Make Kitco Your Homepage

Sibanye-Stillwater CEO shrugs off gold mega-merger

Kitco News

(Adds detail, quotes)

CAPE TOWN, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Sibanye-Stillwater is not interested in gold mergers and acquisitions, CEO Neal Froneman said on Monday, after Newmont's $16.9 billion bid for Newcrest increased the pressure on gold miners to consolidate.

Froneman, a seasoned dealmaker, said he had "moved on" from the idea he floated two years ago of merging Sibanye with South African peers Gold Fields and AngloGold Ashanti to create a South African gold mining "champion".

Speaking on the sidelines of the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba in Cape Town, Froneman said he was focused on building a "geographically diverse green metals company". A platinum and gold miner, Sibanye has acquired nickel and lithium projects over the past three years to get exposure to the battery metals.

Sibanye could be more active in M&A this year thanks to an improving economic backdrop, Froneman said, adding that the miner is looking at lithium projects in Africa, though it is more focused on North America and Europe.

The recently announced massive incentive packages from the U.S. and Europe aimed at boosting domestic production of battery materials have "vindicated" Sibanye's focus on those regions, Froneman said. The U.S. Inflation Reduction Act adds an estimated $200 million to $300 million to the value of the Rhyolite Ridge lithium mine project over its lifetime, Froneman said. Sibanye has a 50% stake in the Nevada project being built by ioneer Ltd. .

Froneman also said permitting in the United States, which has been a major bottleneck for new mining projects, seemed to be getting smoother. "I'm not saying environmental laws or standards are going to be lowered or dropped...but there's a willingness by the U.S. administration to see their resources being developed so that they can be less dependent on China," he said.

(Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.