Each week Stockhead’s High Voltage column wraps all the news impacting ASX stocks with exposure to battery metals such as lithium, cobalt, graphite, manganese and vanadium:

Vanadium shattered the $US30/lb ceiling last week and kept going — but the sky-high spot prices haven’t trickled down into share increases for ASX vanadium focused juniors.

Cobalt prices continue to remain steady around $60,000/t.

And when it comes to lithium, don’t believe the bearish headlines – many contracted prices have actually been increasing this year and even exceeded the China spot price for the first time in the September quarter.

Most lithium is traded in long-term contracts, so while Chinese ‘spot’ or ‘internal’ prices for lithium carbonate have fallen back dramatically, they represent only a small portion of total purchases.

And even these prices have also steadied – which could mean good times ahead.

>> Scroll down for a table showing the recent performance of 200 ASX battery metal stocks

Overall, it was another “three steps back” kind of week, with a Thursday bloodbath resulting in the ASX Small Ords closing at yearly low.

The ASX Small Ords — a measure of small cap ASX stocks -- over the past 12 months.
The ASX Small Ords — a measure of small cap ASX stocks — over the past 12 months.

Micro caps Red Mountain Mining — cobalt (ASX:RMX), Golden Deeps — vanadium (ASX:GED), and Latitude Consolidated – lithium (ASX:LCD) all made the largest percentage gains last week.

Kidman Resources (ASX:KDR), up 16 per cent to $1.07 last week, scored a $US100m loan from joint venture partner SQM to partially fund construction at its Mt Holland lithium project in Western Australia.

The share price of vanadium developer Technology Metals Australia (ASX:TMT) received a 7.2 per cent bump to 52c – representing a 166 per cent increase for the year.

But much of the action was at the other end.

Even Global Geoscience (ASX:GSC) – which claimed its Rhyolite Ridge project will be the world’s lowest cost lithium project — finished the week 8 per cent lower.

Explorer Cobalt Blue (ASX:COB) was the weeks biggest loser. It’s share price dropped 30 per cent to 21c after telling investors it wouldn’t rush a final feasibility study on its Thackaringa cobalt project to meet a mid-2019 deadline – forfeiting its chance to grab full ownership.

Industry News

Despite bearish headlines about oversupply fears, many lithium prices are increasing, according to new Roskill analysis.

While Chinese ‘spot’ or ‘internal’ prices for lithium carbonate have fallen back dramatically, they represent only a small portion of total lithium carbonate purchases.

“[Contracted carbonate prices] have been steadily increasing throughout 2018 and actually exceeded the China spot price for the first time in [the September quarter of] 2018,” said David Merriman, lithium supply specialist at Roskill.

Roskill expects prices to increase steadily as contracts are renegotiated between miners and consumers.

And good news for all Aussie lithium miners and explorers — despite expansions at existing mines and the commissioning of new mines, supply will still struggle to keep pace with demand.

Australian mines represent all current hard rock lithium operations in production. Source: Pilbara Minerals
Australian mines represent all current producing hard rock lithium operations. Source: Pilbara Minerals

ASX graphite stocks could get a real boost next year when Chinese exporters of the battery metal get hit with a 25 per cent US tariff.

That’s good news for Australian graphite producers because it means US steel-makers, battery and car manufacturers may look elsewhere for supply.

And nickel miners are increasingly pivoting towards battery-grade nickel production for the coming EV and stationary storage boom, delegates at the Nickel Conference 2018 in Perth heard.

Nickel is already the most significant metal in lithium-ion battery cathodes used in EVs.

Michael Rodriguez, chief operating officer at emerging producer Poseidon Nickel (ASX:POS), said “300,000 tonnes of nickel going into the battery industry in the next two years is certainly possible”.

The current nickel market is roughly 2.2 million tonnes, of which over 70 per cent is still consumed in stainless steel.

“There’s a number of views on this, but what I can say is technology adoption always happens faster than we think it will,” he said.

“By 2023, I think that [EV] penetration will be better than what we are forecasting.”

