• Cobalt prices hit US$70,000/t in December; a 119% increase over 12 months
  • ‘While Gigafactories pop up at record speeds, developing industrial-scale [cobalt] mines still takes 10-15 years’: Eurasian Resources Group
  • Lithium producers are raking in the cash

Our High Voltage column wraps all the news driving ASX stocks with exposure to lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel, rare earths, manganese, magnesium, and vanadium.

 

Cobalt price record could be broken in 2022: Fastmarkets

In early 2018, countless ASX explorers jumped on the cobalt bandwagon as prices peaked above $US100,000/t (~$US50/lb).

When prices began plummeting, the fair-weather battery metals stocks — which was most of them — moved onto the next hot thing.

Those few that stayed the course are now in the box seat.

After seven straight months of gains, cobalt prices hit US$70,000/t in December; a 119% increase over 12 months, but still shy of all time highs.

Cobalt prices: January 2017-December 2021.

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence says forecasted supply additions will struggle to keep pace with strong demand growth, providing further support to prices in 2022.

Diversified mining company Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) told Fastmarkets that a new record price could be reached very soon.

“The underlying reason behind this is straightforward: while Gigafactories pop up at record speeds, developing industrial-scale mines still takes 10-15 years on average,” chief executive officer Benedikt Sobotka says.

“Importantly, downside risks surround the timely commissioning and ramping up of many existing projects, in view of global shortages of mining equipment and the adoption of the historically troublesome high-pressure acid-leach technology at numerous mine projects in Indonesia.”

The incumbent route to make battery grade nickel and cobalt from ‘laterite’ ore is High Pressure Acid Leach (HPAL) which is very expensive and historically prone to failure.

“While it seems ‘obvious’ to us today that much of the tightness is underscored by stellar demand growth from the EV segment, just a year ago, most of us would have sniggered with disbelief at the prospect of EV sales more than doubling in 2021,” Sobotka says.

“Yet it is now a reality, and the pace of EV adoption shows few signs of losing momentum.

“Even demand from traditional cobalt metal end-use sectors, which account for around one-quarter of overall consumption, looks set to undergo a boom this year, spurred by the recovery of the aerospace sector.”

Argus says large aircraft manufacturer Boeing plans to increase production of the 737 MAX to 31 planes/month in early 2022 from its recent rate of 19 planes/month at the end of the third quarter.

So, how do investors get a ticket to the cobalt show? As we said, there aren’t many quality cobalt stocks left on the ASX. Here’s a handful with significant exposure:

 

Lithium producers continue to rake in the cash

Australian hard rock miner Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) banked record operating cash flows in the December quarter.

That extra $115.5 million in profit pumped its bank balance from $137.3m to $245m.

Average prices for spod concentrate were in the range of US$1750-1800/t, with a record US$2350/t being paid for a parcel sold through its online Battery Material Exchange platform in October.

Pricing records will continue to tumble, PLS says, with spodumene prices of US$2600-3000/t expected in the upcoming March quarter.

That’s a far cry from the $US380/t miners were getting late 2020.

PLS boss Ken Brinsden says analysts underestimate just how tight the lithium market is, and that carmakers will struggle to find the lithium needed to fill EV orders as demand booms.

“I don’t want to be trite, but carmakers have been asleep at the wheel,” he said.

“They haven’t been paying enough attention to the supply base in battery raw materials in the last five years.

“And it’s coming back to haunt them because insufficient incentive was placed in the market when it was really required especially in that period 3-5 years ago to get to where we needed to be today.”

That has created a dearth of new supply Brinsden said “now will take some years” to sort out.

