High Voltage: here’s all the latest news driving ASX battery metals stocks
Each week our High Voltage column wraps all the news driving ASX battery metals stocks with exposure to lithium, cobalt, graphite, manganese and vanadium.
Scroll down for a table showing the recent performance of 200 ASX battery metal stocks
An anticipated surge in EV demand has triggered an 82 per cent increase in global exploration budgets for cobalt and lithium in 2018, according to a report from S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Cobalt and lithium exploration budgets are now up 500 per cent from 2015 levels.
Just as well, because Volkswagen Group — which owns Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda and Volkswagen — is going to spend more than $68.5 billion in the coming five years on EVs, autonomous driving, new mobility services and digitalisation.
"With our e-offensive, we are focusing #Volkswagen increasingly on clean mobility. We are increasing our investments, launching new #MEB models and seriously considering involvement in battery production." – Volkswagen CEO Diess#eMobility #battery pic.twitter.com/lrnF8iWSxv
— Volkswagen Group (@VWGroup) November 16, 2018
The Group made revenues of almost $360 billion selling 10.7 million cars in 2017, so this is clearly a watershed moment for the entire battery supply chain.
It previously announced plans to ramp up to 1 million EVs per year by 2025 – but the announcements last week really set the wheels in motion.
At the moment, these plans appear far more bullish — and coherent — than those of fellow leading automakers.
Volkswagen reckons it will need battery capacity in excess of 150GWh per year through to 2025 just to equip its own electric fleet.
That’s equal to the annual battery cell capacity of more than four Tesla Gigafactories.
Separately, the German government announced a $1.71 billion investment to support its own lithium-ion battery industry, as it looks to catch up with EV and battery cell front-runner China.
Germany is a car-making behemoth, employing about 820,200 people and generating revenues of $665 billion in 2017.
Its Government wants Europe to supply 30 per cent of global battery cell production by 2030 to reduce dependence on Asian EV battery suppliers, according to Reuters.
Speaking of Asian battery suppliers – Analysts at Roskill report that automotive parts giant Wanxiang Group is planning a $13.6 billion gigafactory to produce 80 GWh of EV batteries each year.
Benchmark Minerals Intelligence now counts 52 large lithium-ion battery factories either planned, under construction, or in operation.
Just look at the lithium ion capacity build out by region Tom. An incredible rise from 1 Gigafactory in 2014 when we started tracking it to 52 and rising! @benchmarkmin > battery cell costs now $105/kWh to $160/kWh. Good average is $135. pic.twitter.com/amvXzyUjMv
— Simon Moores (@sdmoores) November 15, 2018
Investor confidence in the small cap space took a wallop last week. Of the 200 battery metals stocks on our list, about 102 lost ground, 45 were ahead and 45 were steady.
Of the winners, lithium focussed explorer Hannans (ASX:HNR) was up 40 per cent to 1.4c for the week, while fellow lithium player Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) jumped over 27 per cent to 12.5c.
Marquee Resources took off on news of a deal to supply cobalt from its Canadian project to a big Chinese battery cathode maker.
The junior explorer (ASX:MQR) revealed it had signed a non-binding agreement with Zhejiang Meidu Haichuang Lithium Battery Technology.
Shares shot up over 62 per cent to an intra-day high of 12.5c on the news, before cooling to finish the week 15 per cent up to 9.1c.
Perhaps it reflected general market sentiment, but even the well-publicised “official opening” of Pilbara Minerals’ (ASX:PLS) Pilgangoora mine – and fresh commitment to bullish expansion plans – resulted in a paltry 1.7 per cent share price increase to 85c.
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