High Voltage: Bashed up cobalt prices are set to rally in 2020
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Each week our High Voltage column wraps all the news driving ASX battery metals stocks with exposure to lithium, cobalt, graphite, manganese and vanadium.
Glencore’s Mutanda copper-cobalt mine – the world’s biggest cobalt producer — has closed a month early.
In August, the multi commodity giant said it was going to mothball Mutanda in the DRC “from the end of this year” due to low prices.
The suspension removes 20 per cent of global cobalt supply from the market. But despite a short-lived price rally in August, cobalt prices have continued to slide towards year-end.
The news isn’t all bad, says Benchmark Minerals Intelligence, which estimates battery makers will need 152,000t each year of cobalt by 2024 — up from just 75,000t in 2019.
“Whilst the market is currently in oversupply, Benchmark Minerals expects the supply of cobalt raw materials, particularly cobalt hydroxide, to tighten in 2020 and stockpiles that have accumulated over the last 18 months begin to reduce,” it says.
“The closure of Mutanda has been a key factor in bringing the market deficit forward, which could see sustained price rises from H2 2020 as demand from the electric vehicle and energy storage markets continues to grow.”
Of the companies on our list, 62 lost ground, 44 were ahead and 43 were steady this week.
Polymetallic explorer Mt Burgess Mining (ASX:MTB) led the rankings, up 100 per cent on no news.
The company says vanadium increasingly represents a huge value-add at its flagship Kihabe-Nxuu zinc, lead, silver, germanium and vanadium project in Botswana.
WA-based Conico (ASX:CNJ) — also up on no news — is focused on the Mt Thirsty nickel-cobalt project, a 50:50 joint venture with fellow explorer Barra Resources (ASX:BAR).
The company says a pre-feasibility study (PFS) is planned for publication in the first quarter next year “to align with anticipated rising cobalt and nickel prices”.
Discussions are ongoing with potential development partners who all identify the PFS as an investment catalyst, the company told shareholders in November.
There’s nothing to see when it comes to big mover Boadicea Resources (ASX:BOA) — except that neighbouring Fraser Range nickel sulphide explorer Legend Mining (ASX:LEG) is in a trading halt “pending the release of exploration results on the company’s Rockford project”.
The grapevine says Legend may have found something big. We’ll know for sure very soon.
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: