Sibanye-Stillwater is the world’s largest primary producer of platinum, which is a key ingredient of fuel cells.
In a main stage address to the 2020 Investing in African Mining Indaba, Froneman described fuel cell technology as being “not too far away”.
“Car producers are already producing cars with fuel cells and fuel cells are going to be an important part of the Olympic Games in Japan. We just saw that U2 had a concert that was powered by fuel cells. Fuel cells are going to be the real disruptive technology and I’m talking about the hydrogen economy,” he said.
Sibanye-Stillwater is also the second largest primary producer of palladium and the third largest producer of gold (on a gold-equivalent basis), as well as a significant producer of rhodium. It is also the leading global recycler and processor of spent platinum group metals (PGMs) catalytic converter materials.
“It is far safer underground in a deep-level gold mine in our company than it is driving on the road and we’ll continue to push the boundaries,” he said.
Froneman described PGMs as an integral part of positively influencing climate change.
“If you look at their primary uses in the automotive industry, they clean up the air by curtailing emissions. In terms of renewable energy, they play a key role. We are as a company very focused on the environment,” he said.
The Stillwater operations in the US are on the border of the Yellowstone National Park.