International Mining Law Short Course

  • 2020
  • Canceled

Speakers & committee

Program Co-Chairs

STUART R. BUTZIER is a Shareholder with Modrall Sperling, in Santa Fe, NM. Stuart has assisted mining, energy and ranching clients throughout his 25-plus year legal career with Modrall Sperling. His advice and counsel has included helping clients strategically navigate the maze of environmental and mining regulatory and permitting regimes, the morass of litigation, and the unique challenges of complex deals and real property transactions. Recognized in the area of Environment, Natural Resources & Regulated Industries by Chambers USA, Stuart is considered a “tenacious litigator who gains excellent results,” and is held in high regard by market sources, who say that “on the mining side of things, he’s really one of the top-tier folks in New Mexico,” and that “he is wonderful; he’s immediately responsive and makes incredibly helpful presentations on complicated issues.” He has been recognized by Best Lawyers® as “Lawyer of the Year” five times, most recently as 2016 Natural Resources “Lawyer of the Year” in Santa Fe. He has achieved the AV® rating from Martindale-Hubbell and has been selected among those included in Southwest Super Lawyers®. In addition, New Mexico Business Weekly chose Stuart as Best of the Bar in Natural Resources in 2011. He is also listed in the International Who’s Who of Mining Lawyers, 2003 to present. Currently Managing Director of the Santa Fe office, he has previously served as Chair of the firm’s Natural Resources Department and was a recent four-year member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Stuart is actively involved in community and professional non-profit organizations. As a long-time Trustee of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and past member and Chair of the Section of Natural Resources of the State Bar of New Mexico, he has contributed countless hours as program chair, author and speaker in connection with legal education programs in New Mexico and throughout the West. He is past President of the University of New Mexico School of Law Alumni Association. His professional practice and interests extend beyond New Mexico to other parts of the West and, to a limited extent, other countries. Education: University of New Mexico School of Law, J.D., 1989, member, New Mexico Law Review; Frederick M. Hart Prize for Excellence in Commercial Law; Grinnell College, B.A. in English Literature, 1981.

PATRICIA NÚÑEZ: University of Chile School of Law (J.D.), 1991. “Pedro N. Montenegro” award as the best student of her generation at Law School. Fulbright Scholarship, 1996. “Master in Laws” (LL.M.) granted by Yale University Law School, Connecticut, USA, 1997. Member of the Council of the Section on Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law of the International Bar Association (IBA-SEERIL), (2017-2018); President of IBA-SEERIL, (2015-2016), Vice-President of  IBA-SEERIL (2013-2014), Secretary of IBA-SEERIL (2011-2012), Member of the Council of  IBA-SEERIL (2009-2010), Chair of the Mining Committee of IBA-SEERIL (2004-2008). Former Chair of the Mining Committee of the International Bar Association (2004-2008). Former Trustee at Large of the RMMLF (2004-2007). Honorary Professor of the Centre for Energy, Petroleum, Mineral Law and Policy of the University of Dundee. Member of the Chilean Bar Association, International Mining Professionals Society Congress of Fellows of the Center for International Legal Studies.  Board Member of the Chilean Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Board Member of Transelec. With Claro y Cía (1990-2000), Debevoise &Plimpton, NY, USA (1997-1998). Founding partner of Núñez, Muñoz & Cía. Abogados.


FERNANDO AGUIRRE B. is a Senior Partner at Bufete Aguirre Soc. Civ. in Bolivia. He is a graduate of the State University of La Paz and holds a Diploma in Law from Oxford University (Public International Law). Mr. Aguirre leads the mining and arbitration practices of the firm, which has as clients three of the most important private foreign investment in mining in Bolivia, and regularly advises the National Association of Medium Miners, which gathers the main mining private investments. As such he participated in the negotiations with the government and other mining stakeholders for a new Mining Law enacted in 2014. He is an internationally renowned arbitrator and advisor on arbitration, having participated in numerous publications and panels, both national and international in this and other related areas of the law. He has been Minister of the Presidency of Bolivia and director of the Bolivian Central Bank, as well as President and Director of the American Chamber of Commerce of Bolivia. At present he is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Coca Cola bottlers of Bolivia, EMBOL S.A. He is registered in the lists of arbitrators of the Bolivian National Chamber of Commerce’s Arbitration Center, the Center of Arbitration of the National Chamber of Hydrocarbons and of the Kuala Lumpur Regional Arbitration Center. He has advised and represented the National Confederation of Private Entrepreneurs in the negotiation with the government of a new Arbitration and Conciliation Law in effect since 2015.

