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South African Mining Firm to Spend $616 Mln on Lithium Project in Finland

Workers drive past a sign of the Sibanye-Stillwater Driefontein gold mine near Carletonville, near Johannesburg, on May 5, 2018InternationalIndiaAfricaIn October, Sibanye-Stillwater, a South African mining corporation, obtained control over Keliber, a Finnish battery chemicals producer, by acquiring around 55% of its shares, raising Sibanye’s total shareholding to 85%.On Monday, Sibanye announced that its board had approved an expenditure of 588 million euros ($616.22 million) aimed at further development of its lithium project in Finland, carried out by the firm’s subsidiary Keliber. According to Sibanye, its new program will begin with the construction of a lithium hydroxide refinery as part of the Kokkola industrial park. The facility in western Finland is a logistics hub and a starting point for the South African company’s plan to enter the European battery market.

“We are delighted to advance and grow our presence in the European battery metals industry through Keliber, which we expect will be the first fully integrated European lithium hydroxide producer supplying the European market and is expected to have one of the lowest carbon emission footprints in the industry," stated Neal Froneman, Sibanye's chief executive.

A sum of 104 million euros (over $108 million) is designated by Sibanye for capital increase for Keliber by the end of January. The construction of the project will be funded by at least 250 million euros (over $261 million).The project is estimated to supply about 15,000 tons of lithium hydroxide per year. The chemical compound is necessary for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles.

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