• London Metals Exchange stops nickel trading after price hits $US100,000/t
  • Weekly ASX battery metal standouts include Metals Australia, Cobalt Blue and Impact Minerals

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

 

This is pure insanity.

“Nickel has just touched $100,000 a tonne on the LME – that’s right – double its previous all-time high,” analyst Gavin Wendt says in a tweet.

“The LME is in the grip of a massive squeeze, with substantial short positions being forced to cover at a time of low liquidity.

“Nickel is up $72,000 a tonne this week alone.”

The madness led to the LME halting trading in its nickel market late yesterday arvo for the remainder of the trading day, at least.

“The LME will give consideration to a possible multi-day closure, given the geopolitical situation [Russia’s invasion of Ukraine] which underlies recent price moves,” it says.

 

What is a short squeeze?

‘Short sellers’ borrow something — in this case nickel units — for a fee and then sell it, expecting it to fall in value.

They buy it back at some point and return it to the original owner.

If it falls in value, they pocket the difference. If it increases, they take a loss.

Depending on how much it increases, these losses can be catastrophic.

A ‘short squeeze’ happens when the price increases quickly, forcing the short sellers to buy it at a higher price to prevent even bigger losses.

This buying momentum forces prices even higher.

Remember GameStop?

Melvin Capital, the hedge fund at the centre of the GameStop drama, lost 53% of its value in a month after retail traders, spearheaded by punters on r/Wallstreetbets, recognised that hedge funds like Melvin were very short GameStock and caused a ‘short squeeze’.

This is like that, but on a far larger scale.

Bloomberg reports that a unit of China Construction Bank Corp. has been given additional time by the LME to pay hundreds of millions of dollars of margin calls it missed Monday.

Tsingshan boss and trader Xiang Guangda — an entrepreneur colloquially known as Big Shot – could also be holding a big short position on a recent bet nickel prices would come down from recent highs.

Ouch.

 

