It was a sea of mostly red on the ASX on Wednesday, but there were a couple of stocks in the battery metals space that managed to keep their head above water and even make some gains.

Dark Horse Resources (ASX:DHR) strengthened its position, adding 5 per cent to its share price to close at 2.1c – placing it closer to the 52-week peak of 3.4c it reached earlier in January. The shares have shot up over 560 per cent since early August last year.

The company is focused on lithium in Argentina. South America’s “lithium triangle”, which extends through Chile, Argentina and Bolivia, hosts over half the world’s lithium resources.

A report released earlier this week found that the lithium industry is forecast to reposition from a second or third-tier industry to a first-tier “strategically important industry central to the world’s economy”, retaining the title for at least the next two decades.

Storing energy in batteries is a rapidly growing disruptor and lithium is expected to remain the key material component of these batteries well beyond 2030.

Dark Horse has lithium projects in the provinces of San Luis and Cordoba through an option to acquire Argentinian company Pampa Litio.

The Pampa Litio deal covers four licences in the San Luis province spanning 34,000 hectares, and five mining licences and one exploration licence for the Las Tapias mine in Cordoba province.

Dark Horse told investors on Wednesday that it has lifted its exploration target to between 75 million tonnes and 100 million tonnes of lithium at grades of between 0.9 per cent and 1.5 per cent.

The previous exploration target was 30 million tonnes to 60 million tonnes at the same grade.

The increase follows “highly encouraging” initial results from sampling done at the Las Tapias mine during the December quarter.

Investor appetite for Spanish cobalt

Riedel Resources (ASX:RIE) closed up 4.65 per cent at 9c on Wednesday after it told investors it is fast-tracking exploration at its Carmenes cobalt and copper project in Spain.

The company has gained 900 per cent since mid-July last year when it bottomed at 0.9c.

RIE shares over the past year.
Riedel Resources (ASX:RIE) shares over the past year.

Riedel has identified potentially mineralised structures extending for 3km and remaining open along the Profunda trend and over a distance of more than 1.2km at the Fontun prospect.

The La Profunda mine historically produced over 100,000 tonnes of ore containing 38,000 tonnes of high-grade cobalt and copper concentrate.

Cobalt is another battery metal that has attracted strong investor interest in the past few years.

This is largely due to rising demand from electric vehicle makers and constrained supply. Cobalt is a component of the lithium ion battery technology used in electric cars.

There are currently around two million electric vehicles on the road and that is set to rocket to over 500 million by 2040 by Bloomberg’s estimates.

With the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is home to around half the world’s cobalt, facing increasing scrutiny over ethical issues surrounding mining of the commodity, consumers are looking for security of supply from other jurisdictions.