Each week our High Voltage column wraps all the news driving ASX battery metals stocks with exposure to lithium, cobalt, graphite, manganese and vanadium.

Let’s start with the “fake news” about lithium.

INDUSTRY FOCUS

Battery metals stocks lovers take heart, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence reckons past rumours of a lithium oversupply has created a “false narrative” (or fake news as US President Donald Trump would say) that the “industry was awash with battery-grade lithium chemicals”.

But in actual fact there is still far from enough lithium to meet the needs of tomorrow’s electric vehicle (EV) expansions, according to Benchmark.

While the slide in the lithium price has led to producers reporting weaker financials, Benchmark said the more worrying trend was the mass exodus of investors from lithium stocks, which sent share prices into a nosedive for many and created a growing shortfall of capital to fund the next generation of lithium expansions.

“Spectators that flocked to the market in 2016 on the promise of an EV super-cycle have left before the warm-up, let alone the main event,” Benchmark said.

“While a downturn in prices has reflected a necessary correction towards near-term market fundamentals, it fails to represent the increasing possibility of another major deficit in the market by the early-2020s, creating a deceptive narrative in both share prices and surrounding markets.”

This is largely due to delays or projects shelved in weaker market conditions.

“These delays and misleading timelines add to the myth of oversupply,” Benchmark said.

“If all expansions had been taken at face-value at the height of the market, we would see almost an additional 500,000 tonnes of lithium chemical capacity by 2020. In reality this figure will be less than 40 per cent of this number.”

Demand for lithium is also going to be substantial from the energy storage market, according to Lithium Australia boss Adrian Griffin.

“Australia at the moment leads the pack in terms of energy storage applications, as indeed it leads the pack in solar installations,” he told Stockhead on the sidelines of this week’s Diggers & Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie.

“The two to some extent go hand in hand. People are just starting to back up their solar with batteries. It has already been a very lucrative market in Australia.”

SMALL CAP SPOTLIGHT

This “false narrative” is definitely reflected in the one-year returns of the 150+ stocks in Stockhead’s battery metals list.

Over 81 per cent of the ASX-listed players with exposure to lithium, cobalt, graphite, manganese and vanadium have wiped off between 2 per cent and 94 per cent of their value in the past 12 months.

In the past week though the picture looks a little better, with around 27 per cent making gains of up to 167 per cent, 32 per cent remaining steady and around 41 per cent losing ground.

Sabre Resources (ASX:SBR), which has exposure to vanadium, was the biggest mover of the week with a 167 per cent increase.

Though its advance was due to it picking up a gold project in the Youanmi region of Western Australia and completing an oversubscribed capital raising.

Meanwhile, Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT) made a maiden discovery of up to 3 per cent lithium oxide close to surface on its exploration ground in the Youanmi region.

The region has proven to be a hot spot for high-grade gold, but just like other highly fertile gold regions, such as the Pilbara, Youanmi is now proving prospective for lithium.

Even better for Lithium Australia is the fact the lithium looks like it could be amenable to the company’s patented processing tech.

“The lithium is hosted in lepidolite, a lithium mica ideally suited to processing by our proprietary SiLeach® technology,” Griffin said.

“Initial results suggest Youanmi could provide critical local feedstock for our lithium-cathode and battery business units.”

Lithium Australia shares didn’t budge this week though.

Lithium Consolidated (ASX:LI3) is up 37 per cent after raising $3.2m.

MetalsTech (ASX:MTC) got a nice 27 per cent kick after it told investors it banked $2m – 95 per cent of its original claim – from a Canadian tax refund.

Lithium Power International (ASX:LPI) is up 12 per cent in the past week after landing a pretty sweet deal with Chile’s largest copper miner, state-owned Codelco.

Besides being one of the largest copper producers in the world, Codelco owns a big portion of the Maricunga Salar (salt lake) in Chile and now plans to combine its assets with Lithium Power’s Maricunga project.

Lithium Power CFO Andrew Phillips told Stockhead late last week that Codelco wasn’t as advanced on its landholding as Lithium Power was.

“They’ve got a team of people on the salar now, but they’re way behind where we are and it made sense that we would join together,” he said.

The public-private alliance is expected to make the joint venture the third lithium producer in Chile.

Here’s a table of ASX battery metal stocks with exposure to lithium, cobalt, graphite, manganese and vanadium>>>

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort. Best viewed on a laptop:

ASX Code Company Price Aug 5 (Intra-Day) Market Cap 1-Year % Change 1-Week % Change
SBR SABRE RESOURCES LTD 0.009 1627894.375 -47 167
VMC VENUS METALS CORP LTD 0.255 27175526 98 42
LI3 LITHIUM CONSOLIDATED LTD 0.065 5069814 -49 37
SRK STRIKE RESOURCES LTD 0.068 11532264 20 27
MTC METALSTECH LTD 0.019 1637354.375 -81 27
SI6 SIX SIGMA METALS LTD 0.005 2247512.5 -55 25
AYR ALLOY RESOURCES LTD 0.0025 3386555.25 -58 25
THR THOR MINING PLC-CDI 0.014 11503056 -67 25
AGY ARGOSY MINERALS LTD 0.115 131885280 -33 20
SRN SUREFIRE RESOURCES NL 0.006 2515768.25 -57 20
ARE ARGONAUT RESOURCES NL 0.006 9326284 -78 20
BAR BARRA RESOURCES LTD 0.023 12394487 -33 18
JRL JINDALEE RESOURCES LTD 0.375 10851880 27 17
INF INFINITY LITHIUM CORP LTD 0.082 15152891 8 17
NWC NEW WORLD COBALT LTD 0.016 12353983 -69 14
MEI METEORIC RESOURCES NL 0.031 28448106 0 14
RNU RENASCOR RESOURCES LTD 0.017 19608214 -23 13
SVD SCANDIVANADIUM LTD 0.009 2814928.75 -64 13
LPI LITHIUM POWER INTERNATIONAL 0.38 89254728 28 12
MZZ MATADOR MINING LIMITED 0.3 29581250 -3 11
VML VITAL METALS LTD 0.013 20911336 50 9
RIE RIEDEL RESOURCES LTD 0.012 5016836.5 -66 9
GLN GALAN LITHIUM LTD 0.17 24573512 -30 9
KSN KINGSTON RESOURCES LTD 0.019 25170028 -25 6
ARL ARDEA RESOURCES LTD 0.465 50949804 -43 6
WKT WALKABOUT RESOURCES LTD 0.295 98207104 146 5
BSX BLACKSTONE MINERALS LTD 0.1 14683658 -23 5
VR8 VANADIUM RESOURCES LTD 0.08 28165490 -56 5
EUC EUROPEAN COBALT LTD 0.023 15995644 -59 5
TMT TECHNOLOGY METALS AUSTRALIA 0.22 18824146 -71 5
HRZ HORIZON MINERALS LTD 0.14 57776652 -18 4
NVA NOVA MINERALS LTD 0.029 21576622 12 4
PLL PIEDMONT LITHIUM LTD 0.14 118230152 -19 4
DEV DEVEX RESOURCES LTD 0.06 7983034.5 -17 3
SO4 SALT LAKE POTASH LTD 0.8 194884608 56 3
BPL BROKEN HILL PROSPECTING LTD 0.034 5175919 -53 3
JMS JUPITER MINES LTD 0.39 822776256 46 3
NZC NZURI COPPER LTD 0.325 97648816 61 2
BEM BLACKEARTH MINERALS NL 0.07 6251680 -47 1
DGR DGR GLOBAL LTD 0.105 57639096 9 1
TNG TNG LTD 0.096 110205424 -21 1
CHN CHALICE GOLD MINES LTD 0.175 43850900 51 0
SVM SOVEREIGN METALS LTD 0.115 41316472 35 0
BOA BOADICEA RESOURCES LTD 0.165 8719453 32 0
GBE GLOBE METALS AND MINING LTD 0.019 8852525 27 0
