Pilbara lithium miner Altura has gone into administration, the latest victim of a spodumene price that has plunged about 60 per cent from its July 2018 peak.

Neighbouring producer Pilbara Minerals was quick off the mark with a $US175m ($247m) takeover bid but, at that price, it could have some competition.

RK Equity founder Howard Klein says  a ‘New Force in Lithium’ could emerge from the ashes of this bear market.

“(Could) WA spodumene – the Pilbara in particular – consolidate like iron ore; and thereby to provide sufficient power for remaining SC6 [spodumene] suppliers to make a decent living – and, at times – a killing?

“I have no doubt this is on Pilbara’s (ASX:PLS) mind.”

Producers that act now will like to see themselves the dominant force for the next lithium growth cycle, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence says.

“The reality is that lithium will experience double digit growth short term, and the long-term picture has significantly strengthened,” it says.

“Pilbara’s nameplate Stage 1 capacity is 330,000tpa (tonnes per year), while Altura’s Stage 1 capacity is 220,000tpa of spodumene concentrate, enabling Pilbara to significantly expand its capacity at the bottom of the lithium market.”

But consolidation might not be enough. Lithium could need its own supermajor, Benchmark says.

While Rio Tinto is dipping its toes, no major miner has yet made a serious play in lithium.

“Considering the time it takes to build new lithium mines and ramp up to meaningful chemical capacity — which by mid-2020s will be anything larger than 50,000 tpa LCE (lithium carbonate equivalent) — the industry will need to shift the way it thinks and the way operates,” Benchmark says.

“Bigger fish will need to enter lithium.”

Here’s how a basket of 105 ASX stocks with exposure to lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel, and vanadium are performing>>>

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort.

CODE COMPANY 1 WEEK RETURN % 1 MONTH RETURN % 6 MONTH RETURN % 1 YEAR RETURN % SHARE PRICE [INTRADAY TUES] MARKET CAP
AZS Azure Minerals 63 90 970 576 0.845 $ 222,817,207.64
VUL Vulcan Energy 61 107 967 1614 2.4 $ 148,239,647.15
TMT Technology Metals 33 47 267 193 0.44 $ 57,288,000.00
MLS Metals Australia 33 -20 100 33 0.002 $ 8,381,807.15
TLG Talga Resources 26 144 515 343 2.06 $ 503,725,140.50
AML Aeon Metals Ltd. 21 26 99 21 0.145 $ 94,859,761.78
INF Infinity Lithium 20 24 233 84 0.12 $ 34,133,470.25
SBR Sabre Resources 20 20 500 200 0.012 $ 16,258,401.35
PSC Prospect Res Ltd 19 -19 67 7 0.125 $ 38,190,392.67
PLS Pilbara Min Ltd 17 53 135 89 0.575 $ 1,146,962,664.04
PLL Piedmont Lithium Ltd 17 -7 281 290 0.41 $ 512,899,396.08
GLN Galan Lithium Ltd 16 -3 0 -15 0.145 $ 25,988,096.50
PRL Province Resources 15 -6 67 67 0.015 $ 6,276,292.08
IPT Impact Minerals 15 -8 77 229 0.023 $ 42,652,446.89
AUZ Australian Mines Ltd 14 14 78 -6 0.016 $ 59,421,807.75
ARR American Rare Earths 14 -4 606 495 0.12 $ 36,364,949.00
CLA Celsius Resource Ltd 12 3 311 185 0.037 $ 25,747,196.67
RLC Reedy Lagoon Corp. 10 -15 450 175 0.011 $ 5,167,071.62
FGR First Graphene Ltd 10 6 27 22 0.165 $ 84,111,037.60
MLX Metals X Limited 10 10 -7 -51 0.088 $ 79,839,413.90
AXE Archer Materials 10 13 19 311 0.555 $ 116,915,003.92
S2R S2 Resources 10 -2 188 148 0.285 $ 85,020,618.33
GXY Galaxy Resources 9 37 122 62 1.75 $ 679,735,701.08
ORE Orocobre Limited 9 22 70 18 3.22 $ 1,049,332,845.80
INR Ioneer Ltd 9 14 100 4 0.24 $ 412,128,566.43
ESR Estrella Res Ltd 9 -23 1400 991 0.12 $ 103,222,157.64
AVL Aust Vanadium Ltd 9 -8 20 20 0.012 $ 35,081,588.27
AVZ AVZ Minerals Ltd 9 -5 45 98 0.087 $ 233,576,877.66
VR8 Vanadium Resources 8 -4 80 -33 0.027 $ 10,105,490.83
NIC Nickel Mines Limited 8 8 84 74 0.96 $ 1,979,132,667.06
JRV Jervois Mining 7 -5 72 51 0.31 $ 235,488,990.86
EUR European Lithium Ltd 5 -7 -7 -53 0.042 $ 31,967,753.66
CNJ Conico Ltd 5 147 600 425 4.2 $ 28,323,828.08
TNG TNG Limited 5 -4 90 14 0.11 $ 123,699,963.64
MOH Moho Resources 5 0 69 109 0.115 $ 8,618,851.64
MRC Mineral Commodities 4 3 52 71 0.35 $ 155,071,134.14
MAN Mandrake Res Ltd 4 13 173 318 0.071 $ 21,704,336.35
GBR Greatbould Resources 4 -29 49 -5 0.05 $ 9,026,868.96
LIT Lithium Australia NL 4 6 10 64 0.054 $ 43,574,604.48
BHP BHP Group Limited 4 3 17 0 37.16 $ 107,494,117,367.06
CLQ Clean Teq Hldgs Ltd 3 -9 50 13 0.3 $ 216,473,459.45
PM1 Pure Minerals Ltd 3 -15 154 83 0.033 $ 32,285,665.13
BKT Black Rock Mining 3 36 70 52 0.072 $ 45,381,826.37
MCR Mincor Resources NL 3 12 53 49 0.985 $ 418,380,431.04
DEV Devex Resources Ltd 2 -31 156 120 0.22 $ 54,131,844.80
LPI Lithium Pwr Int Ltd 2 30 85 -6 0.24 $ 60,493,197.69
MIN Mineral Resources. 2 13 62 94 28.5 $ 5,327,879,403.25
AGY Argosy Minerals Ltd 2 -2 4 -40 0.052 $ 51,994,609.19
LTR Liontown Resources 2 -2 148 192 0.26 $ 472,156,901.08
PAN Panoramic Resources 2 20 42 -51 0.1325 $ 297,382,530.58
IGO IGO Limited 2 12 4 -20 4.89 $ 2,900,813,436.94
CHN Chalice Gold Mines 2 11 176 1871 3.35 $ 1,049,425,198.00
OZL OZ Minerals 0 3 78 48 15.39 $ 4,972,713,318.59
PUR Pursuit Minerals 0 25 201 88 0.014 $ 7,713,159.71
PUR Pursuit Minerals 0 25 201 88 0.014 $ 7,713,159.71
MNS Magnis Energy Tech 0 -14 185 68 0.185 $ 130,806,987.63
SLZ Sultan Resources Ltd 0 17 92 258 0.24 $ 17,383,597.25
RNU Renascor Res Ltd 0 5 5 -25 0.0105 $ 16,473,792.12
LML Lincoln Minerals 0 0 60 60 0.008 $ 4,599,869.49
BSM Bass Metals Ltd 0 0 0 -57 0.003 $ 11,981,027.21
AJM Altura Mining Ltd 0 0 71 21 0.07 $ 209,037,029.25
HNR Hannans Ltd 0 0 17 -22 0.007 $ 13,915,681.77
ATM Aneka Tambang 0 0 0 0 1 $ 1,303,649.00
TKL Traka Resources 0 5 454 177 0.022 $ 10,129,301.36
SYA Sayona Mining Ltd 0 -11 14 -18 0.008 $ 23,755,131.44
CZN Corazon Ltd 0 0 3 3 0.003 $ 9,760,077.44
WKT Walkabout Resources 0 -31 0 -56 0.135 $ 48,878,710.30
BSX Blackstone Ltd 0 -8 160 225 0.39 $ 121,726,232.20
PGM Platina Resources 0 -14 91 110 0.044 $ 18,587,978.68
BAR Barra Resources 0 43 100 82 0.04 $ 24,960,499.74
SRI Sipa Resources Ltd 0 -9 37 -18 0.07 $ 11,558,777.62
NMT Neometals Ltd 0 21 47 34 0.235 $ 128,157,547.51
STK Strickland Metals 0 11 600 320 0.105 $ 41,590,050.58
LPD Lepidico Ltd 0 0 0 -49 0.008 $ 41,485,880.30
ESS Essential Metals Ltd -1 -8 -12 -25 0.097 $ 14,635,013.42
ESS Essential Metals Ltd -1 -8 -12 -25 0.097 $ 14,635,013.42
JRL Jindalee Resources -1 49 169 183 0.82 $ 37,104,291.78
LKE Lake Resources -2 -17 81 61 0.058 $ 45,943,460.19
COB Cobalt Blue Ltd -2 -1 -11 -30 0.098 $ 23,744,041.00
TON Triton Min Ltd -2 -6 -15 24 0.047 $ 51,051,063.02
CXO Core Lithium -2 -6 -11 24 0.047 $ 47,727,855.41
VMC Venus Metals Cor Ltd -2 -16 39 24 0.23 $ 36,258,883.92
CTM Centaurus Metals Ltd -3 -14 120 125 0.54 $ 175,962,866.40
BUX Buxton Resources Ltd -3 -24 -3 -4 0.068 $ 9,659,935.67
ASN Anson Resources Ltd -3 -8 55 13 0.034 $ 25,853,885.28
PNN PepinNini Minerals -3 -3 -10 -28 0.16 $ 5,037,376.91
BEM Blackearth Minerals -4 0 41 -4 0.048 $ 7,069,480.70
FFX Firefinch Ltd -5 -18 85 101 0.155 $ 125,105,160.16
POS Poseidon Nick Ltd -5 -1 119 43 0.07 $ 184,989,128.17
GED Golden Deeps -6 0 114 -33 0.015 $ 7,555,669.79
EMH European Metals Hldg -6 44 214 57 0.675 $ 81,077,811.79
RFR Rafaella Resources -6 -8 -1 -13 0.087 $ 9,513,501.39
ARL Ardea Resources Ltd -7 -1 90 -17 0.495 $ 63,835,291.00
RXL Rox Resources -7 -13 116 157 0.054 $ 114,566,393.93
CWX Carawine Resources -8 -8 79 24 0.305 $ 29,843,350.01
LEG Legend Mining -8 -19 -21 156 0.11 $ 307,997,107.92
G88 Golden Mile Res Ltd -8 -24 80 4 0.054 $ 6,766,008.04
GME GME Resources Ltd -9 5 19 -33 0.042 $ 23,388,411.06
ALY Alchemy Resource Ltd -10 -14 77 39 0.019 $ 13,444,869.06
AQD Ausquest Limited -10 -38 50 50 0.018 $ 12,191,988.26
VRC Volt Resources Ltd -10 -25 -10 -35 0.009 $ 21,173,735.55
GAL Galileo Mining Ltd -10 -6 -2 80 0.225 $ 33,628,783.18
ADV Ardiden Ltd -10 -24 550 550 0.026 $ 55,199,608.98
EGR Ecograf Limited -11 -16 116 67 0.16 $ 60,057,816.72
SGQ St George Min Ltd -13 8 55 -7 0.13 $ 65,460,638.88
AOU Auroch Minerals Ltd -14 33 227 125 0.18 $ 47,450,412.75
BOA Boadicea Resources -14 -19 6 10 0.21 $ 14,224,521.58
QXR Qx Resources Limited -15 21 31 0 0.017 $ 9,073,959.47
AZS Azure Minerals 63 90 970 576 0.845 $ 222,817,207.64

 

Unlike lithium, nickel sentiment is flying.

Stockhead’s battery metals weekly top 10 is, once again, dominated by nickel sulphhide plays like Auroch, Estrella, St George, and Chalice.

Auroch Minerals (ASX:AOU) is a certified bolter. The WA explorer is now up ~180 per cent over the past month as it dials in on WA’s next big nickel discovery.

The recent benchmark is Estrella Resources (ASX:ESR), which has soared ~1200 per cent since making a spectacular nickel discovery at the Carr Boyd project in early October.

Meanwhile,  St George Mining (ASX:SGQ) says a discovery is “imminent” after identifying two very strong conductors at the Mt Alexander project in WA.

Down-hole electromagnetic (DHEM) surveying involves sending a probe attached to a wire cable down a completed drill-hole.

The probe is then able to “see” conductive mineralisation up to 75m away.

Every conductor in the Cathedrals Belt has turned out to be massive sulphides with high grades of nickel, copper, cobalt and PGEs.

A 100 per cent hit rate.

“The MAD184 conductors are particularly exciting as they are the deepest conductors ever identified in the Cathedrals Belt and located 800m to the west of previously intersected massive sulphides on the Cathedrals Belt,” St George exec John Prineas says.

“With a 100 per cent success rate in testing these kinds of conductors in the Cathedrals Belt, we are confident that our next significant discovery of massive nickel-copper sulphides is imminent.”