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Peter Leon


Africa Group

Peter is the global co-chair of our Africa Group



Peter Leon, based in our Johannesburg office, is a partner and 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 mineral and petroleum regulation in developing countries (including the South African Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 and international best practice), black economic empowerment and indigenisation law, international investment law and financial services regulation.

Peter regularly advises 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 panellist 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.

Peter's experience includes advising:

  • a confidential client in a potential dispute with the Strategic Fuel Fund Association regarding South Africa's strategic crude oil reserves
  • Norilsk Nickel Holdings (Cyprus) Ltd on the sale of its US$ 279 million interest in the Nkomati Joint Venture to BCL (Proprietary) Limited in Botswana (2016) and the disputes which have subsequently emanated from this transaction
  • China Molybdenum Co., Ltd  ("CMOC") on the acquisition of Freeport's indirect 56% interest in Tenke Fungurume for US$2.65 billion in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • mining companies and financial institutions on the consequences of Mining Charter III
  • Permanent Court of Arbitration as the Presiding Arbitrator in Van Zyl et al v Kingdom of Lesotho (PCA Case No. 2016-21) an expropriation claim arising from the Lesotho Highlands Water Scheme and the shuttering of the SADC Tribunal
  • a multinational mining company on the regulatory regime regulating traditional governance structures and ownership of land in South Africa
  • 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
  • a Canadian mining client on a potential takeover in West Africa
  • a confidential bidder in relation to the potential acquisition of manganese assets in Africa and Australia (2016)


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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