OSCAR AITKEN, Carey Abogados, Santiago

DANIEL ALTIKES is a Legal Manager at Antofagasta Minerals (“Antofagasta”), a subsidiary of Antofagasta Plc. He provides legal services and commercial advice within Antofagasta, including both international and domestic issues. He obtained a LLM in Natural Resources and Environmental Law from Denver University and his J.D. degree from University of Chile, Santiago, Chile. Mr. Altikes has practiced mining law for more than 20 years and has participated in transactions based in many mining jurisdictions worldwide. Before Antofagasta, Mr. Altikes was with Minera Los Pelambres subsidiary of Antofagasta and a major law firm based in Santiago, Chile.

ELIZABETH BASTIDA is a senior lecturer specialised in law, policy and the governance of natural resources - with specific expertise in mining and minerals - and their transformation in the context of Agenda 2030. Her work encompasses international, comparative and multidisciplinary approaches to the study of law, and multi-level and multi-stakeholder perspectives in the analysis of law and governance, with a particular focus on mining and minerals. She publishes in law, development and economics journals. She works on two interconnected areas of enquiry in her current research. On one hand, on the interface between global production networks and natural resources extraction, and their impact on local development due to 'governance gaps'. On the other hand, on the role of law and legal systems in promoting the Sustainable Development Goals. She is interested in the extent to which law can promote or hinder equity and social justice and democratic governance. She approaches the study of the law applicable to mining and minerals from these perspectives. In the first years of her academic career she focused particularly on the study of Latin American regimes and it is still an important area of my research, even if she has expanded the scope of work to encompass a global perspective.Professor Bastida collaborates with various organisations, acting as external advisor to governments and institutions. These have included assignments with governments (Argentina, Armenia, Côte d' Ivoire, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Haiti, Mozambique, Mongolia, Montserrat and St Helena Islands), intergovernmental organizations (IADB, UN, UNECA, IFC, World Bank, GIZ, DfID), companies (Anglo American, Rio Tinto, De Beers) and non-governmental organisations (IUCN, RWI, Global Witness, Open Society Justice Initiative) as well as corporate institutions (International Tin Research Institute). She has participated in major international initiatives aimed at transforming concepts and practices in the sector, including the Mining, Metals and Sustainable Development Project (MMSD) (2002), the International Study Group for the Review of African Mining Regimes (a technical taskforce of which developed the African Mining Vision) as a member (UNECA, from its inception in 2007), and the Model Mining Development Agreement Project (IBA, 2009). Her academic career started as a research fellow at the Institute of Social and Legal Sciences 'Ambrosio Gioja', Law Faculty, University of Buenos Aires. She practised law with the firms Tomás de Pablos & Associates, and Hope, Duggan & Silva in Buenos Aires, with responsibilities in the Mineral and Environmental Law section. She is a qualified lawyer in Argentina (Specialisation in Natural Resources Law, University of Buenos Aires (cum laude); LL.M in Resources Law and Policy (CEPMLP, Dundee; with distinction), Ph.D (CEPMLP/Dundee). Member of the Environmental Law Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from 2000; Programme Officer of the Mining Law Committee, International Bar Association; nominated in the Who’s Who of Mining Law consecutively from 1999; member of the Academic Board of Revista Argentina de Derecho de la Energía, Hidrocarburos y Minería; associate editor of Resources Policy; member of the Editorial Board of RAW Talks an innovative platform on resource governance and economics-; former Deputy Managing Editor of the Journal of Energy and Natural Resources Law.

OSCAR BENAVIDES is a partner at Rodrigo, Elias & Medrano Abogados and focuses his practice on transactional and regulatory work for mining projects. He has over 20 years of experience advising clients on project finance and M&A, as well as structuring, negotiating, and executing exploration, joint venture, and mining project investment contracts. He has been consistently recognized as a leading mining lawyer by international and local publications such as Legal500, Chambers & Partners, Latin Lawyer, among others; and is included in the “Global Elite Thought Leader 2020” list by Who’s Who Legal among the 24 most renowned mining practitioners in the world. Oscar is member of the board of the Canada-Peru Chamber of Commerce, holds an LLM from the University of Denver, USA – Master in Natural Resources and Environmental Law and was grantee of the Jan M. and Marjorie G. Laitos Scholarship in Natural Resources.

