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. This transaction, Sibanye-Stillwater’s third in the battery or green metals sector, provides Sibanye-Stillwater with a 50% interest in a strategic lithium-boron asset in the US, and access to opportunities for value creation and growth in the US battery metals supply chain.
Rhyolite Ridge is a large, shallow, lithium-boron deposit, located close to existing infrastructure. It is expected to be one of the first large scale US lithium projects to enter production, currently anticipated in H2 2024.
The United States is a strategic focus area of Sibanye-Stillwater’s battery material strategy, given the growing demand for battery metals by established automotive industries as they transition to electric vehicles. In addition, as pressure to combat climate change grows, the US government has declared lithium as being critical to economic and national security and has prioritised development of US lithium metal processing and refining capacity.
Once all conditions precedent for the transaction have been met, Sibanye-Stillwater will contribute US$490 million for a 50% interest in the joint venture. ioneer (50%) will retain operational management responsibility.