 

Battery Metals Winners and Losers

Here’s how a basket of ASX stocks with exposure to lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel, rare earths, magnesium, manganese, and vanadium are performing>>>

Battery metals stocks missing from our list? Shoot a friendly mail to [email protected]

CODE COMPANY 1 WEEK RETURN % 1 MONTH RETURN % 6 MONTH RETURN R% 1 YEAR RETURN % PRICE MARKET CAP
MRD Mount Ridley Mines 20% 13% 125% 80% 0.009 $48,717,290.19
PVW PVW Res 17% 46% 209% 260% 0.54 $36,021,375.00
GSR Greenstone Resources 14% 18% 65% 38% 0.033 $37,125,619.69
COB Cobalt Blue 13% 40% 111% 61% 0.58 $148,168,767.11
GMC Gulf Manganese Corp 10% 10% 10% 10% 0.0055 $29,718,965.83
ARR American Rare Earths 8% 148% 377% 310% 0.41 $157,033,552.80
G88 Golden Mile Res 6% 16% 14% 27% 0.057 $9,342,989.71
WML Woomera Mining 5% 29% 1% -31% 0.022 $12,377,343.26
AML Aeon Metals 4% 29% -11% -61% 0.049 $37,229,782.18
ARL Ardea Resources 3% 32% 38% 38% 0.645 $83,992,282.50
RFR Rafaella Resources 3% 20% -20% 7% 0.078 $14,305,681.35
NTU Northern Min 2% -2% 31% -15% 0.051 $242,825,814.95
WKT Walkabout Resources 2% 32% 29% 69% 0.27 $117,591,529.12
LPI Lithium Pwr Int 1% 64% 167% 116% 0.68 $219,725,004.24
BHP BHP Group 1% 12% -12% 5% 46.35 $138,425,795,406.48
OMH OM Holdings 1% 5% 9% 2% 0.885 $635,216,069.82
EMH European Metals Hldg 0% 14% -8% 34% 1.53 $201,440,944.78
VIA Viagold Rare Earth 0% 0% 2339% 4662% 2 $166,624,808.00
PSC Prospect Res 0% 14% 207% 353% 0.86 $355,674,534.05
HNR Hannans 0% 78% 724% 541% 0.057 $148,557,474.13
IPT Impact Minerals 0% 0% 8% -30% 0.014 $28,333,128.87
ARN Aldoro Resources 0% 0% -15% 54% 0.37 $29,961,927.32
TMT Technology Metals 0% 16% 1% -12% 0.355 $65,171,644.80
ATM Aneka Tambang 0% 1% 10% 10% 1.1 $1,434,013.90
RMX Red Mount Min 0% 22% 16% -31% 0.011 $13,180,124.72
LML Lincoln Minerals 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.008 $4,599,869.49
NKL Nickelx 0% 26% -24% 0% 0.145 $7,749,000.00
MLS Metals Australia 0% 0% 0% -20% 0.002 $10,477,114.72
TSC Twenty Seven Co. 0% 0% 0% -33% 0.004 $10,643,255.62
WCN White Cliff Min 0% 56% 79% 4% 0.025 $13,050,320.78
CMO Cosmometals 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.21 $5,102,000.00
JMS Jupiter Mines. 0% -2% -23% -27% 0.22 $430,978,027.26
VR8 Vanadium Resources -1% 18% 45% 93% 0.077 $35,483,428.05
LKE Lake Resources -2% -3% 127% 156% 0.92 $1,075,624,098.56
AX8 Accelerate Resources -2% 11% 5% -32% 0.041 $9,884,897.06
VUL Vulcan Energy -2% -11% 3% 12% 9.19 $1,162,095,090.34
LEL Lithenergy -2% 14% 101% 0% 0.995 $45,675,000.00
ESS Essential Metals -3% 178% 285% 203% 0.5 $120,330,672.66
ESR Estrella Res -3% 50% -23% -58% 0.033 $38,842,443.42
ILU Iluka Resources -3% 6% 7% 56% 10.34 $4,308,199,841.56