POS POSEIDON NICKEL LTD 0.041 108350776 2 0
KOR KORAB RESOURCES LTD 0.028 8881586 0 0
EMH EUROPEAN METALS HLDS LT-CDI 0.4 58656892 -2 0
E25 ELEMENT 25 LTD 0.19 17462382 -3 0
VRC VOLT RESOURCES LTD 0.018 25097506 -16 0
CRL COMET RESOURCES LTD 0.03 8325000 -30 0
BDI BLINA MINERALS NL 0.001 4593882.5 -33 0
DTM DART MINING NL 0.005 5086880.5 -38 0
HNR HANNANS LTD 0.01 19879546 -38 0
KAI KAIROS MINERALS LTD 0.018 15340911 -42 0
RMX RED MOUNTAIN MINING LTD 0.004 3112147 -43 0
JRV JERVOIS MINING LTD 0.2 129603776 -43 0
CMC CHINA MAGNESIUM CORP LTD 0.011 5086824 -45 0
AZI ALTA ZINC LTD 0.003 5464903 -45 0
MTH MITHRIL RESOURCES LTD 0.006 2111946 -46 0
SUH SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE MINING 0.032 2831023 -47 0
PLS PILBARA MINERALS LTD 0.47 897938880 -47 0
AEE AURA ENERGY LTD 0.01 14941770 -48 0
4CE FORCE COMMODITIES LTD 0.021 9923095 -50 0
BAT BATTERY MINERALS LTD 0.014 17135190 -53 0
LIT LITHIUM AUSTRALIA NL 0.053 27186232 -54 0
HIP HIPO RESOURCES LTD 0.009 3478594 -55 0
GME GME RESOURCES LTD 0.058 29362090 -55 0
MLM METALLICA MINERALS LTD 0.017 5508806 -55 0
DHR DARK HORSE RESOURCES LTD 0.004 8098486.5 -60 0
RLC REEDY LAGOON CORP LTD 0.005 2011358.5 -62 0
CFE CAPE LAMBERT RESOURCES LTD 0.01 11219205 -68 0
WML WOOMERA MINING LTD 0.03 3381133 -70 0
GPP GREENPOWER ENERGY LTD 0.0015 2002245.25 -70 0
POW PROTEAN ENERGY LTD 0.008 2491498 -72 0
ADV ARDIDEN LTD 0.003 5071560.5 -75 0
MTB MOUNT BURGESS MINING NL 0.002 970258.8125 -75 0
CZN CORAZON MINING LTD 0.003 3261377.25 -75 0
PNN PEPINNINI LITHIUM LTD 0.004 3714035.25 -76 0
AUZ AUSTRALIAN MINES LTD 0.018 62005364 -76 0
AVL AUSTRALIAN VANADIUM LTD 0.013 25659970 -76 0
PSM PENINSULA MINES LTD 0.003 2025744.125 -78 0
HGM HIGH GRADE METALS LTD 0.008 3623503 -79 0
CGM COUGAR METALS NL 0.001 1176583.25 -80 0
LML LINCOLN MINERALS LTD 0.005 2874918.5 -81 0
SYA SAYONA MINING LTD 0.008 12058020 -81 0
LRS LATIN RESOURCES LTD 0.001 3892466.5 -83 0
PUR PURSUIT MINERALS LTD 0.009 2007246 -91 0
WCN WHITE CLIFF MINERALS LTD 0.004 1881399.5 -94 0
KDR KIDMAN RESOURCES LTD 1.8975 765067072 34 0
OMH OM HOLDINGS LTD 0.785 590898688 -38 -1
FGR FIRST GRAPHENE LTD 0.24 116063600 43 -2
HXG HEXAGON RESOURCES LTD 0.09 26552290 -47 -2
ZNC ZENITH MINERALS LTD 0.08 16595446 -57 -3
NMT NEOMETALS LTD 0.19 103443264 -31 -3
N27 NORTHERN COBALT LTD 0.032 2112313.75 -78 -3
SEI SPECIALITY METALS INTERNATIO 0.031 27325242 48 -3
HAV HAVILAH RESOURCES LTD 0.145 31646112 -39 -3
BKT BLACK ROCK MINING LTD 0.084 51528476 77 -3
