At BHW, we like to think that one of the things that sets us apart from the competition is the long-term approach we take to client relationships. Whilst we can (and do) provide a great service when looking after one-off transactions, we firmly believe that we can add much more value if we’re more fully involved with our clients over a period of years rather than just weeks or months.
A great example of this is Corporate Partner Steve McElhone’s ongoing work for Beowulf Mining plc. Steve was first instructed by Beowulf shortly after the company’s foundation in early 2000 and has been looking after its legal needs ever since.
As the panic over the Millennium bug that never was (remember that?) receded into the distance, Steve was busy taking instructions from Beowulf’s founder, Dr Bob Young. Beowulf had just acquired a number of mineral exploration licences in northern Sweden and needed legal support in raising funds for exploration work. Steve guided Beowulf through a number of rounds of fundraising as the company gradually began to develop its portfolio of Swedish exploration licences.
The company’s shares were admitted to trading on the Ofex share market (now the Aquis Stock Exchange) in May 2003. By early 2005, the company was ready to step up its exploration program and decided that the London Stock Exchange’s AIM Market would be a better platform for future fundraising. Once again, Steve was on hand to look after the legal work and Beowulf’s shares began trading on AIM in May 2005. This work led directly to the acquisition of Beowulf’s first exploration licences at Kallak in northern Sweden in 2006, which would ultimately become its flagship Kallak iron ore project.
Steve has continued to look after Beowulf’s legal needs ever since as the company, led by CEO Kurt Budge since 2014, has diversified its portfolio of assets. Beowulf acquired Finnish company Fennoscandian Resources (now Grafintec) in 2016, giving it a resource footprint of natural flake graphite and anode materials production capability. In 2018 Beowulf also acquired a major (now a majority) shareholding in Vardar Minerals Limited, expanding the group’s interests to Kosovo where exploration projects for base and precious metals are ongoing. Steve led the legal work for both transactions.
Most recently, in May 2022, after many years’ work by the Beowulf management team, the Swedish Minister of Enterprise and Innovation, announced the grant of an exploitation concession for the Kallak iron ore project. This long-awaited development marks an important milestone in the Beowulf’s development and paves the way for it to begin commercial production in 3-4 years, with a stated ambition to developing the most sustainable mining operation possible. BHW is, naturally, extremely proud of the small part it has played in Beowulf’s success and wishes the company all the very best for the next 22 years (and beyond).