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 >>

INDUSTRY FOCUS

Fears of lithium oversupply continue to fade despite rating service Moody’s heading for that familiar well again in its latest note.

This is partially because supply ramp-up is seeing its share of issues, Benchmark Minerals Intelligence boss Simon Moores recently told Stockhead.

“Clearly, the Atacama [Chilean lithium brine operations] scaling is proving problematic, which adds to the view that major oversupply in lithium has not, and will not, come to fruition anytime soon,” he says.

Australia is bringing more spodumene lithium supply online next year, but this supply is being locked up by the big two Chinese producers, “leaving questions over how other lithium chemical producers will get reliable, reasonably priced feedstock”.

“These are only two [parts] of an increasingly complex lithium supply picture – a sign of a rapidly scaling supply chain,” Mr Moores says.

“All these issues for lithium supply have reared their head in 2018. Expect more of the same in 2019.”

The large electric vehicle (EV) battery factory count just keeps growing (more than 60 megafactories in the pipeline by 2028, according to the latest from Benchmark Minerals).

The latest big one is Korean company SK Innovation – supplier to big carmakers like Daimler and Hyundai – which is building its first US battery factory at a cost of more than $2.3 billion. Construction starts next year.

Innovation is also happening at breakneck speeds.

German chemical giant BASF has discovered that by upping the amount of manganese and using much less nickel and cobalt it can slash the cost of an EV battery by way more than half.

BASF is developing a battery chemistry that comprises 70 per cent manganese, 20 per cent nickel and less than 5 per cent cobalt.

Marco Romero, the chief of Canadian explorer Euro Manganese (ASX:EMN), told Stockhead that the development has “incredible implications”.

“The battery industry has been desperately trying to find a way to engineer cobalt out of these batteries,” he said.

“So to be able to replace the cobalt with manganese all of a sudden changes the game potentially for the entire electric vehicle industry globally.

“They’re now talking about taking the cost per kilowatt hour of batteries down to $US40 ($55.26). Until recently the industry was hoping to get to $US100 — down from where it is right now which is closer to $US200.”

According to Mr Romero, this particular chemistry make-up means electric vehicles would be just as competitive as petrol-powered cars.

Until now the push by battery makers was for a chemistry make-up of 80 per cent nickel, 10 per cent manganese and 10 per cent cobalt, shifting from the current combination of 60 per cent nickel, 20 per cent manganese and 20 per cent cobalt.

But now it looks as if manganese is the key to much cheaper batteries and a substantial reduction in cobalt, which faces supply constraints and ethical issues over how it is mined.

About 90 per cent of manganese goes into steel-making, but it’s increasingly used in next-generation battery and power storage applications.

SMALL CAP SPOTLIGHT

Of the ~200 battery metals stocks on our list, about 72 lost ground, 69 were ahead and 45 were steady.

Major small cap winners included Cohiba Minerals (ASX:CHK) up 260 per cent, Black Rock Mining (ASX:BKT) up 20 per cent, and First Graphene (ASX:FGR) up 19 per cent.

Advanced explorer Australian Vanadium (ASX:AVL) had a stronger week — up 31 per cent to 3.8c — after unveiling a bigger resource at its flagship Gabanintha vanadium project.

The revised estimate includes a high-grade zone which increased 3.3 per cent to 96.7 million tonnes at 1 per cent V2O5.

The 19-hole drilling campaign also helped fine tune the mine plan to be unveiled in the upcoming pre-feasibility study (PFS), Australian Vanadium managing director Vince Algar said.

“By incorporating these new results into our PFS, we are better able to attract the attention of key vanadium investors and market participants,” he said.

Preparation of the final PFS document is currently underway with final reports to be handed to the board in December.

