In September 2021, Sibanye-Stillwater entered into an agreement with ioneer to establish a joint venture company (the Joint Venture) with respect to Rhyolite Ridge. Following the satisfaction or waiver of all conditions precedent*, Sibanye-Stillwater will acquire a 50% interest in the Joint Venture, with ioneer maintaining a 50% interest and retaining the operational management responsibility for the Joint Venture. The Joint Venture will provide Sibanye-Stillwater with a 50% interest in a strategic lithium-boron asset in the US, positioning Sibanye-Stillwater for value creation and growth in the US battery metals supply chain.
Sibanye-Stillwater currently owns 6.95% of ioneer, an Australian Securities Exchange listed mining development company with a current market capitalisation of c.US$700m and currently the 100% owner of Rhyolite Ridge.
*Conditions Precedent for completion of the Joint Venture include (among others) conditions relating to:
- Obtainment of various permits
- Obtainment of binding financing commitments meeting certain requirements
- Preparation of a feasibility study meeting certain requirements
- Final investment decision
- Cash collateral, escrow and indemnification agreements
- Government approvals, including anti-trust approvals
- Accuracy of representation and warranties
- Absence of injunctions and restraints
Sibanye-Stillwater Chief Executive Officer, Neal Froneman commented:
“Sibanye-Stillwater’s battery metals strategy is primarily focused on the U.S. and Europe in recognition of the developing need for battery metals for the transition towards greater electrification of their established automotive industries. Sibanye-Stillwater is well placed to be a supportive partner and add significant value to Rhyolite Ridge given its complementary global mining experience and expertise, including its U.S. mining operational and project development expertise, hydrometallurgical expertise and deep relationships with automakers and automotive OEMs globally”