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 is 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 % 1 YEAR RETURN % PRICE MARKET CAP
IPT Impact Minerals 45% 23% 33% -33% 0.016 $30,356,923.79
MLS Metals Australia 42% 48% 85% 85% 0.074 $20,954,247.60
COB Cobalt Blue 34% 3% 109% 48% 0.585 $198,219,563.69
DEV Devex Resources 30% 5% 45% 109% 0.45 $136,670,026.52
NC1 Nicoresourceslimited 28% 58% 0% 0% 0.79 $65,001,251.49
AOU Auroch Minerals 28% 6% -25% -47% 0.1275 $43,356,215.88
BNR Bulletin Res 25% 43% 90% 125% 0.15 $42,833,986.50
GME GME Resources 24% 18% 24% 6% 0.073 $42,767,334.86
ESR Estrella Res 23% 0% -26% -54% 0.032 $32,418,401.58
WIN Widgienickellimited 23% 17% 0% 0% 0.405 $91,250,000.00
CZN Corazon 20% 6% -5% -32% 0.036 $12,828,036.42
QEM QEM Limited 20% 0% 16% 120% 0.18 $18,714,849.95
BEM Blackearth Minerals 20% 0% -11% -14% 0.12 $31,089,815.53
PAN Panoramic Resources 19% 24% 48% 130% 0.31 $625,528,771.22
PLL Piedmont Lithium Inc 18% 19% 3% 4% 0.8175 $418,292,281.00
GAL Galileo Mining 18% 18% -32% -33% 0.225 $37,050,025.10
IGO IGO Limited 17% 6% 32% 101% 12.755 $9,844,481,569.00
TMT Technology Metals 17% 6% -19% 6% 0.35 $69,244,872.60
FRS Forrestaniaresources 16% -5% 0% 0% 0.36 $10,677,545.52
1MC Morella Corporation 16% -19% -65% -65% 0.022 $113,876,707.69
AOA Ausmon Resorces 14% 14% 14% 14% 0.008 $6,858,314.74
CXO Core Lithium 14% 12% 143% 338% 0.875 $1,543,952,141.55
SYA Sayona Mining 13% 2% -18% 387% 0.1275 $922,599,758.47
G88 Golden Mile Res 13% 13% 0% 22% 0.061 $10,381,099.68
MRD Mount Ridley Mines 13% 13% 125% 200% 0.009 $51,696,764.30
ADV Ardiden 13% -21% -21% -16% 0.0135 $33,258,029.45
SGQ St George Min 12% -30% -31% -49% 0.047 $26,513,592.17
LKE Lake Resources 10% 14% 85% 186% 1 $1,204,163,974.55
BUX Buxton Resources 10% 45% 45% 49% 0.11 $14,285,820.36
VR8 Vanadium Resources 10% -3% 31% 88% 0.077 $36,429,652.80
GMC Gulf Manganese Corp 10% 10% 10% 10% 0.0055 $29,718,965.83
ARL Ardea Resources 10% 7% 76% 68% 0.74 $120,371,818.12
AX8 Accelerate Resources 10% 24% 10% -8% 0.046 $11,659,109.35
ASN Anson Resources 9% -11% 17% 79% 0.12 $122,567,913.60
VMC Venus Metals Cor 9% -14% 3% -8% 0.185 $27,194,162.94
AS2 Askarimetalslimited 9% -17% 79% 0% 0.375 $14,680,059.63
GSR Greenstone Resources 9% 0% 52% 90% 0.038 $35,741,693.87
AZL Arizona Lithium 8% -16% 217% 251% 0.13 $269,698,471.43
RLC Reedy Lagoon Corp. 8% -16% -7% 24% 0.026 $13,696,430.75
HXG Hexagon Energy 8% -5% -32% -45% 0.052 $24,106,638.58
AZL Arizona Lithium 8% -16% 217% 251% 0.13 $269,698,471.43
AZS Azure Minerals 8% -1% 10% 33% 0.4 $113,418,538.17
JRL Jindalee Resources 8% -12% -21% 81% 2.81 $156,901,501.40
IXR Ionic Rare Earths 8% -7% 67% 10% 0.055 $191,010,372.78
INF Infinity Lithium 8% -10% 46% -13% 0.14 $58,076,121.74
NKL Nickelx 7% 3% -33% 0% 0.15 $8,025,750.00
AM7 Arcadia Minerals 7% 2% 2% 0% 0.23 $8,048,275.00
FFX Firefinch 7% 9% 9% 256% 0.695 $836,476,702.00
IPX Iperionx Limited 7% 0% -28% 16% 0.93 $136,698,721.18
A8G Australasian Metals 7% -10% 100% 0% 0.48 $19,281,837.12
SHH Shree Minerals 7% -33% 33% 23% 0.016 $18,075,027.16
KFM Kingfisher Mining 7% 2% 30% 0% 0.24 $7,876,350.23
PNT Panthermetals 7% 7% 0% 0% 0.24 $6,720,000.00
MLX Metals X Limited 7% 15% 115% 249% 0.645 $598,795,604.22
AUZ Australian Mines 6% -13% -34% -20% 0.165 $68,857,231.52
JRV Jervois Global 6% 22% 46% 85% 0.76 $1,200,291,130.98
RMX Red Mount Min 6% -15% -15% -15% 0.0085 $13,960,092.79
LEG Legend Mining 6% 1% -11% -48% 0.068 $181,838,957.59
CTM Centaurus Metals 6% 6% 22% 80% 1.285 $562,519,228.04
SRI Sipa Resources 6% 6% -10% 0% 0.054 $10,661,289.76
BSX Blackstone 6% -28% -7% 6% 0.45 $202,318,904.25
AVL Aust Vanadium 6% -10% 64% 80% 0.036 $118,807,556.94
WML Woomera Mining 6% -10% -17% -21% 0.018 $12,272,995.19
QPM Queensland Pacific 6% -21% -39% 51% 0.1375 $223,751,404.00
LRS Latin Resources 6% 27% -12% -41% 0.038 $55,085,451.93