AOU Auroch Minerals -4% -4% -42% -61% 0.11 $37,910,438.90
BOA Boadicea Resources -4% 5% -2% -11% 0.22 $15,928,478.48
PLL Piedmont Lithium Inc -4% -13% -5% -17% 0.645 $356,000,397.00
PAM Pan Asia Metals -5% 33% 320% 271% 0.63 $42,353,720.30
AVL Aust Vanadium -5% 43% 67% 33% 0.04 $118,588,676.51
RBX Resource B -5% 8% 25% 488% 0.2 $7,989,517.00
NIC Nickel Mines -5% -1% 37% 16% 1.43 $3,621,641,833.44
EGR Ecograf -5% -8% -10% 38% 0.615 $256,690,071.63
CHN Chalice Mining -6% -12% 17% 100% 7.72 $2,691,077,932.92
S32 South32 -6% -4% 31% 49% 3.85 $17,948,732,706.58
CTM Centaurus Metals -6% -3% 30% 35% 1.115 $395,288,409.80
AVZ AVZ Minerals -6% -1% 233% 259% 0.7 $2,312,882,263.60
CLA Celsius Resource -6% 58% -3% -36% 0.03 $31,619,342.43
BKT Black Rock Mining -7% -2% 48% 48% 0.215 $178,072,339.80
AR3 Austrare -7% 2% 18% 0% 0.89 $64,420,938.12
ASN Anson Resources -7% 23% 90% 8% 0.135 $127,674,910.00
HXG Hexagon Energy -7% -11% -1% -49% 0.066 $28,098,871.10
LRV Larvottoresources -7% 63% 0% 0% 0.195 $6,147,750.00
AZS Azure Minerals -7% 10% 64% -29% 0.385 $118,079,573.98
MLX Metals X -7% 9% 96% 194% 0.5 $453,633,033.50
MRR Minrex Resources -7% 72% 226% 158% 0.062 $39,444,046.00
VMC Venus Metals Cor -8% 9% 6% -20% 0.185 $27,949,556.36
STK Strickland Metals -8% -13% 9% 71% 0.06 $75,506,597.15
FGR First Graphene -8% -12% -23% -36% 0.18 $90,802,962.69
QEM QEM -8% -3% 9% 71% 0.18 $20,416,199.94
SYA Sayona Mining -8% -4% 56% 148% 0.12 $846,795,319.44
ALY Alchemy Resource -8% 9% -12% -32% 0.012 $12,380,483.57
MMC Mitremining -8% -5% 0% 0% 0.18 $4,875,318.00
FRB Firebird Metals -8% -12% -37% 0% 0.345 $16,156,098.56
JRL Jindalee Resources -8% 29% 6% 64% 2.63 $137,965,113.30
MOH Moho Resources -8% -11% -12% -34% 0.057 $7,169,197.91
KZR Kalamazoo Resources -8% -7% -3% -39% 0.34 $47,188,171.55
HYM Hyperion Metals -8% -1% -12% 96% 0.9 $124,842,199.45
BYH Bryah Resources -8% 17% -3% -21% 0.056 $12,215,187.45
IGO IGO -8% 4% 32% 75% 11.75 $8,973,623,584.05
AGY Argosy Minerals -8% 22% 168% 86% 0.335 $424,711,668.81
GED Golden Deeps -8% -8% -8% 0% 0.011 $8,146,440.12
GL1 Globallith -8% 90% 474% 0% 1.52 $210,986,889.70
PNN PepinNini Minerals -9% 19% 64% -8% 0.475 $28,094,574.98
LEG Legend Mining -9% 22% -22% -45% 0.071 $187,349,229.03
AS2 Askarimetals -9% 79% 79% 0% 0.35 $10,899,016.17
QXR Qx Resources -9% 86% 200% 39% 0.039 $26,456,130.52
MRC Mineral Commodities -9% 46% -3% -60% 0.145 $77,573,641.93
GME GME Resources -10% -6% 32% -22% 0.066 $41,579,353.34
BRB Breaker Res NL -10% -21% 39% 21% 0.23 $71,685,004.38
PRL Province Resources -10% -10% -4% 514% 0.135 $146,855,775.43
LSR Lodestar Minerals -10% 0% -10% -36% 0.009 $13,909,373.48
