Sandton-based law firm Webber Wentzel received the African Mining & Metals Deal of the Year Award for 2014 at an awards ceremony held in London on February 19 for its role in the financing of a project.
The award was presented by UK-based infrastructure journal and project finance magazine IJGlobal.
IJGlobal is also an online intelligence service that tracks global market activity in the financing of infrastructure projects within various sectors. The award was made for Webber Wentzel’s work on the Kalagadi Manganese mine project, based in the Northern Cape.
Webber Wentzel senior partner David Lancaster says: “We are delighted to receive this award as it recognises not only our work on the Kalagadi project, but also our ongoing involvement in many of the most significant financing transactions in Southern Africa. It also demonstrates our ability to compete on an international platform.”
According to IJGlobal, the awards are “the most prestigious . . . for excellence in developing and financing energy, infrastructure and resources transactions. They draw on over two decades of leadership in providing information and analysis in these markets.”
Kalagadi Manganese is a majority-black-owned company, with women occupying the leading management positions. The Kalagadi Manganese mine project is significant because it is the largest project of its kind to be launched in South Africa in the last 30 years. It is also the first to be started by women from scratch and to be developed into a mine, a sinter plant and a smelter.
In addition, the project has resulted in about 12 500 direct and indirect jobs being created to date. The complete development is expected to create a further 1 600 jobs at full production.
“It is good for us to be involved in projects [like this]. It is clearly important not only for our client, but also for the broader community in which the project is located,” says Lancaster, who retired at the end of February and was succeeded at Webber Wentzel by Christo Els, who took over as senior partner, and Sally Hutton, in a newly created managing partner role.