Here’s a table showing the recent performance of 200 ASX battery metal stocks:

ASX code Company Focus One price week change 12-month price change Price Oct 26 (intraday) Market Cap
AML AEON METALS cobalt -0.138461538462 0.4 0.28 164.1M
AYR ALLOY RESOURCES cobalt 0 -0.2 0.004 6.3M
AZI ALTA ZINC cobalt 0 -0.666666666667 0.005 6.8M
AJM ALTURA MINING lithium -0.0681818181818 -0.316666666667 0.205 373.2M
ADN ANDROMEDA METALS lithium 0.166666666667 0.4 0.007 7.6M
ASN ANSON RESOURCES lithium -0.04 0.894736842105 0.072 36.1M
ARU ARAFURA RESOURCE vanadium 0 -0.422413793103 0.067 41.6M
AXE ARCHER EXPLORATI cobalt -0.12 -0.0571428571429 0.066 13.0M
ARL ARDEA RESOURCES cobalt -0.099173553719 -0.470873786408 0.545 57.7M
ADV ARDIDEN lithium -0.125 -0.5 0.007 10.9M
ARE ARGONAUT RESOURC lithium -0.142857142857 -0.0526315789474 0.018 26.4M
AGY ARGOSY MINERALS lithium -0.0952380952381 -0.208333333333 0.19 175.5M
AMD ARROW MINERALS L lithium -0.0588235294118 -0.733333333333 0.016 5.5M
AGO ATLAS IRON lithium 0 1.64705882353 0.045 432.9M
AEE AURA ENERGY lithium -0.0526315789474 -0.25 0.018 19.3M
AUR AURIS MINERALS L vanadium -0.0681818181818 -0.369230769231 0.041 16.8M
AOU AUROCH MINERALS lithium -0.126315789474 -0.563157894737 0.083 8.3M
ARM AURORA MINERALS lithium 0.136363636364 -0.375 0.025 2.9M
ANW AUS TIN MINING L cobalt -0.0526315789474 1 0.018 35.6M
AUZ AUSTRALIAN MINES cobalt -0.153846153846 -0.459016393443 0.033 84.2M
AVL AUSTRALIAN VANAD lithium -0.025 1.4375 0.039 62.3M
AVZ AVZ MINERALS lithium -0.217391304348 -0.693617021277 0.072 132.2M
BAR BARRA RESOURCES cobalt 0.0263157894737 -0.025 0.039 20.2M
BSM BASS METALS lithium 0 0.571428571429 0.022 52.1M
BAT BATTERY MINERALS graphite 0.0384615384615 -0.542372881356 0.027 29.0M
BAU BAUXITE RESOURCE lithium 0 -0.272727272727 0.056 12.0M
BMT BERKUT MINERALS lithium 0.0416666666667 -0.769230769231 0.075 3.9M
BGS BIRIMIAN lithium -0.0434782608696 -0.36231884058 0.22 49.0M
BKT BLACK ROCK MININ graphite 0.0666666666667 -0.542857142857 0.032 16.2M
BEM BLACKEARTH MINER graphite -0.0416666666667 0 0.115 7.0M
BSX BLACKSTONE MINER cobalt -0.185185185185 -0.706666666667 0.11 12.5M
BDI BLINA MINERALS N cobalt 1 1 0.002 4.3M
BOA BOADICEA RESOURC lithium -0.0666666666667 -0.4 0.084 4.3M
BPL BROKEN HILL PROS cobalt -0.196078431373 0 0.041 6.8M
BYH BRYAH RESOURCES manganese -0.0571428571429 -0.464864864865 0.099 5.6M
BUX BUXTON RESOURCES graphite -0.03125 0.192307692308 0.155 17.7M
CAD CAENEUS MINERALS lithium 0 -0.666666666667 0.001 14.1M
CFE CAPE LAMBERT RES lithium 0.176470588235 -0.166666666667 0.02 20.2M
CZI CASSINI RESOURCE cobalt 0.0428571428571 -0.120481927711 0.073 24.2M
CCZ CASTILLO COPPER cobalt -0.0882352941176 -0.205128205128 0.031 14.5M
CDT CASTLE MINERALS graphite 0 -0.80487804878 0.008 1.8M
CAZ CAZALY RESOURCES lithium 0 -0.325 0.027 6.2M
CLA CELSIUS RESOURCE cobalt -0.0434782608696 0.864406779661 0.11 75.7M
CHN CHALICE GOLD MIN vanadium 0.0357142857143 -0.216216216216 0.145 38.7M
CMC CHINA MAGNESIUM lithium 0 0.35 0.027 8.5M
CLQ CLEAN TEQ HOLDIN cobalt -0.123595505618 -0.719424460432 0.39 287.0M
