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Peter Leon


Peter is the global co-chair of our Africa Group



Peter, based in Johannesburg, is a partner and the Africa Co-Chair.

During the last decade International Who's Who of Mining Lawyers, BestLawyer, Legal 500 EMEA, Chambers and Partners and other peer reviewed global legal directories have consistently identified him as one of the world's pre-eminent mining lawyers. 

Peter’s areas of expertise include crisis management, resource nationalism, mineral and petroleum regulation in developing countries (including international best practice), black economic empowerment and indigenisation law, international investment law and investment protection. 

Owing to Peter's expertise he has significant experience in resource regulatory issues across Anglophone Africa.  As a consequence, he regularly advises clients on an array of contentious matters involving States in sub-Saharan Africa, including disputes arising from the negotiation and implementation of major mine development agreements.  He is also well versed in the sub-Saharan African geopolitical climate and accordingly 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.  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 an accomplished speaker and a regular presenter and panellist at conferences, courses and Parliamentary hearings in South Africa and internationally.  He has also written extensively on the topics of mining, resource nationalism, the regulation of foreign direct investment, and black economic empowerment and indigenisation law. He 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:

  • the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as international legal counsel on the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources’ mineral law reform project 
  • a globally diversified natural resources company on disputes with the Government of Zambia including developing and facilitating an international advocacy strategy 
  • a multinational pharmaceutical company on the mechanism provided under the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement and how the mechanisms could be used to promote their operations across Africa 
  • various multinational mining companies on the regulatory, mining title and employment consequences of COVID-19 for their operations in South Africa
  • advising Harmony Gold on the ZAR 4.4 billion transaction in which it purchased AngloGold Ashanti Limited's South African assets 
  • 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 





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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