Home » South African mogul Neal Froneman-led Sibanye to spend $616 million on Finland lithium project

South African mogul Neal Froneman-led Sibanye to spend $616 million on Finland lithium project

by Yusuf Abdulfatai
Neal Froneman

The board of directors of Sibanye-Stillwater (Sibanye), a multinational precious metal mining group led by South African businessman Neal Froneman, has approved €588 million ($616.2 million) in capital expenditures to expand its Keliber lithium project in Finland.

The move, which aligns with its plans to become a leader in the European battery metals market, comes two months after it announced the acquisition of an additional stake in Keliber, bringing its stake in the Finnish mining and battery chemical maker to nearly 85 percent.

“We are delighted to advance and grow our presence in the European battery metals industry through Keliber, which we expect will be the first fully integrated European lithium hydroxide producer supplying the European market and will have one of the industry’s lowest carbon emission footprints,” Froneman, CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater, noted in a statement announcing the board’s decision.

Froneman went on to state that the board-approved capital expenditure program would begin with the construction of a lithium hydroxide refinery in Finland’s Kokkola industrial park, a logistics hub from which the company intends to feed into the European battery sector.

Sibanye plans to underwrite a R1.8-billion ($106.3 million) capital increase by Keliber by the end of January as part of the move to expand the operation of its new subsidiary, while at least €250 million ($260 million) will be borrowed to fund the construction of the lithium project.

Sibanye is a multinational precious metal mining company with operations in South Africa. It is involved in gold and base metal mining, as well as projects in South Africa and the Americas.

Froneman, who played a key role in Sibanye’s growth into one of the world’s leading primary producers of platinum, palladium, and gold, holds a 0.074-percent stake in the precious metal mining group.

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