WELLS HELPS CLIENTS ACQUIRE, EXPLORE, FINANCE, DEVELOP AND OPERATE MINING AND OIL & GAS PROJECTS IN THE UNITED STATES.
Wells is a Partner who focuses primarily on natural resources development, energy, and environmental law. He represents a wide range of mining and oil & gas clients in acquisition, development, permitting, infrastructure and economic development projects.
His work includes the purchase and sale of public and private oil & gas and mining companies and related assets, as well as earn-in and joint venture transactions, capital raising projects, mine finance, royalty and mineral streaming transactions, leasing, and land transactions. Wells also represents companies in state and federal permitting, regulatory approvals, and administrative disputes and has represented clients in matters before the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, and various other federal and state regulatory agencies.
WELLS ADVISES CLIENTS ON INFRASTRUCTURE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND PAY FOR SUCCESS PROJECTS.
Wells counsels clients on infrastructure and economic development projects and has represented several clients in public-private partnerships with local governments relating to property acquisition and infrastructure development in and around natural resources projects in the United States.
Wells represents clients on Pay for Success (PFS) projects and has worked with state and local governments, finance parties and service providers on the development, funding and implementation of social programs, with measurable outcomes, that are dedicated to serving at risk populations. Wells has worked at the forefront of this innovative financing movement and has experience structuring, negotiating and documenting PFS financings as well as preparing and negotiating PFS related agreements.
- Goldcorp and Newmont Combine to Form World’s Largest Gold Company
- BMO Capital Markets secures key funding for gold mining company
- Golden Queen Mining completes key financing
- Uranium producer goes private, acquired by Russian government
- Whiting Petroleum and Kodiak Oil & Gas combine to create largest Bakken/Three Forks oil producer
- Public-Private Partnership Key to Quitchupah Creek Road Project
- Golden Queen Mining forms joint venture to develop and operate the Soledad Mountain project
- Nevada Copper closes $20 million bridge loan facility
- Represented large Canadian investor in the purchase and joint venture transaction of the Jerritt Canyon Mine in Elko, Nevada, out of bankruptcy from Veris Gold Corp.
- Represented Bronco Coal Resources in the purchase of the Emery Deep and Hidden Valley coal mines in Emery County, Utah from CONSOL Mining Company, LLC.
- Represented Uranium One in the sale of the Shootaring Canyon Mill and other uranium assets, located in Utah, Arizona and South Dakota, to Anfield Resource Inc.
- Represented major coal company in the sale of a domestic coal company with multiple producing mines and related assets in Utah for $423 million.
- Represented Western-Fuels Colorado in its acquisition of the Colowyo Coal Mine in northwestern Colorado from Rio Tinto.
- Represented Arch Coal Inc. in the acquisition of the Jacobs Ranch coal mine in the Powder River Basin from Rio Tinto for $764 million.
Mergers & Acquisitions – Oil & Gas
- Represented SRC Energy in the acquisition of producing oil and gas assets in the DJ Basin in Colorado from Noble Energy for $568 million.
- Represented Synergy Resources Corporation in the acquisition of producing oil and gas assets in the Wattenberg Field within the DJ Basin in Colorado from Noble Energy for $505 million.
- Represented Kodiak Oil & Gas Corp. in multiple acquisitions of producing and undeveloped properties in the Williston Basin valued at over $1.5 billion.
- Represented Crescent Point Energy (US) Corp. in its $860 million acquisition of Ute Energy Upstream Holdings LLC with producing and undeveloped properties in the Uinta Basin.
Mine Finance and Royalty Transactions
- Represented Franco-Nevada Corporation in royalty consolidation transaction with NewCastle Gold.
- Represented senior noteholders in mine finance transaction with Intrepid Potash.
- Represented Nevada Copper Corp. in $200 million credit facility.
- Represented Franco-Nevada Corporation in the acquisition of a royalty on future gold production from the Golden Meadows Project in Valley County, Idaho for $15 million.
- Represented International Minerals Corporation in the sale of a 3% net smelter return royalty on the Ruby Hill gold mine in Nevada to Royal Gold, Inc. for $38 million.
Joint Venture Transactions
- Represented Golden Queen Mining Co. Ltd. in joint venture transaction with Leucadia National Corporation and a shareholder group concerning the development of the Soledad Mountain Gold and Silver Project in Kern County, California.