COB COBALT BLUE HOLD cobalt -0.3 0.0769230769231 0.21 25.6M
CHK COHIBA MINERALS lithium 0 -0.5 0.006 3.3M
CLL COLLERINA COBALT cobalt -0.04 0.846153846154 0.12 68.1M
CRL COMET RESOURCES graphite 0.0666666666667 -0.536231884058 0.032 6.6M
CNJ CONICO cobalt -0.0769230769231 -0.225806451613 0.024 8.4M
CZN CORAZON MINING L cobalt 0 -0.647058823529 0.006 7.6M
CXO CORE EXPLORATION lithium -0.02 -0.140350877193 0.049 31.1M
CGM COUGAR METALS NL lithium -0.25 -0.75 0.003 2.9M
CZR COZIRON RESOURCE vanadium 0 -0.44 0.014 23.2M
CGN CRATER GOLD MINI graphite 0.333333333333 1.8 0.028 6.4M
CAS CRUSADER RESOURC lithium 0 -0.78021978022 0.02 10.0M
DHR DARK HORSE RESOU lithium -0.166666666667 -0.375 0.005 9.9M
DTM DART MINING NL lithium 0 0.166666666667 0.007 6.0M
DEG DE GREY MINING lithium -0.0344827586207 -0.363636363636 0.14 49.1M
DEV DEVEX RESOURCES lithium 0 -0.5 0.004 4.4M
DGR DGR GLOBAL lithium -0.15625 0.285714285714 0.135 92.0M
E25 ELEMENT 25 manganese 0.1875 -0.136363636364 0.19 15.9M
EME ENERGY METALS vanadium -0.142857142857 0.578947368421 0.15 31.5M
ENT ENTERPRISE METAL lithium -0.0666666666667 -0.333333333333 0.014 5.4M
ESR ESTRELLA RESOURC lithium 0.105263157895 -0.487804878049 0.021 10.3M
EUC EUROPEAN COBALT cobalt -0.078431372549 -0.731428571429 0.047 35.8M
EUR EUROPEAN LITHIUM lithium -0.0833333333333 1 0.11 60.1M
EMH EUROPEAN METALS lithium 0 -0.472222222222 0.38 55.2M
FEL FE cobalt 0 -0.285714285714 0.015 5.6M
FCC FIRST COBALT-CDI cobalt -0.103448275862 0 0.26 88.2M
FGR FIRST GRAPHENE L graphite 0.037037037037 0.473684210526 0.14 56.5M
4CE FORCE COMMODITIE lithium -0.115384615385 -0.566037735849 0.023 9.3M
GLN GALAN LITHIUM lithium -0.015873015873 4.16666666667 0.31 27.7M
GXY GALAXY RESOURCES lithium -0.0641025641026 -0.367052023121 2.19 892.5M
GSC GLOBAL GEOSCIENC lithium -0.08 0.0222222222222 0.23 352.7M
GBE GLOBE METALS AND graphite 0 0.0769230769231 0.014 6.5M
GME GME RESOURCES cobalt -0.06 -0.38961038961 0.094 45.3M
GED GOLDEN DEEPS vanadium 0.282051282051 0.25 0.05 8.6M
GPX GRAPHEX MINING L graphite 0.0188679245283 -0.0689655172414 0.27 21.3M
GPP GREENPOWER ENERG lithium 0 -0.833333333333 0.004 6.3M
GWR GWR GROUP lithium 0 0 0.1 25.2M
HMX HAMMER METALS cobalt -0.0322580645161 -0.189189189189 0.03 8.9M
HNR HANNANS lithium 0.0909090909091 -0.294117647059 0.012 23.8M
HAV HAVILAH RESOURCE cobalt 0 0.027027027027 0.19 41.5M
HWK HAWKSTONE MINING lithium -0.107142857143 -0.0384615384615 0.025 15.4M
HXG HEXAGON RESOURCE graphite 0 0 0.13 36.5M
HGM HIGH GRADE METAL cobalt 0.0833333333333 -0.161290322581 0.026 11.8M
HIG HIGHLANDS PAC cobalt -0.139130434783 0.356164383562 0.099 109.3M
IDA INDIANA RESOURCE graphite -0.0333333333333 -0.216216216216 0.058 5.5M
INF INFINITY LITHIUM lithium 0.0344827586207 -0.692307692308 0.06 11.8M
IRC INTERMIN RES vanadium -0.0322580645161 0.363636363636 0.15 34.1M
IEC INTRA ENERGY COR lithium 0 0.625 0.013 5.0M
JRV JERVOIS MINING cobalt -0.22 -0.426470588235 0.195 44.7M
JMS JUPITER MINES manganese 0 0 0.315 617.1M
KAI KAIROS MINERALS lithium -0.121212121212 -0.546875 0.029 26.4M
KLH KALIA lithium 0 -0.583333333333 0.005 12.6M
