Precious metals miner Sibanye-Stillwater which acquired an initial 30.29% shareholding in Keliber Oy, has announce that it intends to exercise its pre-emptive right to increase its shareholding in Keliber to 50% plus 1 share. Keliber is a Finnish mining and battery chemical company which owns the Keliber project, an advanced lithium hydroxide project located in the Kaustinen region of Finland which intends to sustainably produce battery grade lithium hydroxide utilising its own ore.
Simultaneous with the Pre-emptive Offer, the company will also make a voluntary cash offer to minority shareholders of Keliber, other than the Finnish Minerals Group, which could initially increase its shareholding in Keliber to over 80%. The Finnish Minerals Group, a Finnish State-owned holding and development company which manages the State’s mining industry shareholdings, is the second largest shareholder in Keliber behind Sibanye-Stillwater with a current circa 20% shareholding.
Subsequent to completion of the Voluntary Offer, a capital raise by Keliber (“the Capital Raise”) will be executed. If required post the above-described transactions, an equalization mechanism may be implemented such that Sibanye-Stillwater achieves its targeted 80% shareholding in Keliber.
Subsequent to the Initial Investment, Keliber has completed a definitive feasibility study (DFS) which has confirmed the quality and inherent value of the Keliber project. This positive DFS is underpinned by a 31% increase in Mineral Reserves, as announced by Keliber on 15 September 2021. In addition, there has also been a significant improvement in the fundamental outlook for the lithium market.
Subject to the receipt of outstanding permits, Keliber is aiming to be the first fully integrated lithium producer in Europe with full production of approximately 15,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide per annum and direct market access to European markets from the Port of Kokkola where its fully permitted lithium chemical plant is based.
Finland is an attractive, low risk mining jurisdiction (top five jurisdiction in the Fraser Institute) and has developed a National Battery Strategy that outlines the objectives for the country to become a competitive, competent and sustainable player in the international battery industry. Europe is rapidly becoming a leading hub for the manufacture of and market for batteries and electric vehicles. Keliber’s location in Finland enables efficient transport of lithium hydroxide to European customers.
Neal Froneman, CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater, commenting on the proposed transactions said, “This is a further significant step in our strategy to build a unique global portfolio of green metals in a value accretive manner. We look forward to partnering with our Finnish stakeholders to build the Keliber project, which will be the first mining and metallurgical operation in Europe to deliver high quality, low-cost lithium hydroxide with a low carbon footprint and will be ideally placed to deliver critical metals into the growing European battery industry.”