Fasken Martineau is set to become the first Canadian firm in South Africa, where it is hoping to cash in on recently-introduced black empowerment legislation.
The firm is launching in Johannesburg with South African-born mining partner Peter Stafford and an assistant.
In October last year, the Department of Minerals and Energy released a charter requiring 26 per cent ownership of the mining industry by
historically disadvantaged South Africans by 2012, and Fasken is just one of many firms that stand to benefit from the legislation.
“Black economic empowerment legislation is going to require a considerable amount of financing,” said John Elias, managing partner of Fasken’s London office. “Canadian companies and investment banks will be looking at the opportunities.”
It is also likely that a number of South African mining companies will want to list on the Canadian TSX, one of the leading exchanges for gold and minerals.
The move will also allow the firm to provide on-the-ground advice to its mining clients, which make up a large part of the firm’s practice.
The office, which is expected to open at the end of this year or early 2004, will be assisted by partner Al Gourley, who is transferring to London in September.
Fasken is believed to be only the second firm to set up in the region. White & Case was the first foreign firm there when it set up an office in Johannesburg in 1995.