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

Ticker Short Name One Week Price Change One Year Price Change Price December 23 Market Cap
CHK COHIBA MINERALS 2.6 0.64 0.018 10.6M
ORN ORION MINERALS 0.45 -0.03 0.029 52.5M
ARE ARGONAUT RESOURCES 0.39 -0.07 0.025 40.4M
AOU AUROCH MINERALS 0.33 -0.59 0.08 7.9M
KLH KALIA 0.33 -0.76 0.004 10.1M
AVL AUSTRALIAN VANADIUM 0.31 1.24 0.038 57.9M
GBE GLOBE METALS AND MINING 0.29 -0.05 0.018 8.4M
JRV JERVOIS MINING 0.21 -0.62 0.23 43.5M
SI6 SIX SIGMA METALS 0.2 -0.6 0.006 2.3M
PNN PEPINNINI LITHIUM 0.2 -0.84 0.006 4.1M
MZN MARINDI METALS 0.2 -0.57 0.006 11.9M
MTH MITHRIL RESOURCES 0.2 -0.8 0.006 1.6M
AZI ALTA ZINC 0.2 -0.57 0.006 6.8M
ADV ARDIDEN 0.2 -0.63 0.006 10.1M
BKT BLACK ROCK MINING 0.2 -0.26 0.042 22.0M
FGR FIRST GRAPHENE 0.19 0.23 0.185 74.7M
HNR HANNANS 0.18 -0.13 0.013 21.9M
ENT ENTERPRISE METALS 0.18 -0.28 0.013 3.8M
SCI SILVER CITY MINE 0.17 -0.55 0.014 3.4M
OKR OKAPI RESOURCES 0.16 -0.56 0.215 7.4M
TAW TAWANA RESOURCES 0.15 -0.14 0.315 173.4M
SRN SUREFIRE RESOURCES 0.14 -0.53 0.008 3.1M
LTR LIONTOWN RESOURCES 0.13 -0.04 0.026 28.3M
KTA KRAKATOA RESOURCES 0.13 -0.47 0.027 3.2M
EUC EUROPEAN COBALT 0.13 -0.81 0.045 32.0M
ORE OROCOBRE 0.11 -0.27 4.56 1.1B
GED GOLDEN DEEPS 0.11 -0.18 0.042 7.0M
CRL COMET RESOURCES 0.09 -0.64 0.035 6.2M
EUR EUROPEAN LITHIUM 0.09 -0.33 0.12 65.7M
CLQ CLEAN TEQ HOLDINGS 0.09 -0.73 0.425 309.7M
SEI SPECIALITY METAL 0.08 -0.13 0.013 7.2M
MIN MINERAL RESOURCES 0.08 -0.2 15.64 2.9B
GLN GALAN LITHIUM 0.08 2.86 0.27 24.4M
GXY GALAXY RESOURCES 0.08 -0.28 2.78 1.1B
KOR KORAB RESOURCES 0.08 0.08 0.028 8.3M
TLG TALGA RESOURCES 0.07 -0.29 0.435 98.0M
S32 SOUTH32 0.07 0.02 3.32 15.8B
SYR SYRAH RESOURCES 0.07 -0.56 1.805 560.1M
PIO PIONEER RESOURCES 0.07 -0.45 0.016 24.1M
KDR KIDMAN RESOURCES 0.06 -0.15 1.35 535.4M
VMC VENUS METALS 0.06 0.26 0.17 12.6M
OAR OAKDALE RESOURCES 0.06 -0.59 0.017 974.7k
MLM METALLICA MINERALS 0.06 -0.31 0.035 10.6M
ANW AUS TIN MINING 0.06 0.64 0.018 35.6M
RNU RENASCOR RESOURCES 0.06 -0.42 0.019 19.6M
E25 ELEMENT 25 0.06 -0.28 0.19 17.2M
TNO TANDO RESOURCES 0.05 0.75 0.11 21.3M
TNG TNG 0.05 -0.19 0.11 100.9M
NVA NOVA MINERALS 0.05 -0.37 0.022 16.3M
COB COBALT BLUE HOLDINGS 0.05 -0.4 0.225 25.6M
VMS VENTURE MINERALS 0.05 -0.57 0.023 12.0M
LKE LAKE RESOURCES 0.05 -0.39 0.115 41.9M
SYA SAYONA MINING 0.04 -0.54 0.024 37.7M
SVM SOVEREIGN METALS 0.04 -0.38 0.074 20.5M
KAI KAIROS MINERALS 0.04 -0.59 0.025 21.3M
DEG DE GREY MINING 0.04 -0.31 0.125 53.6M
PAN PANORAMIC RESOURCES 0.04 -0.06 0.39 174.3M
SRK STRIKE RESOURCES 0.04 -0.12 0.057 8.0M
CXO CORE LITHIUM 0.03 -0.33 0.06 38.0M
PGM PLATINA RESOURCES 0.03 -0.64 0.063 16.1M
SGQ ST GEORGE MINING 0.03 -0.57 0.165 50.7M
LIT LITHIUM AUSTRALIA 0.03 -0.47 0.1 45.9M
PLS PILBARA MINERALS 0.03 -0.2 0.84 1.5B
BAR BARRA RESOURCES 0.03 -0.34 0.035 18.3M
TON TRITON MINERALS 0.02 -0.46 0.042 38.0M
BEM BLACKEARTH MINERALS 0.02 0.087 5.5M
NZC NZURI COPPER 0.02 0.08 0.27 79.9M
OMH OM HOLDINGS 0.02 1.26 1.4 1.0B
RIO RIO TINTO 0.01 0.06 74.99 107.0B
ZNC ZENITH MINERALS 0 -0.38 0.075 15.7M
ZEU ZEUS RESOURCES 0 -0.07 0.013 2.3M