KNL KIBARAN RESOURCE graphite -0.0555555555556 0.0967741935484 0.17 49.6M
KDR KIDMAN RESOURCES lithium 0.163043478261 -0.144 1.07 427.5M
KRC KING RIVER COPPE vanadium -0.0178571428571 8.16666666667 0.055 65.6M
KSN KINGSTON RESOURC lithium -0.0909090909091 0.176470588235 0.02 25.7M
KOR KORAB RESOURCES lithium 0 -0.0645161290323 0.029 8.9M
KTA KRAKATOA RESOURC lithium -0.0625 -0.25 0.03 3.5M
LKE LAKE RESOURCES lithium -0.093023255814 -0.35 0.078 26.3M
LRS LATIN RESOURCES lithium 0 0 0.004 14.1M
LCD LATITUDE CONSOLI lithium 0.263157894737 0.6 0.024 6.6M
LPD LEPIDICO lithium -0.111111111111 -0.304347826087 0.016 57.1M
LML LINCOLN MINERALS graphite -0.2 -0.826086956522 0.008 4.6M
LTR LIONTOWN RESOURC lithium -0.08 0.916666666667 0.023 27.0M
LIT LITHIUM AUSTRALI lithium -0.07 -0.468571428571 0.093 42.7M
LI3 LITHIUM CONSOLID lithium -0.277108433735 -0.538461538462 0.06 5.7M
LPI LITHIUM POWER IN lithium -0.212121212121 -0.415730337079 0.26 70.9M
MNS MAGNIS RESOURCES graphite -0.0508474576271 -0.370786516854 0.28 170.9M
MZN MARINDI METALS L lithium -0.166666666667 -0.583333333333 0.005 8.9M
MQR MARQUEE RESOURCE lithium -0.225806451613 -0.294117647059 0.12 5.1M
MZZ MATADOR MINING lithium 0 0.224489795918 0.3 16.2M
MXR MAXIMUS RESOURCE lithium 0 -0.5 0.001 3.5M
MCT METALICITY lithium -0.0555555555556 -0.604651162791 0.017 10.1M
MLM METALLICA MINRAL cobalt 0.030303030303 -0.44262295082 0.034 9.7M
MLS METALS AUSTRALIA lithium 0 0 0.004 7.0M
MTC METALSTECH lithium 0.0172413793103 -0.737777777778 0.059 6.9M
MEI METEORIC RESOURC cobalt -0.0625 -0.794520547945 0.015 8.0M
MIN MINERAL RESOURCE lithium -0.0874751491054 -0.253658536585 13.77 2.6B
MRR MINREX RESOURCES cobalt -0.166666666667 -0.583333333333 0.025 2.9M
MTH MITHRIL RESOURCE lithium -0.111111111111 -0.771428571429 0.008 1.4M
MOX MONAX MINING lithium 0 -0.714285714286 0.002 1.4M
MTB MOUNT BURGESS vanadium -0.166666666667 -0.615384615385 0.005 2.2M
NMT NEOMETALS lithium 0.0212765957447 -0.376623376623 0.24 125.1M
NWC NEW WORLD COBALT cobalt -0.0666666666667 -0.6 0.042 21.0M
N27 NORTHERN COBALT lithium -0.0666666666667 -0.573913043478 0.098 5.0M
NVA NOVA MINERALS lithium -0.0909090909091 1.85714285714 0.02 15.6M
NZC NZURI COPPER cobalt -0.0204081632653 0.333333333333 0.24 71.0M
OAR OAKDALERESOURCES lithium 0 -0.5 0.018 1.2M
OKR OKAPI RESOURCES cobalt 0.0588235294118 -0.379310344828 0.18 6.2M
OMH OM HLDGS manganese -0.0976331360947 1.93269230769 1.525 1.1B
ORN ORION MINERALS L lithium -0.0645161290323 0 0.029 52.5M
ORE OROCOBRE lithium -0.0317679558011 -0.21447781264 3.505 935.8M
PMY PACIFICO MINERAL manganese 0 0.2 0.006 8.2M
PAN PANORAMIC RESOUR cobalt -0.0865384615385 0.236979166667 0.475 242.3M
PSM PENINSULA MINES lithium 0 -0.684210526316 0.006 4.2M
PNN PEPINNINI LITHIU lithium -0.142857142857 -0.684210526316 0.006 4.0M
PLL PIEDMONT LITHIUM lithium -0.0714285714286 -0.333333333333 0.13 75.5M
PLS PILBARA MINERALS lithium -0.028025477707 0.00394736842105 0.763 1.3B
PIO PIONEER RESOURCE lithium -0.0526315789474 0.0588235294118 0.018 27.1M
PGM PLATINA RESOURCE cobalt -0.0625 -0.5 0.06 16.6M
