Peter Leon is a partner and global Africa chair at international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills.
During the last decade, the international who's who directories of mining lawyers, Best Lawyers, The 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.
In 2021, he was named "one of the top mining lawyers in the world" (Who's Who Legal: Mining 2021) and recently, Chambers Global Guide: Energy & Natural Resources: Mining 2022 ranked Peter in Band 1, with sources stating that, "He brings solutions to issues you wouldn't think of, bringing to bear relevant experience from right across Africa."
Peter excels in helping resolve contentious issues arising from mining projects and related developments in Africa. His 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.
Consequently, 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 on 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’s experience also includes the Middle East, where he has recently represented the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as international legal counsel on the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources’ mineral law reform project.
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 was a council member of the Legal Practice Division of the International Bar Association responsible for the Africa Regional Forum, the chair of the International Bar Association’s mining law committee advisory board, and is an honorary lecturer at the University of Dundee in Scotland's Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy.