Sibanye-Stillwater has announced plans to introduce a 175 MW of renewable energy for its platinum group metal (PGM) mining operations in South Africa at an estimated cost of between $164.5 million and $184 million.

The proposed three-project scheme is projected to support up to 175 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy across three of the company’s mining sites, which includes an 80 MW PV project within the Rustenburg Platinum Mines complex, a 65 MW PV project within the Karee complex, and a 30 MW PV project for direct injection into the Roland smelter within the company’s Bushveld complex.

Head of Energy and Decarbonization for Sibanye-Stillwater, Jevon Martin, stated that the projects will be funded through third-party power price agreement arrangements, adding that the implementation of renewable energy would result in the company having minimum capital outlay at a 30% to 50% discount to grid power starting from the launch of implementation.

Currently, Sibanye-Stillwater’s PGM operations in South Africa account for 39% of the company’s energy demands, equivalent to approximately 310 MW.

Permitting processes for the project to determine the decarbonization and commercial potential as well as an environmental impact assessment and the rezoning and subdivision of land is currently underway. Assessments include an extensive study to determine the availability of land to accommodate the solar PV systems.

“We are currently targeting financial close in the first half of 2023 and commercial operation in early 2025,” Martin stated, adding that “We have also confirmed that we have adequate substations that will allow the solar PV projects to be directly interconnected into our operations.”

The mining company has also stated its interest in the electrification of its mining operations through the introduction of battery electric vehicles to replace diesel-powered vehicles.

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