Expansion-hungry Sibanye-Stillwater (JSE: SSW) (NYSE: SBSW) is extending its footprint to Australia with a $46 million acquisition of a 19.99% stake in New Century Resources (ASX: NCZ), which owns the Century tailings zinc retreatment plant in Queensland.
The news comes on the heels of the South African miner’s purchase of two nickel and copper mines in Brazil from Appian Capital Advisory, in a $1 billion deal that boosts the company’s growing battery materials portfolio.
Sibanye says the transaction, which is expected to close by December, enhances its capacity of playing a key role in future supply chains for a sustainable circular economy.
“This investment in New Century represents a significant next step in our strategy of building a leading global tailings retreatment business, diversified by commodity and geography,” CEO Neal Froneman said in the statement.
The executive said the move complements Sibanye’s existing investment in South African gold tailings retreatment company DRDGold (JSE, NYSE:DRD).
The Century zinc operations were placed on care and maintenance in 2016, following depletion of the original open pit reserves after producing and processing on average 475ktpa zinc and 50ktpa lead concentrate for 16 years.
New Century converted existing processing infrastructure to enable re-processing of legacy tailings waste dumps. The update was completed in August 2018 and the operations have been re-processing tailings since.
The Century zinc mine is expected to run out of ore in 2027, with indicated and inferred resources holding an opportunity to extend operations beyond 2030.
Sibanye-Stillwater is South Africa’s largest gold producer and the world’s third-largest producer of palladium and platinum.