In January, ASX investors threw considerable amounts of cash at the nascent lithium-ion supply chain.

Seven of the top 10 performing ASX stocks were lithium explorers.

21 of the top 50 companies were involved in critical minerals, battery raw materials, or the batteries themselves.

That how dominant the sector was.

Why the feeding frenzy?

A highly charged, highly speculative trading environment coupled with a very positive outlook for electric vehicles.

 Lithium prices are seeing their first sustained rise in three years as automakers and cell manufacturers react to the strong upward trend in EV sales.

The cobalt price is also about to surge.

And there are signs demand for battery grade graphite could outstrip supply in 2021.

It looks like Battery Metals Boom 2.0 is officially on.

HERE’S THE TOP 50 SMALL CAPS FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY >>>

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort.

CODE COMPANY MONTHLY RETURN % PRICE MARKET CAP SECTOR
HWK Hawkstone Mining 433 0.048 $ 81,624,971.27 Resources
SYA Sayona Mining 425 0.042 $ 179,130,302.30 Resources
BPH BPH Energy 400 0.17 $ 140,075,370.96 Energy
LKE Lake Resources 347 0.295 $ 315,410,228.64 Resources
SOR Strategic Elements 310 0.635 $ 278,109,219.89 Resources
CXO Core Lithium 306 0.345 $ 370,899,218.77 Resources
ASN Anson Resources 223 0.1 $ 108,684,955.25 Resources
VUL Vulcan Energy 215 7.9 $ 701,786,914.00 Resources
BUY Bounty Oil & Gas 208 0.037 $ 51,530,846.15 Energy
LPD Lepidico 205 0.029 $ 171,129,256.25 Resources
RNU Renascor Resources 196 0.034 $ 66,628,393.36 Energy
RLE Real Energy Corp 186 0.08 $ 36,850,824.86 Energy
NC6 Nanollose 178 0.15 $ 18,468,109.73 Health
AGY Argosy Minerals 166 0.17 $ 183,510,385.38 Resources
HMX Hammer Metals 153 0.086 $ 64,421,464.11 Resources
XST Xstate Resources 150 0.01 $ 12,678,686.29 Energy
MNB Minbos Resources 143 0.09 $ 35,117,500.22 Resources
NVX Novonix 143 2.6 $ 1,090,008,474.70 Tech
EGR Ecograf 142 0.4 $ 161,974,111.76 Resources
COB Cobalt Blue 141 0.325 $ 89,359,864.92 Resources
SXA Strata-X Energy 138 0.19 $ 21,973,279.80 Energy
RDF Redflex 127 0.875 $ 132,231,787.20 Tech
KTE K2 Energy 124 0.047 $ 15,333,514.70 Tech
AVL Australian Vanadium 123 0.029 $ 87,904,764.42 Resources
JRL Jindalee Resources 121 0.166 $ 71,686,345.60 Resources
ARE Argonaut Resources 120 0.011 $ 34,954,457.39 Resources
LIT Lithium Australia 117 0.13 $ 134,957,329.65 Resources
ELT Elementos 115 0.014 $ 38,955,917.06 Resources
MGT Magnetite Mines 108 0.027 $ 88,546,947.96 Resources
IXR Ionic Rare Earths 106 0.037 $ 112,191,980.56 Resources
4DS 4Ds Memory 104 0.245 $ 322,611,208.05 Tech
RNE Renu Energy 103 0.067 $ 5,416,727.39 Energy
GGX Gas2Grid 100 0.004 $ 5,343,987.94 Energy
SHE Stonehorse Energy 100 0.024 $ 10,662,024.22 Energy
T3D 333D 100 0.002 $ 2,131,991.53 Industrial
XPE Xped 100 0.003 $ 5,978,586.07 Tech
HZR Hazer Group 97 1.44 $ 233,667,031.22 Resources
ENV Enova Mining 95 0.039 $ 13,546,353.76 Resources
ESS Essential Metals 95 0.15 $ 33,134,854.50 Resources
LIO Lion Energy 94 0.031 $ 6,429,455.49 Energy
QPM Queensland Pacific 94 0.062 $ 65,306,330.25 Resources
SAN Sagalio Energy 93 0.029 $ 5,935,143.77 Energy
CHK Cohiba Minerals 90 0.04 $ 58,310,089.99 Resources
VRC Volt Resources 90 0.019 $ 41,093,733.92 Resources
IRD Iron Road 89 0.36 $ 276,526,116.36 Resources
AOU Auroch Minerals 89 0.26 $ 72,870,262.91 Resources
MRQ MRG Metals 89 0.017 $ 23,283,673.93 Resources
TMH The Market Herald 89 0.51 $ 94,884,169.50 Communications
ASP Aspermont 88 0.015 $ 39,251,130.58 Communications
HXG Hexagon Energy 86 0.11 $ 39,156,692.51 Resources

 

Top 8 small cap standouts

HAWKSTONE MINING (ASX:HWK) +433%

Last month’s top mover.

