Explorers on the hunt for cobalt and lithium enjoyed big gains on Thursday.

The battery industry is seeing unprecedented demand as electric vehicle manufacturers move to displace the grip the internal combustion engine has over the automotive industry.

Demand for electric car batteries is expected to drive demand for cobalt eight-fold by 2025, according to Morgan Stanley. Rechargeable lithium ion batteries have already displaced electronics as the biggest consumer of lithium (53 per cent of demand in 2017).

Venture Minerals (ASX:VMS) led the charge with its share price spike of 53.9 per cent to a high of 6c before retracing some of its gains to close at 5.4c — still a 38.5 per cent gain.

Investors got excited over news the company had pegged additional exploration licences near Golden Mile’s Quicksilver nickel-cobalt discovery announced earlier in November.

“We’ve done our interpretation and we’ve seen some other similar style targets to the Quicksilver deposit that Golden Mile Resources discovered,” technical director Andrew Radonjic told Stockhead.

Cazaly Resources (ASX:CAZ) shares followed suit, reaching a high of 5.7c — a 35.7 per cent increase — after releasing high-grade cobalt results from rock chip sampling at its Bungonia project in New South Wales. The shares closed up 26.2 per cent at 5.3c.

Results confirm the presence of shallow high-grade cobalt of up to 1.4 per cent over a 15km strike extent, the company told investors.

Celsius Resources (ASX:CLA) hit a 52-week high of 15c on news that metallurgical tests showed it could recover up to 88 per cent cobalt and 87.3 per cent of copper from ore taken from its Opuwo project in Namibia. Shares closed the day 12.5 per cent higher at 13.5c.

Testing has focused on maximising recovery of sulphide minerals into a mineral concentrate.

A concentrate grade of 1.11 per cent was achieved during the initial 2 minutes of a conventional flotation process, with 64.2 per cent of the cobalt recovered in that time.

Lithium movers

Sayona Mining (ASX: SYA) made gains on the back of news that metallurgical testwork achieved 6 per cent lithium concentrate grades at 80 per cent recoveries or better from its Authier project.

Shares rose as much as 11.5 per cent to 5.8c before edging back to 5.2c on Thursday.

Sayona last week hit a 52-week high of 6c, marking a 500 per cent gain since early October. Earlier in November, the company revealed it had struck a partnership with China-based battery manufacturer Huan Changyuan Lico to advance the Authier project.

Sayona now plans to undertake pilot metallurgical testing to generate data for a definitive feasibility study of the project.

Lithium play Lepidico (ASX:LPD) (formerly Platypus Minerals) climbed to an intra-day high of 7.1c – marking a nearly 6 per cent gain over the prior day — on no news. The company has come back a bit from its 52-week high of 8.4c. The shares slipped back to 7c, notching a 3 per cent gain.

Lithium giant Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) recently agreed to take a 12 per cent stake in minnow Lepidico under a plan to develop Lepidico’s extraction and recovery technology, L-Max.

Shares in Argosy Minerals (ASX:AGY), which is developing the Rincon lithium project in Argentina, gained 4.4 per cent on Thursday to reach 23.5c. By the closing bell, shares dipped back to the prior day’s closing price of 22.5c.

Last week, Argosy announced it had completed due diligence and would go ahead with the acquisition of the Mina Tincal tenement that adjoins the Rincon project.