JOEL BENSON is a partner with Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, in Denver. Mr. Benson focuses on domestic and international debt financings, acquisitions and divestitures, commercial transactions, and project development, with specialized expertise working with mining and natural resources companies and private equity investors. He has been selected to The International Who’s Who of Mining Lawyers each year since 2011 and has earned an AV Preeminent® Peer Review RatingTM from Martindale-Hubbell® since 2006. In 2016, Who’s Who Legal named Mr. Benson as one of the ten “most highly regarded individuals” in the Northern Hemisphere for mining law and as one of the ten “thought leaders” in North American for mining law in 2017 and 2018. He also has been named in The Best Lawyers in America© for Oil & Gas Law. Mr. Benson is also an adjunct professor of mining law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law (since 2012). He frequently advises private equity funds and mining company clients on their acquisitions, investments, joint ventures, project development, and other business activities. He has extensive experience with structuring and documenting complex credit arrangements and associated multi-jurisdictional collateral security arrangements involving a variety of industries, in the United States and around the world. Mr. Benson’s debt financing practice involves representing both borrowers and lenders (including banks, private equity funds, merchant banks, and other financial institutions) in international project finance, mezzanine debt, corporate credit facilities, senior secured facilities, royalty financings, streaming transactions, gold loans, senior and subordinated note offerings, and other financing arrangements. His international transactional practice has involved projects and companies in over twenty-five countries, including the U.S., Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Ghana, Honduras, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Spain, Thailand, and Turkey, and has covered numerous minerals, including gold, silver, rare earths, platinum/palladium, uranium, cobalt, nickel, iron ore, zinc, copper, and other metals, industrial minerals, thermal and metallurgical coal, and oil and gas. His work with international projects has led to counseling clients with respect to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

XENNIA FORNO is a Partner and head of Natural Resources Area in the Peruvian law firm Rubio Leguía Normand. Her more than 30 years’ experience allows her to provide comprehensive advice regarding mining and environmental matters. Prior to joining Rubio Leguía Normand, Xennia worked in the public sector as register and legal counsel of the Public Registry of Mining, and as a Member of the Mining Board, the highest instance in mining administrative matters related to the awarding of land titles, mine safety and health, environment, and fulfillment of obligations. Her professional career has been featured by several prestigious international publications, such as Chambers and Partners and Legal500, which have recognized her as a leading lawyer in Mining Law. Finally, Xennia is a professor at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, also for the Diploma Course in Mining and Environment and Master in Mining Law and Mining Management at Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas. In addition, she regularly participates as lecturer of Mining and Environmental Law in national and international events, and has published several papers and articles in specialized journals and publications.

FLORENCIA HEREDIA is senior partner of Allende & Brea, Natural Resources and Energy practice where she joined in August 2017. She is an expert in mining law with 27 years extensive experience advising financing institutions and companies in complex mining and energy transactions in Argentina, having repeatedly represented lenders in all mining project finance taken place in the country. She obtained her law degree with honors (summa cum laude) from Universidad Católica Argentina in 1991 and obtained also with honors (summa cum laude) a Masters degree on Business Law from Universidad Austral in 1995. She has a degree also with honors (summa cum laude) on corporate sustainability from IESC (Instituto de Estudios para la Sustentabilidad Corporativa). She has been researcher in the Doctorate program of Universidad Austral on the areas of natural resources and environmental law. She was founder of HOLT Abogados (2008-2017) natural resources boutique law firm and prior to that member of Estudio Beccar Varela (1992-2008) for 16 years, where she was during 9 years the head of the natural resources and environmental law department. During 1997 she worked for Beiten Burkhardt Mittl & Wegener (today Beiten Burkhardt) one of the leading German law firms.  She is an active member of the International Bar Association, where she held the position of Chair of the Mining Law Committee (2014-2015), she is currently council member of Seeril (Section of energy, environment, natural resources and infrastructure law). She has been Trustee at Large of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, for which she also served as Secretary to the Board (2014-2015), member of the International Women Forum (Argentinean Chapter) among other relevant entities. She is member of the Academic Board of RADHEM in Argentina, publication specialized in Energy and Natural Resources. She has recently joined the Women Corporate Directors foundation, since as of January 2018 she holds the position of Non Executive Independent director of Galaxy Lithium, Australian public company leader in the lithium sector.  She has been constantly nominated as a leading mining lawyer and star individual by Chambers and Partners, Legal 500, etc and has been included in the lists of main mining lawyers of the world by Who’s Who Editions in the last fifteen years, being recipient of the Mining Lawyer of the Year award for 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018 and one of the highlighted women in the Women in Law reviews.