PLS Pilbara Min -10% 8% 81% 199% 3.2 $9,585,284,784.74
INR Ioneer -10% -11% 65% 97% 0.66 $1,363,614,685.34
DTM Dart Mining NL -10% 4% -38% -54% 0.0835 $10,394,992.66
TLG Talga Group -10% -5% 11% 1% 1.46 $460,103,823.69
MCR Mincor Resources NL -10% -4% 32% 58% 1.625 $782,220,986.40
QPM Queensland Pacific -11% 0% 3% 143% 0.17 $254,613,666.62
RNU Renascor Res -11% 75% 184% 425% 0.21 $397,712,906.85
CXO Core Lithium -11% 40% 185% 104% 0.755 $1,244,278,008.02
AXE Archer Materials -11% -5% -31% 36% 1.08 $262,421,239.42
INF Infinity Lithium -11% 0% 76% -18% 0.165 $70,395,207.52
GLN Galan Lithium -11% -21% 52% 165% 1.525 $451,226,210.48
LOT Lotus Resources -11% -20% 58% 63% 0.245 $243,999,736.25
MAN Mandrake Res -11% 0% -37% -40% 0.049 $23,089,827.36
PAN Panoramic Resources -11% -8% 48% 48% 0.245 $512,728,501.00
POS Poseidon Nick -11% -2% -27% 27% 0.098 $294,140,114.50
FRS Forrestaniaresources -11% 28% 0% 0% 0.365 $10,518,750.00
WR1 Winsome Resources -11% 31% 0% 0% 0.445 $53,783,997.60
JRV Jervois Global -11% 11% 28% 29% 0.64 $956,532,693.06
PUR Pursuit Minerals -11% -8% -60% -33% 0.024 $22,693,180.66
BMM Balkanminingandmin -11% -1% -13% 0% 0.355 $11,298,750.00
CWX Carawine Resources -11% -11% -37% -34% 0.155 $22,495,167.26
LIT Lithium Australia NL -12% 0% 0% -30% 0.115 $118,501,150.74
CNB Carnaby Resource -12% 90% 338% 409% 1.4 $178,339,657.73
ADV Ardiden -12% 36% 67% -40% 0.015 $30,356,694.98
PEK Peak Rare Earths -12% -6% -35% -25% 0.75 $149,364,399.75
EMN Euromanganese -12% 10% -23% -33% 0.48 $117,714,799.02
SYR Syrah Resources -12% 1% 17% 45% 1.65 $857,823,723.56
LTR Liontown Resources -12% -8% 95% 290% 1.42 $3,047,245,888.73
MNS Magnis Energy Tech -13% 8% 81% 31% 0.49 $476,032,290.53
HAS Hastings Tech Met -13% 2% 29% 11% 0.245 $443,310,363.83
REE Rarex -13% 5% 13% -16% 0.105 $47,417,286.42
CNJ Conico -13% 0% -43% 6% 0.035 $35,007,520.59
LMG Latrobe Magnesium -13% 13% 483% 320% 0.105 $164,618,264.16
AKE Allkem -13% -8% 17% 57% 9.04 $5,763,231,297.44
AAJ Aruma Resources -13% 19% 39% -1% 0.082 $10,580,766.25
NWC New World Resources -13% -9% -12% 26% 0.067 $110,031,044.72
TON Triton Min -13% -3% 0% -42% 0.033 $43,496,626.36
IMI Infinitymining -13% 0% 0% 0% 0.165 $9,200,000.00
LYC Lynas Rare Earths -13% -8% 28% 80% 8.95 $8,049,511,061.68
ARU Arafura Resource -13% -3% 44% -22% 0.195 $302,331,379.74
MQR Marquee Resource -13% 18% 145% 106% 0.13 $26,808,137.75
MIN Mineral Resources. -13% 1% -9% 52% 55.41 $10,169,583,862.35
CZN Corazon -14% -14% -20% -57% 0.032 $10,380,797.28
OZL OZ Minerals -14% -14% 5% 31% 24.18 $8,401,432,220.14
1MC Morella Corporation -14% 182% -51% -51% 0.031 $155,286,419.58
VML Vital Metals -14% 0% 0% -2% 0.049 $212,439,637.28
SRI Sipa Resources -14% -2% -26% -31% 0.042 $8,816,066.53
