General counsel (GC) are grappling with the legal implications of several macroeconomic challenges facing the mining industry, such as inflation, continued supply chain disruption and uncertainty in global markets. Daniel Driscoll, who will be chairing the upcoming Mining Indaba, spoke to Pearson about how these risks are affecting mining companies, and the types of legal issues that have been keeping GC awake at night in 2022.
“We’ve seen several mining companies either go private or shrink substantially in size, but also companies that were looking at an Initial Public Offering (IPO) have had to delay those plans.”
And while the economic downturn has resulted in general job losses, legal departments have been relatively safe because the headwinds facing the mining industry are keeping legal departments busy as they work through the knock-on legal implications.
Driscoll then discusses some of the unique Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) challenges faced by mining companies operating in Africa. Mining has a significant impact on the local communities living close to the mine, and these impacts are increasingly being raised as human rights issues, he explains.
He says good ESG practices must be woven through the DNA of the organisation and everyone has to be doing their bit.
Pearson steers the conversation towards what the modern in-house lawyer wants from their business. According to Driscoll, senior lawyers want an organisation that values quality legal advice and empowers the GC to deliver value for money.
Gen Z lawyers are looking for roles that provide the opportunity to grow, coupled with the same aspirations as their seniors.
Mental health in the legal industry remains a critically important topic, and Driscoll shares some tips for avoiding burnout and promoting well-being in high-performing legal teams.
The conversation concludes with Pearson and Driscoll discussing what can be expected from the upcoming Mining Indaba in Cape Town in early February 2023, which they are eagerly anticipating.
At the indaba, there will be a dedicated segment for mining GC to discuss the unique challenges they face, as well as opportunities for networking.
If you are an in-house legal compliance or risk lawyer working or interested in the African mining sector, then check out the Investing in African Mining Indaba website. Click Register. Choose the General Counsel track, and it will grant you complimentary access to the event.
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