ARU Arafura Resource 5% 0% 18% -5% 0.2 $294,579,293.08
LOT Lotus Resources 5% 27% 45% 154% 0.305 $287,927,590.65
AGY Argosy Minerals 5% -10% 80% 215% 0.315 $433,670,840.13
QXR Qx Resources Limited 5% -2% 187% 153% 0.043 $35,525,529.09
LEL Lithenergy 5% -20% 44% 0% 0.865 $38,925,000.00
S32 South32 Limited 5% 21% 53% 77% 5.04 $24,909,202,830.24
KOR Korab Resources 5% -8% 125% 221% 0.045 $16,517,250.00
BHP BHP Group Limited 5% 3% 16% 1% 48.82 $255,039,842,312.20
WR1 Winsome Resources 5% -22% 0% 0% 0.34 $46,388,697.93
LPI Lithium Pwr Int 5% -15% 92% 150% 0.575 $212,749,607.28
ARR American Rare Earths 4% -1% 124% 330% 0.37 $153,329,991.75
MRC Mineral Commodities 4% -7% -22% -65% 0.125 $66,873,829.25
WCN White Cliff Min 4% -4% 67% 39% 0.025 $15,615,033.58
CHR Charger Metals 4% -22% 0% 0% 0.63 $21,004,017.36
GL1 Globallith 4% -4% 268% 0% 1.435 $204,861,463.87
MCR Mincor Resources NL 4% 22% 57% 116% 2.07 $1,084,938,086.40
HNR Hannans 3% -20% 363% 305% 0.032 $83,400,687.23
PAM Pan Asia Metals 3% -16% -27% 230% 0.495 $37,565,908.44
CAE Cannindah Resources 3% 5% 272% 831% 0.335 $174,368,037.71
ESS Essential Metals 3% -29% 72% 235% 0.335 $81,826,676.56
LTR Liontown Resources 3% 3% 48% 258% 1.475 $3,463,715,812.84
TLG Talga Group 3% -10% -4% 12% 1.355 $420,492,236.22
MNS Magnis Energy Tech 2% -18% 15% 38% 0.42 $410,447,473.85
LIT Lithium Australia NL 2% -10% -10% -17% 0.1075 $113,582,765.56
CWX Carawine Resources 2% 33% 0% -39% 0.22 $29,634,384.61
AKE Allkem Limited 2% 2% -4% 118% 9.27 $6,171,247,672.48
MIN Mineral Resources. 2% -22% -11% 20% 46.24 $9,070,475,634.33
OZL OZ Minerals 2% 4% 9% 22% 26.05 $9,246,312,351.50
RNU Renascor Res 2% -15% 104% 264% 0.255 $503,399,486.03
AVZ AVZ Minerals 2% 6% 216% 313% 0.805 $3,003,294,879.60
RFR Rafaella Resources 2% -21% -39% -42% 0.056 $13,343,544.96
STK Strickland Metals 2% -8% 53% 171% 0.058 $75,510,530.50
GW1 Greenwing Resources 2% -22% -2% 2% 0.305 $34,260,550.24
SRL Sunrise 2% -6% 4% -21% 1.85 $171,109,970.10
TNG TNG Limited 2% -14% -26% -31% 0.062 $88,858,766.21
NWC New World Resources 2% -9% -11% 21% 0.063 $100,463,127.79
NMT Neometals 1% -3% 64% 303% 1.36 $786,920,128.26
NIC Nickel Mines Limited 1% 6% 50% 24% 1.5475 $4,328,199,602.10
SCN Scorpion Minerals 1% 4% 1% 42% 0.071 $19,134,939.63
JMS Jupiter Mines. 1% -1% -5% -33% 0.2275 $470,157,847.92
PSC Prospect Res 1% -2% 136% 431% 0.85 $366,599,625.45
VIA Viagold Rare Earth 0% 0% 3674% 3179% 2 $166,624,808.00
LPD Lepidico 0% -19% 15% 50% 0.03 $187,419,389.49
GBR Greatbould Resources 0% -3% -15% 282% 0.145 $51,799,192.31
EUR European Lithium 0% -24% 6% 57% 0.091 $109,429,017.91
SBR Sabre Resources 0% -20% 0% -20% 0.004 $9,156,661.42
PNN PepinNini Minerals 0% -12% 34% 10% 0.395 $24,181,234.03
NTU Northern Min 0% 0% 16% 22% 0.05 $242,825,814.95
ADD Adavale Resource 0% -10% -33% -24% 0.038 $12,059,482.00
ATM Aneka Tambang 0% 1% 10% 10% 1.1025 $1,437,273.02
AQD Ausquest Limited 0% -6% -15% -11% 0.017 $14,010,536.79
LML Lincoln Minerals 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.008 $4,599,869.49
PUR Pursuit Minerals 0% -13% -58% -64% 0.02 $19,383,758.48
RBX Resource B 0% -22% 6% 429% 0.18 $6,990,827.38
BOA Boadicea Resources 0% -9% 3% -7% 0.195 $15,151,479.53
SLZ Sultan Resources 0% 0% 3% -11% 0.16 $13,325,502.24
BYH Bryah Resources 0% -16% -10% -18% 0.047 $10,405,530.05
IMI Infinitymining 0% 9% 0% 0% 0.175 $9,775,000.00
RAG Ragnar Metals 0% -30% -35% -51% 0.028 $10,435,176.89
TEM Tempest Minerals 0% -4% 17% -15% 0.023 $9,151,720.65
KGD Kula Gold Limited 0% -4% -15% 10% 0.046 $9,467,727.81
ENT Enterprise Metals 0% 0% -12% -33% 0.014 $8,022,282.03
AZI Altamin Limited 0% 7% -20% -21% 0.064 $26,443,292.74
CML Chase Mining Limited 0% -20% -33% -20% 0.012 $6,085,725.89
RBX Resource B 0% -22% 6% 429% 0.18 $6,990,827.38
RR1 Reach Resources 0% 14% 33% 118% 0.008 $12,752,099.71
EMT Emetals Limited 0% -11% -19% -32% 0.017 $15,300,000.00
