High Voltage: here’s all the latest news driving battery metals stocks
Mining & Resources
Each week High Voltage tracks a list of ASX 200 battery metals stocks including explorers with exposure to lithium, cobalt, graphite, manganese and vanadium — stocks that are used in energy storage and generally driven by battery news, even if their main application is not yet battery storage.
>>>Scroll down for a table showing the recent performance of 200 ASX battery metal stocks
It’s been a bloodbath for most ASX small caps stocks this week.
Battery metals-exposed small caps didn’t escape the carnage, despite the strong outlook for lithium, cobalt, manganese, graphite and vanadium.
Of the 200 battery metals stocks on our list, about 130 lost ground, 30 were ahead and 40 were steady.
The biggest winners were all micro caps – Blina Minerals (ASX:BDI) up 100 per cent, Monax Mining (ASX:MOX) up 50 per cent, and Pacifico Minerals (ASX:PMY) up 20 per cent.
West Australian manganese and lithium explorer Pure Minerals (ASX:PM1) was also up 8.5 per cent for the week to 1.3c – it’s shares are currently suspended pending an acquisition announcement.
For the first time, explorer Corazon Mining (ASX: CZN) has included cobalt as part of a resource upgrade at the historic ‘Lynn Lake’ project in Canada.
This helped boost its share price about 14.5 per cent to 0.8c for the week; but it is still about 65 per cent in the red over the past year.
The newly upgraded resource – a 60 per cent boost on its previous 2015 estimate – now contains 110,300 tonnes of nickel, 51,400t of copper and 5200t of cobalt.
The low-grade, near-surface Lynn Lake deposits “provide the opportunity for mining using large tonnage, low cost methods”, Corazon told investors yesterday.
Chile’s mining minister is the latest to complain about the lack of transparency around lithium pricing, which Reuters says could be having a “chilling effect” on investment.
Chile is the world’s second largest lithium producer after Australia, which took the number one spot this year.
China trade stats are not accurate enough to set your lithium prices to or use in any meaningful way. To boot, China has not realise any lithium export data since Feb
— Simon Moores (@sdmoores) October 10, 2018
The London Metals Exchange is working on a benchmark price for the battery metal next year – but it’s a laborious process, because individual prices decided between sellers and buyers are not made publicly available.
A benchmark price is an independently discovered market price used as a ‘starting point’ to set specific contract prices.
Battery metals data leader Benchmark Minerals Intelligence calls this “the next logical evolution in markets that are growing as quickly as lithium”.
Next year will mark the start of a huge EV ramp-up for the world’s biggest carmakers — and that’s expected to have a serious impact on demand for key battery metals such as lithium, cobalt, manganese, HPA and nickel.
Euro car-makers have a lot of ground to make up on EV leaders Tesla, Nissan and various Chinese manufacturers – who continue to break production and sales records every month.
Tesla sold an estimated 22,250 Model 3s in September in the US alone according to this report — the highest ever for sales of a single plug-in electric car in a month, and the first time an EV has beaten 20,000 sales a month in the US market.
This EV ramp-up will see the world’s lithium battery-making capacity more than triple from 175 gigawatt hours to 630GwH by 2022, says a top expert.
“That’s not a forecast from us,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Logan Goldie-Scot told a conference in Perth on Monday.
“That’s purely based on announcements from different battery manufacturers on the size of their new plants, and when they expect to commission them,” he said.
There was a lot of talk of lithium scarcity last year – now that’s changed, but supply is still very vulnerable.
This is because production rarely, if ever, comes online as planned, Mr Goldie-Scot said.
Then — like clockwork — Chile rejects a request from world-leading lithium producer Albemarle to increase production from 80,000t to 125,000t a year.
Niv Dagan, executive director at Peak Asset Management, said this could have “a positive bearing on lithium prices going forward”.
And the vanadium price could stay high “for some years” with the Chinese government serious about shutting down domestic production as part of its environmental reform agenda, Mastermines boss David Gillam says.
“Anyone that thinks the Chinese government is not serious about environmental reforms is wrong,” he said.
“The number of companies being affected is enormous.”
Chinese players also need more vanadium after the government introduced stricter standards for rebar – a reinforcing steel used in concrete.
“Vanadium is just off the charts at the moment,” Mr Gillam said.
“We saw the vanadium spot price spike around 23 per cent in a week. It’s unheard of for minerals.”
Here’s a list of ASX battery metal stocks with exposure to lithium, cobalt, graphite, manganese and vanadium.
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort: