• Benchmark says LFPs may have lost their cost advantage over nickel and cobalt batteries
  • Enterprise reports “elevated lithium results” in soil sampling at Bullfinch North
  • Scorpion confirms (LCT) pegmatite potential along a 25km strike at Pharos
  • Altamin applies for two exploration licences in central Italy

 All your ASX lithium news for Monday, February 14.

 

Last year installations of lithium-ion phosphate (LFP) batteries in EVs in China overtook nickel and cobalt chemistries because of their lower cost, but Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s Henry Anderson says skyrocketing prices for lithium carbonate may have reduced that cost advantage.

The cost of LFP cells are at least 5% higher than high-nickel cells, on a dollar per kilowatt-hour basis due to surging prices.

Just last week Citigroup upgraded its lithium forecasts to US$60,000 per tonne for battery-grade carbonate.

Anderson says this highlights the pricing pressures facing Chinese LFP cell producers – which could translate into higher prices for EVs and energy storage systems.

And that pressure doesn’t look like it will be going anywhere anytime soon, with lithium deficits hanging around until 2030.

 

Here’s how ASX lithium stocks are tracking today:

 

Who’s got news out today?

Enterprise Metals (ASX:ENT)

The junior explorer reported “elevated lithium results” in soil sampling at the Matheson pegmatite, part of the ‘Bullfinch North’ project in WA.

This pegmatite (lithium host rock) was first mapped in 1939 but gold has always been the focus of exploration in the area, ENT says.

Eleven of 16 shallow soil samples collected returned lithium values equal to or greater than 50ppm, ENT says. Four results were above 60ppm.

It is generally considered that +60ppm lithium in soils associated with LCT pegmatites is significant, it says.

A bigger sampling program is now being planned.

 

 

Scorpion Minerals (ASX:SCN)

A technical review at the company’s Pharos project in WA has confirmed significant rare metal and Lithium, Caesium, Tantalum (LCT) pegmatite potential along a 25km strike.

Historic RC drilling targeting significant rock chip results (max 2.99% Li2O) intersected lithium at Poona East, including 9m at 0.77%% Li2O from surface.

The area has also seen historic exploration and small-scale production activity for tin, tantaum, tungsten and emeralds.

SCN director Bronwyn Barnes said the 25km zone adds to the PGE-nickel-copper and gold targets identified “so there is clearly strong potential for significant mineralisation within this underexplored region.”

“[Our] plans are well advanced to accelerate exploration activities as quickly as possible. These initial works will include mapping, soil and rock chip sampling and RC drilling,” she said.

 

Altamin (ASX:AZI)

The company has lodged applications for two exploration licences (ELs) in the Lazio administrative region of central Italy.

From the mid-1970s through to the 1990s more than 800 geothermal wells were drilled in the area and Altamin says early studies conducted in the 1990s suggest the potential feasibility of lithium recovery.

Test well Cesano C1 yielded brines from a depth of 1,390m with a lithium content of 350 mg/l and 380 mg/l. That’s more than the average 200 mg/l lithium concentrations of the brines of the Salton Sea geothermal field in California, which is regarded as the most significant lithium brine resource in the USA.

 

Winsome Resources (ASX:WR1)

The company is gearing up for a 2,000m winter drilling campaign at its Cancet lithium project in Quebec, which includes infill drilling on previously drilled mineralised pegmatite and testing of new targets.

“After an intense period of data gathering and interpretation it is very pleasing to have a drill plan that will increase our knowledge of the Cancet pegmatites previously identified,” MD Chris Evans said.

“It will also allow us to investigate nearby targets to the north, east and west that appear highly prospective for further lithium mineralisation.

“We are delighted to have found drilling resources so soon, allowing us to commence a drilling program by the end of February 2022.”

Winsome has had some success to date in using a magnetic survey to identify pegmatites, and has commissioned an enhanced magnetic survey over the entire Cancet property (395 claims).

This is expected to be completed by the end of March 2022, providing the basis for the field exploration program due to commence on the property in the spring (April/May 2022).

 

Lake Resources (ASX:LKE)

The project developer has brought forward a US$15 million exploration project across its 100% owned Olaroz, Cauchari and Paso projects as part of its newly announced TARGET 100 program.

That is double the capacity of its planned Kachi lithium brine project, which has already doubled in planned capacity for an upcoming DFS.

Lake says the scalability of its direct lithium extraction method will be a key to its rapid ascent to 100,000tpa over the next eight years.

To put the scale in context, Allkem (ASX:AKE) – one of the largest lithium producers on the ASX and a $6 billion company – produces around 12,600tpa of battery and technical grade lithium carbonate currently at its Olaroz project.

“Direct lithium extraction, to be used on Lake’s multiple lithium projects, can deliver scalable projects faster to market and supply rapidly increasing demand,” Lake MD Steve Promnitz said.

Chairman Stu Crow said discussions were already under way with potential partners “to assist to assist the fast-tracking of these assets into production … as part of Lake’s ongoing discussions with battery metals customers and Lake’s desire to become an integrated and valuable part of the global supply chains.”