Mar 19, 2021

Sibanye partners with Johnson Matthey in net zero push

sibanye stillwater
Decarbonisation
Johnson Matthey
PGM
Daniel Brightmore
3 min
Sibanye-Stillwater
Sibanye-Stillwater and Johnson Matthey form a strategic partnership to secure critical metals and accelerate new technologies for a low carbon future...

Sibanye-Stillwater and Johnson Matthey, a global leader in sustainable technologies, announced a strategic partnership to identify and develop solutions to drive decarbonisation and the more efficient use of critical metals such as PGMs (platinum group metals) and metals used in battery technology. 

The challenge of tackling climate change has resulted in nations around the world setting net zero targets to drive decarbonisation through supply chains. At the same time, customers and consumers are increasingly demanding responsibly sourced raw materials and products. 

PGMs due to their unique properties, play a vital role in low carbon technologies that will enable the path to net zero targets globally. PGMs are at the heart of electrolyser technologies for producing green hydrogen (that is hydrogen produced from renewable energy and with no greenhouse gas emissions). PGMs are also a crucial component of fuel cells, facilitating the conversion of hydrogen into electrical energy with no harmful emissions. 

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The strategic partnership between the two companies will focus on developing a number of opportunities to drive technological innovation and ensure more sustainable supply chains for customers: 

1. Johnson Matthey and Sibanye-Stillwater will collaborate on the sourcing and application of PGMs and metals used in battery technology to enable the development and commercialisation of low carbon technologies, with a focus on circularity and sustainability. In addition, the companies will examine potential opportunities to apply their collective experience to support the development of more sustainable supply chains for battery materials. 

2. The companies will combine their extensive expertise in metals recycling to improve current technologies, particularly for ‘difficult to recover’ materials. 

3. The strategic partnership builds on the existing relationship between the two companies, which has ensured security of supply of crucial PGMs into many industries. Johnson Matthey and Sibanye-Stillwater have also extended their current PGM supply and refining agreement to ensure long term sustainable supply for Johnson Matthey’s products and customers. 

Neal Froneman, CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater commented: “We are delighted to enter into this world- class partnership which further advances our commitment to creating a greener future, by developing technologies for a better tomorrow, utilising the metals we produce. Fast-tracking green technology and working together to achieve ESG excellence will enable us to continue to improve lives and the environment.” 

Robert MacLeod, Chief Executive of Johnson Matthey added, “We are excited to bring together our complementary expertise to help secure a more sustainable future for tomorrow’s industry.” 

Johnson Matthey (the world’s largest fabricator and recycler - secondary refiner - of PGMs) is at the forefront of science that enables a more sustainable future – including technologies for clean hydrogen production, fuel cell products, next generation battery materials and solutions for the decarbonisation of the manufacture of chemicals. 

Sibanye-Stillwater, a leading global PGM producer and a top tier gold producer, recently entered the battery metals supply chain through an equity investment into and partnership with, Keliber Oy, a Lithium Hydroxide project in Finland. Sibanye-Stillwater is also a leading global recycler of spent catalytic converter materials containing platinum, palladium and rhodium. The company recently achieved an ‘A-’ rating by non-profit global environmental disclosure platform CDP, in recognition of its climate change action and disclosure. 

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Jun 30, 2021

Rio Tinto and Alcoa begin construction with ELYSIS tech

Rio Tinto
ELYSIS
Decarbonisation
Alcoa
3 min
ELYSIS
Rio Tinto and Alcoa’s JV project ELYSIS has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint

Eliminating all direct greenhouse gases from aluminium smelting has taken a major step forward with the start of construction on the first commercial-scale prototype cells of ELYSIS’ inert anode technology, at Rio Tinto’s Alma smelter in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.

ELYSIS has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of aluminium production

ELYSIS is a joint venture company led by Rio Tinto and Alcoa that is developing a new breakthrough technology, known as inert anode, that eliminates all direct greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the traditional smelting process and instead produces oxygen.

The technology has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint.

The inert anode prototype cells will operate on a commercial scale typical for large modern aluminium smelters, using an electrical current of 450 kiloamperes (kA).

The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry joined representatives from ELYSIS, Rio Tinto and Alcoa to mark the start of construction and announce a further CAD $20mn financial contribution from the Government of Canada to support the project.

The federal government's financial support will enable the creation of a unique commercial size inert anode technology showroom for future customers and will help develop the supply chain by involving local and regional equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the project.

ELYSIS is working to complete the technology demonstration by 2024 followed by the commercialization activities.

ELYSIS technology at a glance:

  • The ELYSIS technology addresses the global trend towards producing low carbon footprint products, from mobile phones to cars, planes and building materials.
  • The new process will reduce operating costs ofaluminiumsmelters while increasing production capacity. It could be used in both new and existing aluminium smelters.
  • In Canada alone, the ELYSIS technology has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 7 million tons, the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the roads.
  • ELYSIS will also sell next-generation anode and cathode materials, which will last more than 30 times longer than traditional components.

Alcoa and Rio Tinto will continue to support the ELYSIS development program alongside the Governments of Canada and Quebec.

ELYSIS is working closely with Alcoa's Technical Center, where the zero-carbon smelting technology was invented, and the Rio Tinto technology design team in France.

Alcoa's Technical Center supports ELYSIS in the manufacture of proprietary materials for the new anodes and cathodes that are essential to the ELYSIS process. The Rio Tinto technology team in France is creating commercial scale designs for the ELYSIS technology.

 

Vincent Christ, CEO, ELYSIS commented: “This is a great day for ELYSIS. It means that we are becoming the first technology company in the world to build commercial-size inert anode cells. While we refine the technology in our R&D Centre, we start the construction of our prototype cells. This shows our confidence in our process and in the know-how of our team. The combination of ELYSIS' zero CO2 technology and Quebec's renewable energy will be great competitive advantage for the future. I would like to thank the government for its support and all the partners for their commitment.”

Samir Cairae, Rio Tinto Aluminium managing director Atlantic Operations and ELYSIS board member added: “Today marks a real step towards the future of the aluminium industry, by progressing this breakthrough technology to cut carbon emissions. Rio Tinto is committed to supporting its ongoing development here in Quebec where we already use clean hydropower to deliver some of the world’s lowest carbon aluminium. Combining this technology with renewable hydropower holds the promise of zero carbon aluminium smelting.”

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