ASX battery metals in July: Nickel wins the month with Greenland explorer Conico up 104pc
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Nickel is a hot commodity right now (thanks Elon) with BloombergNEF predicting prices will continue to hover around US$18,000/t this year and that the market may slip to a 128,000t deficit around 2024.
It’s no surprise then, that explorer Conico Ltd (ASX:CNJ) is top of the charts this month, up a massive 104% off the back of news it hit sulphide mineralisation in the first hole at its Ryberg project in Greenland.
While it is still early days, the intersection of sulphides in the first hole justifies the company’s aggressive drill program with three rigs operating 24 hours a day to drill a minimum of 5,000m – up to a maximum of 10,000m.
Previous surface sampling at the Miki prospect had returned up to 2.2% copper, 0.8% nickel, 0.1% cobalt, 3.3g/t palladium and 0.2g/t gold and the company is aiming to determine whether a concentration of similar mineralisation exists at depth.
Across the spectrum, it was another stellar month for stocks with an interest in battery metals – 93 of the 124 in our list finished July in the green.
Here’s a table showing how ASX-listed battery metals stocks have been performing.
Riding the quarterly wave is Archer Materials (ASX:AXE) which jumped 58% off news it’s, um, getting out of the graphite game. Archer’s now focused on semiconductors.
With BloombergNEF forecasting that demand for graphite could rise 37% in 2021 to 446,914, and 297% by the end of the decade, that might seem an odd move.
But while the company has sold its two Eyre Peninsula tenements to ChemX Materials – which is set to list in the coming months – shareholders will retain exposure to any exploration success through Archer’s ChemX shareholding and a tidy 2% net smelter return royalty.
Aldoro Resources (ASX:ARN) rose 54% this month after news it found two additional drill ready targets at its flagship Narndee Igneous Complex (NIC) – which is prospective for nickel-copper-PGE mineralisation.
In July the company announced its plans to expand the footprint of its Windimurra lithium project in Western Australia’s Mt Magnet region with the acquisition of two projects.
It’s a good move. Benchmark Mineral Intelligence forecasts demand to grow seven-fold to 2.3 million tonnes over the 10 years to 2030, with a market deficit growing to around one million tonnes – around three times the 2020 global supply.
Prospect increased its ownership in the tier 1 Arcadia lithium project in Zimbabwe by 17% to 87%.
Arcadia has a high grade JORC mineral resource of 43.2 million tonnes at 1.45% lithium oxide and 119 parts per million tantalum pentoxide for 61.5 million tonnes of lithium oxide and 11.3 million pounds of tantalum pentoxide.
An optimised feasibility study is due in Q3 this year, and with offtake partners secured and a pilot plant up and running, it looks to be one of the most advanced ASX-listed lithium plays.
But, proving that nickel is king right now, Poseidon was up with no nickel news out since the start of July, detailing results from drilling at the Golden Swan project.
The best intercept was 2.1m at 13.79% nickel, including 1.3m at 12.07% and 0.8m at 16.5%, and the company reckons it’s on track to deliver a maiden resource in the September quarter.
At a 50% increase this month was Lepidico (ASX:LPD) off a detailed quarterly which highlighted the milestone step of its Phase 1 Karibib project transitioning to the development phase.
The company is pretty confident that key product supply agreements and project funding are on the near horizon – with lithium chemical prices continuing to rise off the back of a strengthening demand outlook and predictions that a supply deficit will emerge later this year.
“This makes for a very positive industry environment as we bring Phase 1 onstream,” the company said.
And Essential Metals (ASX:ESS) was up 47% off news that Black Cat Syndicate Limited has completed stage 1 of the Balagundi gold and base metals project farm-in agreement and has elected to proceed with stage 2 – to earn a 75% interest by spending a further $450,000 within the next three years.
Plus, a 5,000m air-core/hammer drilling program is underway to test for new lithium-bearing pegmatites near ‘Dome North’ lithium deposit at the company’s Pioneer Dome lithium project in WA.