BYH BRYAH RESOURCES LTD 0.075 5103240.5 -20 -4
GED GOLDEN DEEPS LTD 0.026 5514100.5 -37 -4
ORE OROCOBRE LTD 2.75 737932160 -36 -4
LPD LEPIDICO LTD 0.024 105568040 -13 -4
KTA KRAKATOA RESOURCES LTD 0.024 3105000 -20 -4
CAZ CAZALY RESOURCES LTD 0.022 6332967.5 -39 -4
BUX BUXTON RESOURCES LTD 0.105 14966098 -42 -4
ASN ANSON RESOURCES LTD 0.039 21998472 -64 -5
BSM BASS METALS LTD 0.009 25288872 -65 -5
INR IONEER LTD 0.175 272871936 -39 -5
PM1 PURE MINERALS LTD 0.017 7822779 31 -6
TON TRITON MINERALS LTD 0.046 43575492 -21 -6
MIN MINERAL RESOURCES LTD 15.195 3084816640 -2 -6
GPX GRAPHEX MINING LTD 0.22 22645172 -2 -6
LTR LIONTOWN RESOURCES LTD 0.14 215513936 423 -7
TAR TARUGA MINERALS LTD 0.027 4093850 -80 -7
AML AEON METALS LTD 0.185 124517896 -46 -8
CLQ CLEAN TEQ HOLDINGS LTD 0.375 298584096 -46 -8
CUL CULLEN RESOURCES LTD 0.012 2033577.875 -42 -8
COB COBALT BLUE HOLDINGS LTD 0.12 18737816 -78 -8
IDA INDIANA RESOURCES LTD 0.023 3103616.75 -55 -8
TLG TALGA RESOURCES LTD 0.41 93305712 -19 -9
AMD ARROW MINERALS LTD 0.01 4086946.75 -50 -9
GXY GALAXY RESOURCES LTD 1.225 517818048 -55 -9
MQR MARQUEE RESOURCES LIMITED 0.095 4135834.75 -64 -10
AVZ AVZ MINERALS LTD 0.054 126728168 -55 -10
AJM ALTURA MINING LTD 0.1 208295328 -64 -10
MRR MINREX RESOURCES LTD 0.009 862899.5625 -76 -10
PSC PROSPECT RESOURCES LTD 0.175 44830836 -38 -10
CXO CORE LITHIUM LTD 0.042 33107830 -24 -11
SYR SYRAH RESOURCES LTD 0.845 351368224 -70 -11
CZR COZIRON RESOURCES LTD 0.014 26783270 7 -12
FEL FE LTD 0.015 7312559 -29 -12
PIO PIONEER RESOURCES LTD 0.016 22631382 -35 -12
LCD LATITUDE CONSOLIDATED LTD 0.015 4127685 -52 -12
NXE NEW ENERGY MINERALS LTD 0.02 3017908.75 -87 -13
PAN PANORAMIC RESOURCES LTD 0.33 188218048 -37 -13
LKE LAKE RESOURCES NL 0.064 31563706 -35 -14
CHK COHIBA MINERALS LTD 0.011 7975371 71 -14
ANW AUS TIN MINING LTD 0.007 15509807 -54 -14
MLL MALI LITHIUM LTD 0.12 34386316 -66 -14
MNS MAGNIS ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES L 0.185 119171520 -48 -16
AXE ARCHER EXPLORATION LTD 0.13 26607390 28 -17
MCT METALICITY LTD 0.01 5619802.5 -50 -17
HWK HAWKSTONE MINING LTD 0.015 11045088 -55 -17
KNL KIBARAN RESOURCES LTD 0.095 29262096 -37 -17
CNJ CONICO LTD 0.01 3517582.5 -67 -18
PGM PLATINA RESOURCES LTD 0.036 9772671 -54 -20
CLA CELSIUS RESOURCES LTD 0.022 16658798 -83 -20
MZN MARINDI METALS LTD 0.001 2248371 -87 -20
IEC INTRA ENERGY CORP LTD 0.01 4652688.5 -23 -23
TKL TRAKA RESOURCES LTD 0.011 4445555.5 -66 -27
MLS METALS AUSTRALIA LTD 0.0015 5854395.5 -75 -50