Early stage testing at Hawkstone’s Big Sandy project in the US – now a very clean energy-friendly jurisdiction — has recovered 90 per cent lithium from ore. Which is pretty good.

Hawkstone says test-work partner Hazen Research is on track to produce battery-grade Li2CO3 (99.5 per cent lithium carbonate) by the end of February 2021.

 

SAYONA MINING (ASX:SYA) +423%

US based project developer Piedmont Lithium (ASX:PLL) caught a rocket in September after announcing a deal to supply Tesla with a big chunk of its planned spodumene production for an initial five years.

Fellow US lithium explorer Sayona flew when project developer Piedmont Lithium (ASX:PLL) became a strategic investor and major offtake partner.

Piedmont will ink a +60,000tpa offtake deal based on market pricing (minimum US$500/t, maximum US$900/t).

It will also buy 19.9 per cent in Sayona for ~$15m .

The cash will help advance Sayona’s flagship Authier project, the emerging Tansim project, and a proposed bid for troubled lithium mine North American Lithium.

 

BPH ENERGY (ASX:BPH) +400%

There was no real newsflow to explain BPH’s meteoric month.

In response to an ASX price query, the holding company with investments in energy, resources and biotech said an Baleen oil and gas well drilling permit could be in the mail.

It also noted current press coverage of significant funding incentives for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

“This focus on CCS and geosequestration has highlighted the additional objective of the Baleen Well drilling,” it says.

“BPH has previously announced the Baleen well program offers potential environmental benefits in carbon capture and storage (carbon reduction) for the greater Sydney/Newcastle area.”

 

LAKE RESOURCES (ASX:LKE) +347%

This lithium explorer just raised $20.6m from overseas institutional investors at a 12 per cent premium to its 10-day volume weighted average share price (VWAP).

Lake’s flagship Kachi lithium brine project is now fully funded through to the construction phase in 2022, it says.

“This transaction places the company in its strongest financial position ever,” managing director Steve Promnitz says.

“Lake will hold in excess of A$25 million following this placement and anticipates a further $6m to be added by July as existing options convert.”

 

STRATEGIC ELEMENTS (ASX:SOR) +310%

Strategic Elements is now up 700 per cent in four months.

This small cap stock dabbles in a bit of everything: self-charging batteries, mineral exploration, AI, robotics and drones, and something called ‘nanocube memory ink’ which “mimics the human brain”.

In January, SOR made headway with its self-charging battery tech, which supposedly generates power from humidity in the air.

The result could be a battery which is less costly and doesn’t need to be recharged, it says.

 

CORE LITHIUM (ASX:CXO) +306%

The Aussie-based lithium stock says its largest shareholder has signed a binding five-year deal to supply EV maker Tesla with 75,000 tonnes per annum of lithium spodumene concentrate.

Meanwhile, Core says it is the most advanced new Australian lithium developer on the ASX, as lithium prices in China increase from 2020 lows and global EV sales ramp up.

“There are very few advanced Australian lithium projects for investors to build exposure to increasing lithium prices,” it says.

“Core has further advised the market, on an ongoing basis, that the company is receiving interest from new lithium parties for additional binding offtake and customer project finance agreements for the Finniss Lithium Project.”

 

ANSON RESOURCES (ASX:ASN) +223%

Another stock benefitting from Biden’s clean energy drive.

The US lithium hopeful is testing the performance of its Paradox Basin Brine project lithium in actual batteries. Results will be used to advance discussions with prospective off-take partners, it says.

Offtake, or making long-dated deals to sell product, help a company attract the finance required to build a project.

Anson will use ASX listed battery tester Novonix (ASX:NVX), and anticipates
testing to take 4-5 months beginning early February.

 

VULCAN ENERGY (ASX:VUL) +215%

This geothermal lithium play is now up +4000 per cent over the past year.

According to a recent study, Phase 1 of its Zero Carbon lithium project in Germany will cost about $1.09 billion to build.

That would take just five years to pay back, as Phase 1 is expected to have the low operating costs of ~$US3,816.30/t of lithium hydroxide.

Phase 2 is even cheaper.

Hydroxide in a still-subdued market currently sells for between $US7,950 and $US10,150 per tonne, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

Vulcan could do no wrong in the eyes of investors, until it argued – in response to an AFR article — “that it is not conducting a capital raise at this point in time”.

It launched a $100m cap raise five days later.