WilmerHale helps developers navigate legal issues that arise throughout the lifecycle of hard rock and coal mining projects, from acquisition to cleanup.

Developers look to our lawyers for guidance as they acquire, develop and operate mining projects in the United States and abroad. We have extensive experience working directly with federal agencies to obtain necessary approvals related to permitting and mineral tenure, and we diligently evaluate environmental risks and ensure clients' plans meet all regulatory requirements. Clients rely on our guidance to ensure compliance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, the Resource Conservation Recovery Act, and the Clean Water Act, and manage legacy contamination issues, including remediation and natural resource damages at Superfund sites. We are adept at managing the interplay between state and federal requirements related to property law and mineral access on public lands, and regularly consult with Native American tribes on behalf of clients seeking to develop resources on tribal lands. Our seasoned litigators defend mineral holders' rights in state and federal courts, and stay abreast of federal policies and rulemakings that will impact developers. 


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Spielman, Andy

Andrew L. Spielman

Co-Partner-in-Charge, Denver Office

Chair, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Practice

+1 720 274 3161 (t)


Hazel, Michael J.P.

Michael J.P. Hazel


+1 720 274 3141 (t)


Heiple, Bonnie L.

Bonnie L. Heiple


+1 617 526 6745 (t)


Treiser, Raya

Raya B. Treiser


+1 202 663 6002 (t)


Connor, Michael

Michael Connor


+1 202 663 6063 (t)


Gorelick, Jamie

Jamie Gorelick


+1 202 663 6500 (t)


Kirsch, Robert C.

Robert C. Kirsch


+1 617 526 6779 (t)


Louis, Frédéric

Frédéric Louis


+32 2 285 49 53 (t)


Ratliff, John

John Ratliff


+32 2 285 49 08 (t)


Ross, Lester

Lester Ross


+86 10 5901 6588 (t)


Salazar, Ken

Ken Salazar


+1 720 274 3131 (t)

Seyfarth, Martin

Martin Seyfarth


+49 30 20 22 64 30 (t)


Spielman, Andy

Andrew L. Spielman


+1 720 274 3161 (t)



  • Representing a multinational mining company before state and federal government agencies regarding mining rights, including evaluating mineral tenure, securing rights to minerals, and managing the interplay between federal, state and private mineral ownership.
  • Developing regulatory strategies for a leading fossil fuel extraction company, including strategy proposals for public relations, public policy engagement, litigation tactics and allocation of resources.
  • Advising mining developers regarding mineral resource projects on tribal lands, including issues involving federal, state and tribal law.
  • Defending enforcement actions at mining sites and assisting with contribution claims, allocation of liability among potentially responsible parties, and all aspects of natural resource damage claims brought by federal, state or tribal trustees.
  • Advising large mining companies seeking to obtain federal approvals under a variety of federal environmental statutes and wildlife laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.
  • Counseling developers on innovative conservation mechanisms to offset project impact.
  • Helping several international mining companies assess environmental and regulatory risks related to potential acquisitions of interest in hard rock mining projects across the United States.
  • Providing guidance regarding financial assurance, bonding and securitization requirements for mining companies.
  • Developing comprehensive legal and public policy strategies to inform agency actions regarding permits and approvals of operation plans at mining sites. 
  • Representing a major mining company in a dispute between the federal and state government over the ownership of minerals subject to a lease held by the company.
  • Developing comprehensive litigation strategies to respond to agency decisions regarding pending permits and approvals on behalf of mining companies. 
  • Defending mineral holders' rights against attempts at termination by federal and state entities.
  • Aiding a client in the acquisition of water rights owned by mining companies, and developing strategies to address heavy metal contamination of acquired water rights at associated mine sites and return the water to sufficient quality for human consumption.
  • Advising a large international client on regulatory structures in Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico, and evaluating the risks and opportunities of mining investments in these mineral-rich South American countries.