ASX-listed lithium plays are enjoying gains this morning on the back of Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) big $776m takeover play for lithium developer Kidman Resources (ASX:KDR).

Looks like this guy picked it early. Like, a month ago.

Anyway, after months of declines, lithium producers are up; Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) by 10 per cent, Altura Mining (ASX:AJM) by 13.6 per cent, Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) by 5 per cent and Orocobre (ASX:ORE) by 3.35 per cent.

There’s even some action at the junior end of the pool, with Liontown (ASX:LTR), Birimian (ASX:BGS), Lepidico (ASX:LPD) and Ioneer (ASX:INR) (amongst others) all up in morning trade.

In other ASX battery metals news today:

Metals Australia (ASX:MLS) hits more near surface high grade graphite at the Lac Rainy project. The maiden diamond drilling campaign at the explorer’s Canadian project has been a successful one so far, with graphite intersected in every single hole drilled to date.Right now, the Lac Rainy deposit is 1km long and growing. After drilling is done and dusted, Metals Australia will launch a detailed metallurgical study to help discussions with potential end-user groups, says director Gino D’Anna.

“Given the strategic location of the Lac Rainy project, our focus is on defining potential end-user groups across North America,” he says.

Resources juniors aren’t known for paying dividends, but Neometals (ASX:NMT)  is different. The $116 million company is rewarding shareholders with another 2c dividend, worth $11 million all up. The dividend marks the fourth consecutive dividend payment made by Neometals in as many financial years, with cumulative dividends to shareholders now amounting to about $39 million.

The company is flush with cash after selling its share of the Mt Marion lithium mine for $103.8 million last quarter. After the dividend payment it will have about $116 million to play with as it advances a number of core projects. These include a Canadian lithium-ion battery recycling business, as well as  a titanium/ vanadium project and lithium refinery development, both in WA.


First Cobalt (ASX: FCC) has snapped up a 6 per cent stake in fellow Canadian company eCobalt at a 14 per cent premium to the last closing share price.

First Cobalt paid 37.5 Canadian cents a share for its 6 per stake in the TSX-listed eCobalt, which has just struck a “friendly” $C58m ($61m) all-scrip merger deal with Jervois Mining (ASX:JRV). Under the deal, Jervois will issue 1.65 of its own shares for every eCobalt share held, which equates to an implied offer price of 36c Canadian cents.