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Sibanye-Stillwater accelerates decarbonisation with two further renewables projects

Sibanye-Stillwater streaks ahead with renewables projects.

Sibanye-Stillwater streaks ahead with renewables projects.

7th December 2023

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The financial close and start of construction of two additional renewable energy projects for Sibanye-Stillwater’s South Africa operations has been announced.

The first project, the Witberg wind energy project, located near Matjiesfontein in the Western Cape province with a contracted capacity of 103 MW, will generate renewable energy and supply the South Africa operations via a wheeling agreement with South Africa’s State-owned power utility enterprise Eskom.

The estimated project cost is R3.4-billion, which will be fully funded by Red Rocket, the South African independent power producer (IPP) developing the project, and its lenders, with Sibanye-Stillwater committing to a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA). The construction of this large private wind farm follows the 89 MW Castle wind energy project announced by Sibanye-Stillwater in May.

Construction of the Witberg Wind Farm goes ahead this month with commercial operation scheduled for the four quarter of 2025.

The second project is a multi-buyer 150 MWac solar photovoltaic project developed and financed by SOLA Group, a South African IPP. Sibanye-Stillwater will procure 75 MW of the plant’s capacity over a ten-year PPA.

The project will be the first to sell power to multiple buyers across the country on flexible terms, the platinum group metals, green metals and gold mining company states in a release to Mining Weekly.

The project has an estimated cost of R2.8-billion, with SOLA Group as the majority equity shareholder. The project will generate renewable energy in the Free State and will supply Sibanye-Stillwater’s South Africa operations via a wheeling agreement with Eskom. Notably, a significant portion of the project’s capacity has been reserved for flexible, short-term PPAs, unlocking access to affordable and reliable renewable energy for other South African businesses. Construction of the solar project also begins this month, with commercial operation scheduled for the third quarter of 2025.

These projects, together with the Castle wind energy project, bring the total dedicated capacity of renewable energy projects in construction for Sibanye-Stillwater to 267 MW, fulfilling 45% of the company’s long-term renewable energy requirements in South Africa and making Sibanye-Stillwater a market leader in private energy procurement in the country.

Combined, these projects will enable a 15% Scope 2 emissions reduction, or about 92 000 t of carbon dioxide a year from 2026, materially contributing to the alleviation of South Africa’s electricity crisis.

They will also enable socio-economic development for local communities and meet the requirements of the South African Mining Charter.

Sibanye-Stillwater continues to pursue the balance of its 600 MW portfolio of renewable energy projects in its journey to carbon neutrality.

“We continue to take meaningful strides toward our target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2040," said Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman. "These renewable energy projects will not only facilitate operational decarbonisation and aid in mitigating climate change but will also contribute significantly to sustaining the shared value creation of our South Africa operations and assist in addressing the South African electricity crisis. We continue to seek innovative energy solutions for our business and partners that align with our strategy,” Froneman added.

Red Rocket CEO Matteo Brambilla spoke of Red Rocket being well on track towards achieving 3 GW in under-construction and operational assets over the next three to four years.

"This reinforces our commitment to advancing sustainable energy solutions and making a lasting impact on South Africa's energy landscape,” Brambilla added.

The Witberg wind farm will utilise Vestas wind turbines and have an estimated production of more than 3 625 full load hours in its first year.

Rand Merchant Bank, a division of FirstRand Bank Limited, and Development Bank of Southern Africa have funded the project.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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