- Represented Talon Metals Corp. in an Exploration and Option Agreement with Kennecott Exploration Company concerning the exploration and joint development of the Tamarack Nickel-Copper-Platinum Project in Minnesota.
- Represented international uranium company in joint venture transactions for the development of mining projects in Arizona.
- Represented international gold mining company in transaction involving amendments to joint venture agreement relating to producing gold mine in Nevada.
Administrative Disputes and Proceedings
- Served as counsel before the U.S. Department of the Interior, Interior Board of Land Appeals, in case involving mining claim location and maintenance issues.
- Served as counsel before the U.S. Department of the Interior, Interior Board of Land Appeals, in cases involving reinstatement of Federal oil and gas leases.
Mining, Oil & Gas and Land Transactions
- Represented major coal company in leasing, permitting, construction and development of mine ventilation facility in Utah.
- Represented Degaro Innovations Corp. in a farmout agreement with Blue Water Petroleum, LLC to earn a 100% working interest in the Blue Water oil and gas project in Big Horn County, Montana.
- Represented major coal company in well suspension and mine through agreements with oil and gas producers in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming.
- Represented mining companies in various property transactions including property purchase and sale agreements, mineral leases, surface use agreements, overstrip agreements, well suspension agreements, data sale agreements and royalty agreements relating to properties located throughout the western United States.
Infrastructure and Economic Development Projects
- Represented Canyon Fuel Company, LLC in the joint planning, permitting, development, construction and funding, with the Sevier County, Sevier Special Service District # 1, of the Quitchupah Creek Road.
- Represented Nevada Copper Corp. in Federal land exchange and property acquisition with the City of Yerington for the development of the Pumpkin Hollow Copper Mine.
Pay for Success
- Represented financial and legal intermediary for two PFS projects for Salt Lake County addressing criminal justice and homelessness.
- Advised service providers on draft legislation, PFS legal governance and transaction structure for the Employability to Careers PFS project being pursued by the State of Utah.
- Represented service provider on PFS project designed to deliver environmental outcomes through agricultural conservation practices to address storm water pollution reduction requirements.
News & Resources
News & Press Mentions
- “U.S. Legal Issues in Cross-Border Mining M&A Transactions,” Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Workshop on Cross-Border Natural Resource Transactions, June 2017
- “Real Property Due Diligence in Mining Transactions”, American Exploration and Mining Association, Annual Conference, Reno, NV, December 2016
- “Mining on Federal Lands,” Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Special Institute on Public Land Law, Regulation, and Management, Santa Fe, NM, May 2014
- “Mining in Difficult Markets: A Discussion of U.S. Legal Issues for Mining Companies and Advisors,” Dorsey Canada Practice Group Webinar, September 2013
- “Ownership and Development Conflicts Between Oil & Gas and Other Minerals," Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Special Institute on Horizontal Oil & Gas Development, Denver CO, November 2012
- “Acquisition and Exercise of Mineral Rights on Federal Lands," Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Mining Law Short Course, Boulder CO, May 2010
- "Uranium Mining and Milling", Energy Law, University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law, April 2008
Industries & Practices
- Development & Infrastructure
- Energy & Natural Resources
- Indian & Alaska Native
- Mergers & Acquisitions
- Oil & Gas
- Project Development & Finance
- Public-Private Partnerships
- Real Estate & Land Use
Professional & Civic
- Utah State Bar Association; Energy, Natural Resources and Environmental Law Section
- Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
- Mining Chair for 2017 Annual Institute
- Special Institutes Committee
- Publications Committee
- Membership Committee
- Program Committee, Special Institute on the Nuts and Bolts of Mineral Title Examination, February 2012
- Board Member, University of Utah Alumni Association, Young Alumni Board of Directors, 2014-2017
- Named one of “America’s Leading Business Lawyers” by Chambers USA (Environment, Natural Resources & Regulated Industries), 2019
- Named “Up & Coming” by Chambers USA (Environment, Natural Resources & Regulated Industries), 2016-2017
- Listed as a Mountain States Rising Star, 2016-2019
- Named one of Utah’s Legal Elite by Utah Business Magazine, Energy & Natural Resources, 2015; 2018-2019