Sibanye-Stillwater plans to increase its stake in Finnish lithium company Keliber to 50% plus one share, the South African-listed miner said on Thursday, and is offering to buy out minority shareholders to raise its stake to more than 80% .
Sibanye-Stillwater agreed to take a 30.29% stake in Keliber in February as part of its strategy to diversify South African platinum and gold production into battery metals, which have benefited from the surge prices.
Keliber aims to be the first fully integrated lithium producer in Europe, targeting first production in 2024 and accelerating production to approximately 15,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide per year.
Sibanye will make a voluntary cash offer to Keliber’s minority shareholders, excluding Finland’s Minerals Group – a state-owned company with a roughly 20% stake – and expects all deals to close by February 13, 2023.
The transaction will cost Sibanye 446 million euros at most, of which it will provide a maximum of 250 million euros in equity.
It is subject to the approval of the South African Reserve Bank and 50% of Keliber shareholders.
Sibanye’s funding will allow Keliber to begin construction this summer, the Finnish company said, and place orders for equipment once the required environmental permits have been obtained.