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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 various confidential clients on significant recent changes to Tanzania's mineral and petroleum regulatory regime
  • representing a confidential mining client in International Chamber of Commerce arbitration proceedings instituted by La Générale des Carrierès et des Mines (Gécamines) SA
  • representing 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
  • advising 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
  • advising mining companies and financial institutions on the consequences of Mining Charter III as well as the Mineral and Petroleum Development Amendment Bill [B15D-2015]
  • sitting as the Presiding Arbitrator in the Permanent Court of Arbitration proceedings 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)
  • advising a multinational mining company on the legal framework regulating traditional governance structures and ownership of land in South Africa
  • advising 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
  • NPC Cimpor (RF) (Pty) Limited on a variety of regulatory matters related to its South African mining and cement production operations




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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