BARRY IRWIN, Allen & Overy, Singagore

SUSAN A. JOYCE, On Common Ground Inc., Vancouver

PATRICIO LEYTON is a Partner with Ferrada Nehme Ltda., in Santiago. Mr. Leyton is the main partner in charge of environmental and natural resources matters. His natural ability for managing complex projects has led him to advise several national and foreign firms, consolidating the firm as one of the leading environmental practices of the country. Mr. Leyton leads a consolidated and robust team in the context of the new Chilean environmental institutional design and its challenges. His expertise allows him to tackle different aspects of environmental law, including environmental assessment, community relationships, environmental litigation, and more recently the implementation of extended producer liability legislation. His clients highlight his genuine commitment, his personal attention to every detail, and his impressive knowledge of the law and practice of environmental matters. His team works side by side and in cooperation with the litigation and public law practices. Mr. Leyton received a Law degree from the Universidad de Chile and an LLM from Georgetown University.

MILTON MONTOYA, Universidad Externado de Colombia, Bogota


DARRELL PODOWSKI, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, Vancouver

CARLA ARAYA PIZARRO, Antofagasta Minerals S.A., Las Condes Santiago

MARÍA PAZ PULGAR is a Chile-based mining and natural resources attorney. She is Senior Associate and Coordinator of the Natural Resources Department of the law firm Philippi, PrietoCarrizosa, Ferrero, DU & Uria. Prior to this, she worked for over 10 years at the international law firm of Baker & McKenzie. She has been professor of Mining Law in the Master of Law LL.M Program and in the Administrative Law Diploma of Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, and professor of Mining Law in undergraduate and postgraduate programme of Universidad Los Andes, among other academic activities. She has also been a speaker at various seminars on Environmental Law at the Universidad de Chile and co-author of publications on environmental law. She is a member of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (RMMLF), the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), and Women in Mining (WIM).

IGNACIO J. RANDLE is a partner at the law firm Estudio Randle in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Mr. Randle received his law degree from the Catholic University of Argentina in Buenos Aires in 1986 and holds a Master in Laws from the University of Chicago Law School. He practiced as a foreign attorney with Baker Botts in Houston, Texas, with Baker Botts Washington, D.C., and with McDermott, Will & Emery in Chicago, Illinois. In 1989 he was awarded the Perez Companc Foundation Scholarship for Law and Economics. Mr. Randle's practice focuses on international business transactions and M&A, with emphasis in natural resources, energy, and infrastructure projects. He represents domestic and foreign companies doing business in Latin America, as well as local companies pursuing business opportunities abroad. Mr. Randle has published in different countries and lectured in the Law School and the School of Economics in Buenos Aires, as well as in other fora in Argentina and abroad. Mr. Randle is current Council member of the Legal Practice Division, current Council member of the Section on Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law, former Chair of the Environment, Health & Safety Law Committee, former Chair of the Mining Law Committee, and former Officer of the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee of the International Bar Association. Mr. Randle is former President of the University of Chicago Alumni Club of Argentina, Trustee of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Chair of the American Bar Association’s International Environmental Law Committee, Chair of the American Bar Association’s International Energy and Resources Committee, and Council Member of the Section of International Law & Practice of the American Bar Association.

RANDY SHEFMAN is Associate General Counsel of Denver-based public company Royal Gold, Inc., a leading investor in international mining projects.  Prior to joining Royal Gold, Mr. Shefman was in private practice, where he focused on project finance in the international energy and extractive industries.