CHN Chalice Mining 0% -7% 5% 89% 7.39 $2,701,728,637.14
PLS Pilbara Min 0% -19% 26% 177% 2.7 $8,394,672,424.26
AXE Archer Materials -1% -15% -40% 8% 0.97 $242,615,862.86
MRR Minrex Resources -2% -35% 267% 139% 0.055 $49,423,788.96
PGM Platina Resources -2% 4% -30% 18% 0.052 $22,153,499.44
AML Aeon Metals . -2% 0% -18% -53% 0.047 $41,558,826.62
MAN Mandrake Res -2% -6% -24% -74% 0.045 $21,691,713.15
BKT Black Rock Mining -2% -2% 18% 80% 0.225 $196,204,342.28
VML Vital Metals Limited -2% -10% -32% -35% 0.045 $187,446,738.78
LRV Larvottoresources -3% -28% 0% 0% 0.18 $7,572,512.50
CRR Critical Resources -3% -28% 200% 324% 0.072 $109,326,601.15
HAS Hastings Tech Met -3% -9% 17% 50% 0.2625 $485,597,045.18
INR Ioneer -3% -19% -22% 34% 0.51 $1,066,285,167.48
S2R S2 Resources -3% -8% 48% 13% 0.17 $60,583,725.35
PEK Peak Rare Earths -3% -9% -25% -36% 0.67 $141,928,545.60
FG1 Flynngold -3% 0% 0% 0% 0.16 $10,570,073.25
KZR Kalamazoo Resources -3% -14% -19% -38% 0.28 $42,106,368.46
EGR Ecograf Limited -4% -15% -42% -22% 0.52 $240,928,400.57
VUL Vulcan Energy -4% -8% -42% 37% 8.27 $1,121,616,166.80
GSM Golden State Mining -4% -15% -37% -46% 0.076 $6,314,686.86
WKT Walkabout Resources -4% -8% 14% 63% 0.245 $110,807,402.44
REE Rarex Limited -4% -15% -9% -26% 0.096 $44,707,727.20
MQR Marquee Resource -4% -26% 26% 71% 0.096 $21,640,260.20
EVR Ev Resources -4% -25% 57% 24% 0.047 $45,373,219.48
ILU Iluka Resources -4% -6% 3% 45% 10.25 $4,561,511,999.92
BRB Breaker Res NL -4% -2% -10% 21% 0.23 $74,943,413.67
LSR Lodestar Minerals -4% 15% 28% 15% 0.0115 $20,861,248.18
POS Poseidon Nick -4% -10% -25% 34% 0.09 $278,820,316.87
CLA Celsius Resource -4% -21% -27% -46% 0.022 $23,187,517.78
GLN Galan Lithium -4% -13% 23% 198% 1.295 $394,822,934.17
TMB Tambourahmetals -5% -16% -5% 0% 0.21 $8,650,445.58
FRB Firebird Metals -5% -12% -47% 0% 0.305 $14,641,464.32
LMG Latrobe Magnesium -5% -19% 256% 289% 0.0855 $139,158,809.94
EMS Eastern Metals -5% -20% 0% 0% 0.185 $7,120,000.00
ARN Aldoro Resources -5% -9% -29% 71% 0.35 $31,857,199.10
AKN Auking Mining -5% -13% -5% -56% 0.175 $12,313,097.30
LYC Lynas Rare Earths -6% 5% 37% 60% 9.655 $8,997,043,193.38
EMH European Metals Hldg -6% -20% -27% -25% 1.12 $168,932,358.00
NVA Nova Minerals -7% -33% -59% -58% 0.57 $102,715,302.45
TON Triton Min -7% -13% -13% -45% 0.028 $34,797,956.96
KTA Krakatoa Resources -7% -16% -45% -34% 0.041 $12,672,526.43
RXL Rox Resources -7% -2% -7% -30% 0.4 $67,576,378.80
ALY Alchemy Resource -8% 0% -18% -6% 0.012 $12,380,483.57
CMX Chemxmaterials -8% -20% 0% 0% 0.175 $8,341,335.18
AAJ Aruma Resources -8% -7% -16% 48% 0.08 $12,870,843.25
SYR Syrah Resources -8% -20% -5% 21% 1.295 $892,802,396.40
OMH OM Holdings Limited -8% -1% 18% 33% 0.9 $697,999,053.47
AR3 Austrare -8% -12% -18% 0% 0.7575 $57,518,694.75
MOH Moho Resources -8% -15% -29% -44% 0.044 $5,725,662.54
CNJ Conico -8% -27% -84% -59% 0.011 $11,002,363.61
CMO Cosmometalslimited -9% -29% 0% 0% 0.16 $3,954,050.00
TKL Traka Resources -9% -33% -33% -41% 0.01 $7,576,520.17
GED Golden Deeps -10% -14% -21% -5% 0.0095 $7,758,514.40
EMN Euromanganese -10% -25% -38% -24% 0.38 $101,635,963.62
EFE Eastern Resources -10% -21% 39% 393% 0.046 $47,433,048.29
GRE Greentechmetals -10% -23% 0% 0% 0.23 $6,342,249.77
MMC Mitremining -10% -5% 0% 0% 0.18 $4,875,318.00
E25 Element 25 -10% -27% -57% -49% 0.935 $151,183,265.31
BMM Balkanminingandmin -11% -36% -73% 0% 0.25 $8,187,500.00
FGR First Graphene -11% -11% -20% -33% 0.16 $88,553,945.92
PVW PVW Res -12% -18% 236% 270% 0.555 $41,563,125.00
TSC Twenty Seven Co. -13% 0% 17% -42% 0.0035 $11,973,662.57
VRC Volt Resources -14% -37% -68% -20% 0.012 $32,115,325.86
ENV Enova Mining Limited -15% -23% -29% -35% 0.017 $6,773,176.88
DTM Dart Mining NL -19% 5% -26% -54% 0.081 $10,581,729.05
PRL Province Resources -19% -32% -39% 10% 0.089 $105,462,035.88
CNB Carnaby Resource -19% -31% 299% 498% 1.375 $226,785,699.74