CHR Charger Metals -14% 89% 235% 0% 0.72 $24,824,052.13
AUZ Australian Mines -14% 0% -18% -29% 0.18 $79,616,173.95
RXL Rox Resources -14% 22% 1% -15% 0.42 $70,923,426.30
AQD Ausquest -14% 6% -18% -10% 0.018 $14,010,536.79
S2R S2 Resources -14% -3% 16% -5% 0.18 $64,147,473.90
EMS Eastern Metals -14% 30% 0% 0% 0.24 $8,900,000.00
TEM Tempest Minerals -14% 9% 22% -17% 0.024 $8,753,819.76
AM7 Arcadia Minerals -15% 12% 31% 0% 0.235 $8,099,844.88
KOR Korab Resources -15% -2% 88% 213% 0.047 $18,352,500.00
FFX Firefinch -15% -15% 62% 246% 0.64 $759,897,849.00
IXR Ionic Rare Earths -15% 35% 107% 45% 0.058 $194,136,272.30
EUR European Lithium -15% 0% 105% 49% 0.115 $130,678,128.14
TNG TNG -15% -5% 7% -30% 0.074 $102,742,948.43
DEV Devex Resources -15% -11% 70% 102% 0.425 $133,528,186.83
A8G Australasian Metals -15% 11% 263% 0% 0.535 $20,888,656.88
AZL Arizona Lithium -15% 56% 400% 159% 0.14 $269,381,480.76
RAG Ragnar Metals -15% 34% -22% -32% 0.039 $14,907,395.56
E25 Element 25 -15% 0% -34% -28% 1.245 $184,779,546.49
SRL Sunrise -15% -3% -13% -32% 1.735 $155,800,130.67
GW1 Greenwing Resources -16% 7% 118% 45% 0.435 $50,318,042.88
BUX Buxton Resources -16% -4% -38% 14% 0.075 $9,523,880.24
TMB Tambourahmetals -16% 4% 0% 0% 0.24 $9,680,260.53
FG1 Flynngold -16% -3% -11% 0% 0.155 $9,673,997.63
SBR Sabre Resources -17% 0% 25% -38% 0.005 $8,639,068.25
PGM Platina Resources -17% -21% -37% -9% 0.05 $22,587,881.78
TKL Traka Resources -17% 15% 7% -29% 0.015 $10,575,834.20
NC1 Nicoresources -17% 0% 0% 0% 0.475 $36,208,750.83
SLZ Sultan Resources -17% 3% -8% -8% 0.17 $11,473,174.19
VRC Volt Resources -17% -27% -39% 0% 0.019 $53,525,543.10
GAL Galileo Mining -17% -10% -37% -49% 0.19 $31,997,748.95
SGQ St George Min -18% 6% -1% -37% 0.066 $43,600,129.34
GBR Greatbould Resources -18% 4% 65% 211% 0.14 $51,799,192.31
NMT Neometals -19% 20% 145% 333% 1.315 $743,050,016.58
ADD Adavale Resource -19% 14% -19% -26% 0.048 $17,078,392.45
GRE Greentechmetals -19% 0% 0% 0% 0.3 $8,272,499.70
BSX Blackstone -19% 6% 34% 24% 0.585 $267,510,551.18
BEM Blackearth Minerals -19% 9% 19% 105% 0.125 $27,461,908.38
RLC Reedy Lagoon Corp. -20% 6% 94% 74% 0.033 $18,079,288.59
EVR Ev Resources -20% 25% 183% 38% 0.065 $59,945,214.62
CMX Chemxmaterials -20% 0% 0% 0% 0.235 $11,121,780.24
LPD Lepidico -21% 3% 131% 12% 0.037 $230,266,059.33
SHH Shree Minerals -21% 22% -15% -39% 0.011 $12,758,842.70
GSM Golden State Mining -23% 13% -40% -36% 0.093 $7,477,918.65
CAE Cannindah Resources -23% 41% 307% 728% 0.24 $123,237,560.49
EFE Eastern Resources -23% 6% 273% 500% 0.056 $53,862,797.01
BNR Bulletin Res -25% 52% 84% 30% 0.105 $27,755,757.70
NVA Nova Minerals -25% -30% -30% -53% 0.8 $161,281,045.08