In September 2021, agreement was reached with ioneer Limited, an ASX-listed mining development company, to establish a joint venture to develop the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in the US through an initial strategic investment of US$70 million in ioneer Ltd, giving Sibanye-Stillwater a 7.12% stake in that company.
This transaction, our third in the battery or green metals sector, gives us a stake in a strategic lithium-boron asset and access to opportunities for value creation and growth in the US battery metals supply chain.
Rhyolite Ridge, an advanced stage exploration project in Esmeralda County, Nevada, aims to extract a large, shallow lithium-boron deposit, located close to existing infrastructure and centrally located between Las Vegas and Tesla’s Giga factory near Reno, Nevada. It is expected to be one of the first large scale lithium projects to enter production in the US. Production is currently scheduled for H2 2024.
At 31 December 2021, Rhyolite Ridge had a Mineral Resource of 36,000 tonnes at 0.3% lithium oxide (Li2O).
Once all conditions precedent for the transaction have been met and the necessary permits obtained, Sibanye-Stillwater will contribute US$490 million for a 50% interest in the joint venture. ioneer will retain operational management responsibility.