High Voltage: 2023 could be cobalt’s breakout year
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Our High Voltage column wraps all the news driving ASX stocks with exposure to lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel, rare earths, manganese, magnesium, and vanadium.
92% of vanadium consumption is used to strengthen steel. Of the remainder, most is used in aerospace alloys and chemical catalysts, and ~1-2% goes into vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs).
Unlike lithium-ion, VRFBs – a perfect fit for large stationary storage — are yet to have their ‘big battery’ moment.
If they do, vanadium demand could go parabolic.
While we need to take anything China state-affiliated media says with a handful of salt there has been rumblings of some big developments in China in 2022.
This, announced yesterday, looks promising.
The first phase of a power storage utility with a storage capacity of 400 MWh was put into operation in #China‘s Dalian. Working like a “power bank”, the utility is supported by the vanadium flow battery energy storage technology developed by Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics. pic.twitter.com/QdavO6LZ9F
— China Economy (@CE_ChinaEconomy) November 1, 2022
While cobalt crashed back to earth in 2022, Jervois Global (ASX:JRV) — which recently opened the USA’s only cobalt mine — says the market has now stabilised and will accelerate in 2023.
“The outlook remains positive for 2023 and beyond,” JRV says in its latest quarterly report.
“The growth in battery sector demand is poised to accelerate, the consumer electronics sector is expected to recover, while demand in traditional industrial uses is expected to grow broadly in line with global GDP.
“Looking to 2023, Jervois’s customers will carry inventory across the remainder of 2022 and into early 2023, and cobalt sales are expected to begin accelerating across next year as the situation both improves, and electric vehicle penetration rates continue to rise.
“Jervois’s commercial team are in active negotiations with major European, U.S. and Japanese battery plants regarding a significant uptick in cobalt demand that is steadily projected across 2023, and then aggressively from early 2024.”
Here’s how a basket of ASX stocks with exposure to lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel, rare earths, magnesium, manganese, and vanadium is performing>>>
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The former $3m market cap minnow grabbed all the headlines after hitting niobium-rare earths paydirt in its first hole at the P2 target, part of the West Arunta project in remote WA.
All up, the WA1 share price is up an astounding 1,321% since this announcement was released Wednesday last week.
It is currently in trading halt to answer a price and volume query from the ASX.
Feeling the nearology love last week was $10m market cap explorer NWM, which has a rare earths-lithium-IOCG project ~90km away from WA1 called Arunta West.
In the June quarter the company completed a program of field mapping, rock chip collection, and infill soil sampling.
A staged drilling program across some REE, lithium, and IOCG target anomalies is planned to commence after the wet season earlier next year.
In a phone call with Stockhead, NWM boss Charles Schaus said the explorer had already defined a large 3km by 2km rare earth anomaly “that we want to drill as soon as we can get up there”.
It is also examining some WA1 discovery lookalikes on its own tenure for priority testing.
A weird but ultimately decent week for the explorer after it staked a project right next door to Canada’s only operating lithium mine, Tanco, which has reserves of 7.Mt at 2.76%.
That’s high grade.
KOB’s 145km2 Whitlock project in Manitoba lies within the Bird River Greenstone belt which hosts several other significant lithium deposits, it says.
Extensive pegmatites have already been mapped at Whitlock, with an initial field program to commence in the coming days.
After gaining 136% in early trade Thursday the $17m market cap company went into a trading halt pending a “clarifying announcement”.
The subsequent explanation from the company emphasised that, nearology notwithstanding, no economic mineralisation had been found on the property in the past.
“… the company has reviewed all the relevant reports associated with the 81 holes drilled within the project area during previous exploration for gold, copper, nickel, PGE’s, chrome, uranium and lithium, and that there are no material results from the 81 holes, other than the intersection of several pegmatites during exploration for uranium (that were not assayed for lithium), as noted in the announcement.”
Still up +100% for the week.