POS POSEIDON NICKEL lithium -0.0612244897959 0.703703703704 0.046 121.6M
PSC PROSPECT RESOURC lithium -0.037037037037 -0.1875 0.026 53.6M
POW PROTEAN ENERGY L vanadium 0 -0.25 0.024 7.3M
PM1 PURE MINERALS lithium. Manganese 0 -0.263157894737 0.014 4.7M
PUR PURSUIT MINERALS vanadium -0.0816326530612 -0.71875 0.045 3.7M
RMX RED MOUNTAIN MIN cobalt 0.4 -0.461538461538 0.007 3.4M
RDS REDSTONE RESOURC vanadium 0 0.5 0.018 8.4M
RLC REEDY LAGOON lithium -0.111111111111 -0.636363636364 0.008 3.2M
RNU RENASCOR RESOURC graphite 0 -0.32 0.017 15.4M
RIE RIEDEL RESOURCES cobalt 0 -0.4 0.03 12.5M
RIO RIO TINTO lithium -0.0513234344739 0.0547660063164 73.475 115.0B
RTR RUMBLE RESOURCES vanadium -0.06 -0.381578947368 0.047 17.9M
SBR SABRE RES vanadium -0.0909090909091 0.111111111111 0.01 4.1M
SO4 SALT LAKE POTASH vanadium -0.0555555555556 0.02 0.51 90.2M
SYA SAYONA MINING lithium -0.103448275862 0.444444444444 0.026 42.9M
SCI SILVER CITY MINE lithium -0.05 -0.547619047619 0.019 4.7M
SI6 SIX SIGMA METALS lithium 0 -0.583333333333 0.005 2.7M
S32 SOUTH32 manganese -0.0731382978723 0.0560606060606 3.485 18.0B
SXX SOUTHERN CROSS vanadium 0 -0.25 0.006 6.5M
SUH SOUTHERN HEMISPH lithium 0 -0.664864864865 0.062 5.3M
SVM SOVEREIGN METALS graphite -0.046511627907 -0.286956521739 0.082 22.7M
SEI SPECIALITY METAL lithium 0.0714285714286 0.363636363636 0.015 8.3M
SPI SPITFIRE MATERIA manganese -0.0540540540541 -0.391304347826 0.07 65.0M
SGQ ST GEORGE MINING cobalt 0.0769230769231 0.166666666667 0.14 38.8M
SRK STRIKE RESOURCES lithium 0 0.145833333333 0.055 7.3M
SRN SUREFIRE RESOURC vanadium 0 -0.470588235294 0.009 4.2M
SYR SYRAH RESOURCES graphite -0.144548286604 -0.620718232044 1.373 486.2M
TLG TALGA RESOURCES graphite -0.103773584906 -0.214876033058 0.475 102.2M
TNO TANDO RESOURCES vanadium -0.125 0 0.105 20.3M
TAR TARUGA MINERALS lithium -0.202898550725 -0.191176470588 0.055 7.6M
TAW TAWANA RESOURCES lithium 0 -0.319444444444 0.245 135.9M
TMT TECHNOLOGY METAL vanadium 0.0721649484536 1.66666666667 0.52 36.1M
THR THOR MINING-CDI lithium -0.0322580645161 0.764705882353 0.03 20.0M
THX THUNDELARRA cobalt -0.0625 -0.375 0.015 8.9M
TNG TNG vanadium -0.125 -0.34375 0.105 97.2M
TRT TODD RIVER RESOU lithium -0.0337078651685 -0.271186440678 0.086 7.4M
TKL TRAKA RESOURCES lithium 0 -0.0789473684211 0.035 11.6M
TKM TREK METALS lithium 0 -0.648648648649 0.013 4.1M
TON TRITON MINERALS graphite -0.0434782608696 -0.443037974684 0.044 40.4M
VMS VENTURE MINERALS lithium -0.0434782608696 -0.0434782608696 0.022 11.5M
VXR VENTUREX RESOURC lithium 0.116279069767 0.0666666666667 0.24 57.6M
VMC VENUS METALS COR lithium -0.0526315789474 0.565217391304 0.18 15.3M
VML VITAL METALS cobalt 0 0 0.007 13.1M
VRC VOLT RESOURCES L graphite -0.136363636364 -0.296296296296 0.019 26.2M
WKT WALKABOUT RESOUR lithium 0 0.182795698925 0.11 28.4M
WCN WHITE CLIFF MINE cobalt 0 -0.935742971888 0.016 1.4M
WML WOOMERA MINING L lithium -0.209090909091 0 0.087 9.8M
ZNC ZENITH MINERALS lithium 0 -0.236363636364 0.084 17.7M
ZEU ZEUS RESOURCES L lithium 0.0833333333333 -0.0714285714286 0.013 2.3M