 

Weekly small cap standouts

METALS AUSTRALIA (ASX:MLS)

This battery metals minnow is having a decent run in 2022, up 88% year-to-date.

Last week’s run was sparked by some rock chip samples grading up 2.3% lithium and 0.7% rubidium at the ‘Mandini’ project in WA.

Hard rock lithium mines usually grade between 1-1.5% lithium, but high grade rock chips aren’t much to get excited about on their own.

They could’ve been transported to this location from elsewhere by an ancient river or earthquake, for example.

The only way to prove if there is economic mineralisation is by drilling, which is well underway, MLS says.

The 45 hole, ~3,500m drilling program is currently testing the central, high-grade, part of the ‘Foundation’ pegmatite.

Initial testing has already intersected up to 16m downhole of mineralised pegmatite in RC drillhole MNRC043.

Drilling details will be reported once results are received.

 

IMPACT MINERALS (ASX:IPT)

IPT identified high priority battery and strategic metals targets at its aptly-named ‘Jumbo’ joint venture project in WA.

Soil geochemistry work highlighted the project’s potential to host nickel-copper-platinum group elements, lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) pegmatites, rare earth elements, and rubidium.

“These soil results further confirm to us that Impact has secured a large and very prospective part of the emerging mineral province of southwest Western Australia which already contains the recent Julimar Ni-Cu-PGM discovery and the Greenbushes lithium-tantalum mine, both world-class deposits,” managing director Dr Mike Jones said.

“The region is clearly vastly under-explored and has great potential for the discovery of deposits covering a wide range of battery and strategic metals.”

Impact plans to start first pass follow-up field checking and sampling in the June quarter.

 

COBALT BLUE (ASX:COB)

COB’s advanced Broken Hill cobalt project (BHCP) — the only large scale, non-African, greenfield primary cobalt project in the world — has received Major Project Status from the Federal Government.

CEO Joe Kaderavek says Major Project Status will “greatly assist” COB raise development cash by recognising the strategic importance given to this project by the Australian Government.

“This milestone is critically important for overseas partners and well timed in our development journey,” he says.

“COB can now boast both Made in Australia and Backed by Australia.”

From a practical POV this designation provides COB with a single ‘entry point’ for Australian Government approvals, project support and coordination with State approvals.

The 81,000t BHCP could be in production by mid to late 2025. Pre-production capex is estimated at ~$560m.

It would produce +3,500tpa cobalt metal eq over 20 years at a very low all-in sustaining cost of $US12/lb – making it profitable even at record low prices.

The cobalt price recently hit $US34/lb, and continues to rise.

In 2022, COB is planning to operate its demonstration plant — a smaller version of the real thing — and deliver large scale samples to potential offtake partners.

Project approvals and a BFS will be finalised by the end of the year, ready for a final investment decision on the project by Q1 2023.