JAN STEIERT, Eurasian Minerals Inc., Littleton, Colorado

FRANCE M. TENAILLE is a partner in Gowling WLG’s Toronto office and a member of the firm’s Business Law and Energy, Infrastructure and Mining Groups. She is also leader of the firm’s Latin America and Cuba teams. France is an experienced business lawyer who has practised in Canada for more than 20 years, advising and leading on Canadian and international commercial and M&A, capital markets, and project finance transactions, with an emphasis on Latin America, energy and natural resources. Before moving to Canada, France practised for more than five years at a major law firm in Caracas, Venezuela. Her civil law background and fluency in Spanish, coupled with her common law training and Canadian experience, allow her to advise Canadian and international clients on a full range of Latin American matters. Similarly, she is also well-positioned to advise Latin American clients on Canadian business and transactions. In addition to The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory, France has been recognized for her service and expertise in several prominent publications, including Chambers GlobalChambers Latin AmericaWho’s Who LegalIFLR1000 and Latinvex. France is a founder and former vice-chair and secretary of the New York State Bar Association’s Latin American Council.

CYNTHIA URDA KASSIS is co-Head of Shearman & Sterling’s Mining & Metals practice and a partner in the Project Development & Finance Practice. She has decades of experience representing sponsors/borrowers as well as providers of finance in project, finance and joint-venture transactions worldwide, with extensive experience in the mining, infrastructure, energy and general manufacturing industries, as well as in mining, infrastructure and power restructurings. Cynthia’s notable work in the mining space includes the representation of Orion and Blackstone in the financing of Lundin Gold’s $1B+ Fruta Del Norte Project in Ecuador. This transaction, the first large-scale mine financing in Ecuador, was named “Latin America Mining & Metals Deal of the Year” by IJGlobal. She has also recently represented Nevada Copper in the financing package for their Pumpkin Hollow underground copper mining project, and Société Générale and ING on the structured acquisition financing for Pala’s take private acquisition of Cobalt 27, among others. For her impact in the space, she has been recognized as a leading lawyer by Chambers and Partners, Legal500 and IFLR, and has been a three-time recipient of the “Project Finance Lawyer of the Year” award by Who’s Who Legal. She is a seasoned speaker, having presented on mining finance and other topics at numerous mining conferences and events over the years, including various RMMLF Special Institutes and Annual Institutes.

RAFAEL VERGARA is a Partner with Carey y Cia Ltda., in Santiago. Mr. Vergara is co-head of the firm’s Natural Resources and Environment Group. His practice focuses on natural resources, mining, water rights, energy, environment, surface lands, project financing, and corporate and commercial law. He has received numerous national and international awards and recognition in the fields of mining, metals, energy, environmental, natural resources, and project finance and development. He has been a Professor of Mining Law at the Universidad de Chile since 1996, and at the Universidad de los Andes since 2003. Mr. Vergara is the author of several legal publications, including the Chilean chapter on Mining, Getting the Deal Through (2010-2013), and has presented special courses on mining law for judges and members of the Courts of Appeals, organized by the Judiciary Academy of Chile, as well as papers on Chilean mining, energy, natural resources regulations and environment at numerous seminars, both in Chile and abroad. He was a Trustee at Large of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (2012-2015); a Member of the Chilean Bar Association, Member of its board (2006-2011); Visiting Professor in several graduate studies and Master Degree Programs on Natural Resources Law at several Chilean Universities; Member of the panel of arbitrators, Arbitration Center of the Chamber of Commerce of Santiago; Member of the Legal Committee of the National Mining Association (SONAMI); and Member of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA). Mr. Vergara received his law degree from the Universidad de Chile.

CARLOS VILHENA is a partner at the law firm of Pinheiro Neto Advogados, in Brasilia, Brazil, where he heads the firm's mining and government relations practices. For many years Mr. Vilhena has been appointed as one of the top practitioners in Brazil for mining legal expertise by a number of publications, including the International Who's Who of Mining Lawyers published by Who's Who Legal, the Latin Lawyer, Chambers Global, and Legal 500. In 2015, 2016, and 2017, the Who´s Who Legal identified 407 mining law practitioners around the World. Mr. Vilhena was listed as thought leader. He is the only Brazilian in the list. Chambers and Global 2017 listed Mr. Vilhena as the only Star Individual in the mining legal market in Brazil. Mr. Vilhena acts as Senior Vice-Chair of the Mining Committee of the International Bar Association. He is a director of TriStar Gold Inc. Mr. Vilhena holds an LLM degree in Natural Resources Law from the Centre for Energy, Petroleum, and Mineral Law and Policy at the University of Dundee, Scotland and an LLB from the University of Brasilia Law School.