the implications of the amendments to the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) Protocol on Finance and Investment and the regulation of foreign investment in SADC member states.



Peter holds a LLM (first class honours) and Diploma in Comparative Legal Studies from the University of Cambridge. Additionally, he has an LLB (cum laude) and a BA (awarded with distinction in Roman Law) from the University of Cape Town. He was elected as senior scholar of Christ's College, Cambridge and is a council member of the Legal Practice Division of the International Bar Association responsible for the Africa Regional Forum and the section for energy, natural resources and infrastructure law.

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