Uncertainty is not the friend of successful business, whether you are applying for a new tenement, you are auditing your operations, or you have had your tenure thrown into doubt. If you are ever uncertain about how to proceed, then there is value in obtaining a mining and environmental lawyer who specialises within the mining and resources sector.
While a general lawyer may have a basic understanding of certain aspects of this complex area of law,
a mining lawyer will not only be familiar with the relevant rules and regulations, but they will also understand what is most likely to succeed. They will be able to provide tailored, and specific advice to suit your circumstances. Ultimately, this leads to a greater likelihood of success. It also gives you the confidence you are in good hands, and that the advice you are receiving is informed and will guide you to success and not to waste resources.
The very best tenement consultants, tenement management companies, environmental consultants and mining lawyers will be there by your side throughout the process of securing and maintaining tenement, tenement compliance, and environmental compliance. They will bring with them an extensive pool of industry experience and knowledge.
You will not be their first client in the mining and resources sector, and they will be able to bring their experience from other clients to bear upon the advice and representation they offer your business. Their superiority to a lawyer offering generalised services is a matter of simple mathematics. If a mining lawyer has 10 years of experience in mining law, for example, they have 10 years of mining law experience. A generalised lawyer with 20 years of general experience may only have one year of mining law experience – or less. You may be their first client in the mining sector.
Many businesses that start with a general lawyer, will ultimately find themselves referred to a specialist lawyer in any case. This is a time-consuming process, and involves greater costs.
We all know the phrase ‘biting off more than you can chew’, and the risk with a generalist legal practice is that they will be occupied with a diverse number of cases, in different areas, that make it hard to pay the level of necessary attention to representing your company and providing legal and tenement advice. Whereas a boutique law firm specialising within the mining and resources sector will be able to meet and discuss and commit time and resources to your situation.
This is aided by the fact that a specialised mining lawyer is likely to be geographically located in the areas they serve. For example, at Hetherington, we have offices around the country in key hubs for exploration and mining businesses, ensuring that we are available and close at hand to offer mining legal advice and representation.
Mining lawyers work predominantly in this sector. They are familiar with the processes and do not need to bill for the period with which they familiarise themselves with the relevant laws and systems and processes of regulation. They know them already.
Their advice may guide you towards positive financial decisions, and ultimately, because they are more likely to secure you the outcomes you desire through advice and representation, a mining lawyer is in many instances worth the investment.
There is the risk with a general lawyer that things will go less smoothly, and that advice and representation may be needed over a more protracted period. This may reflect in the final bill that your business pays.
Knowledge is one thing, but the process of representing and advising a client may be supported by a range of mining and resource specific technologies and subscriptions, not to mention relationships within the sector with other specialists and regulatory bodies.
This means that a mining lawyer is equipped to handle everything from tenements, mine work health and safety, environmental compliance, tenement compliance, and your program of work. Furthermore, it means that if you end up liking your mining lawyer, and wish to expand their services, they will be ready to support your business with other aspects of mining law, right down to compliance audits.
A generalist lawyer may not have the capacity to do this, and you may have to ultimately contract a mining-specific lawyer anyway.