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Sibanye wants to focus on the rise of “green metals” as the value of gold deals is low-profile. The company’s CEO says battery metals used in electric vehicle batteries are a more pressing priority. Details Cryptocoin. com.

Gold or green metals?

While Sibanye is still interested in growing its gold business in the long run, Sibanye Stillwater Ltd. says the precious metals miner’s immediate priority is to expand in battery metals rather than gold. Some of the largest mining companies are expanding or researching into commodities linked to the green revolution, such as metals used in electric vehicle batteries. Just this year, Johannesburg-based Sibanye made deals to buy a nickel hydrometallurgical processing plant in France and to acquire a stake from the owner of a lithium project in Finland.

The move marks Sibanye’s first foray into battery metals as Chief Executive Officer Neal Froneman seeks to expand and diversify the company. The CEO has transformed Sibanye from a South African-focused gold miner to a platinum group metals giant by expanding domestically and in the US. In an investor call Thursday, the CEO said:

It is very difficult to find value in the gold sector right now. I don’t see the price of gold double or triple, but in the not-too-distant future I do see battery metals doing it.

Yellow metal is not abandoned

Froneman said Sibanye is still interested in expanding its gold business over the long term. Earlier this year, he said he was prepared to spend as much as $5 billion on gold holdings with annual output of more than 1 million ounces. The company is also considering options to develop uranium projects at its Beatrix West and Cooke assets in South Africa, where it sees gold production gradually decline from 2025 as commercially viable reserves dwindle.

Numerous internal and external factors have been weighing on the yellow metal lately: negatively correlated assets such as the US dollar and US Treasury yields have been rising since the overnight sessions (the 10-year benchmark yield is back above 1.32%). Fundamentally, precious metals markets are pulling back and recovering to some extent after Friday’s sharp rise towards the holiday weekend. US President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held a long phone call on Thursday in an effort to de-escalate tensions between the world’s two largest. The market is reading this as a positive development and the volatility in the precious metals markets is decreasing.


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Michael Lewis

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