WCN WHITE CLIFF MINERALS 0 -0.92 0.013 2.8M
VRC VOLT RESOURCES 0 -0.17 0.02 30.6M
VML VITAL METALS 0 -0.13 0.007 12.2M
TMT TECHNOLOGY METALS 0 0.93 0.425 28.7M
TKM TREK METALS 0 -0.68 0.01 3.1M
SUH SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE 0 -0.73 0.04 3.5M
SO4 SALT LAKE POTASH 0 -0.15 0.45 89.9M
SBR SABRE RESOURCES 0 -0.22 0.007 2.8M
RMX RED MOUNTAIN MINING 0 -0.61 0.007 4.7M
RLC REEDY LAGOON 0 -0.76 0.008 3.2M
PSC PROSPECT RESOURCES 0 -0.52 0.025 53.2M
NWC NEW WORLD COBALT 0 -0.77 0.025 13.3M
MTB MOUNT BURGESS 0 -0.38 0.005 2.2M
MQR MARQUEE RESOURCES 0 -0.69 0.077 3.3M
MNS MAGNIS ENERGY 0 -0.3 0.315 189.5M
MLS METALS AUSTRALIA 0 -0.5 0.003 7.0M
LRS LATIN RESOURCES 0 -0.64 0.004 10.0M
LPI LITHIUM POWER 0 -0.49 0.265 69.6M
LPD LEPIDICO 0 -0.75 0.017 53.7M
LML LINCOLN MINERALS 0 -0.82 0.006 3.4M
LCD LATITUDE CONSOLIDATED 0 -0.18 0.018 5.0M
KNL KIBARAN RESOURCES 0 -0.19 0.13 34.5M
IRC INTERMIN RESOURCES 0 -0.06 0.145 35.3M
HXG HEXAGON RESOURCES 0 0.04 0.145 42.3M
GPP GREENPOWER ENERGY 0 -0.8 0.004 6.3M
GME GME RESOURCES 0 -0.49 0.076 36.6M
FEL FE 0 -0.5 0.014 5.2M
EME ENERGY METALS 0 0.04 0.1 21.0M
DTM DART MINING 0 0 0.007 6.0M
CZR COZIRON RESOURCES 0 -0.5 0.011 21.4M
CGM COUGAR METALS 0 -0.75 0.003 2.9M
CAD CAENEUS MINERALS 0 -0.67 0.001 14.1M
BYH BRYAH RESOURCES 0 -0.48 0.098 5.5M
BMT BERKUT MINERALS 0 -0.7 0.079 4.2M
BGS BIRIMIAN 0 -0.58 0.2 46.7M
BDI BLINA MINERALS 0 -0.5 0.001 4.4M
AYR ALLOY RESOURCES 0 0 0.004 6.3M
AUR AURIS MINERALS 0 -0.27 0.044 18.0M
ARU ARAFURA RESOURCES 0 -0.39 0.062 37.8M
ARM AURORA MINERALS 0 -0.48 0.021 2.5M
AML AEON METALS 0 -0.02 0.275 152.7M
AEE AURA ENERGY 0 -0.14 0.019 20.4M
ADN ANDROMEDA METALS 0 0 0.007 6.5M
WKT WALKABOUT RESOURCES -0.01 -0.45 0.091 28.0M
CZI CASSINI RESOURCES -0.01 0.2 0.09 32.8M
AVZ AVZ MINERALS -0.01 -0.65 0.081 149.2M
ASN ANSON RESOURCES -0.01 -0.19 0.077 38.1M
JMS JUPITER MINES -0.02 0.285 558.3M
BAU BAUXITE RESOURCES -0.02 -0.31 0.056 12.0M
TAR TARUGA MINERALS -0.02 -0.59 0.055 7.8M
FCC FIRST COBALT -0.02 -0.82 0.255 84.8M
NMT NEOMETALS -0.02 -0.5 0.23 127.8M
AUZ AUSTRALIAN MINES -0.02 -0.54 0.042 109.7M
HAV HAVILAH RESOURCES -0.03 -0.1 0.18 40.4M
ARL ARDEA RESOURCES -0.03 -0.62 0.61 64.6M
CMC CHINA MAGNESIUM -0.03 0.25 0.03 10.3M
PUR PURSUIT MINERALS -0.03 -0.79 0.029 4.1M
DGR DGR GLOBAL -0.03 0.45 0.145 85.8M
BUX BUXTON RESOURCES -0.03 0.17 0.14 16.2M
IDA INDIANA RESOURCES -0.04 -0.29 0.054 5.2M
MZZ MATADOR MINING -0.04 -0.11 0.25 14.0M
PLL PIEDMONT LITHIUM -0.04 -0.33 0.12 69.9M
CLL COLLERINA COBALT -0.04 -0.24 0.11 62.4M
POS POSEIDON NICKEL -0.04 0 0.043 111.0M
HWK HAWKSTONE MINING -0.05 -0.42 0.021 12.5M
GWR GWR GROUP -0.05 0.17 0.105 29.0M
AJM ALTURA MINING -0.05 -0.51 0.2 364.1M
KSN KINGSTON RESOURCES -0.05 -0.14 0.019 23.2M
CGN CRATER GOLD MINING -0.05 -0.05 0.019 5.3M
CFE CAPE LAMBERT RESOURCES -0.05 -0.3 0.019 18.2M
HIG HIGHLANDS PAC -0.05 -0.02 0.092 100.5M
VXR VENTUREX RESOURCES -0.05 -0.22 0.175 42.0M
TRT TODD RIVER RESOURCES -0.06 -0.38 0.085 13.2M
RTR RUMBLE RESOURCES -0.06 -0.19 0.05 17.9M
RDS REDSTONE RESOURCES -0.06 0.23 0.016 7.4M
AMD ARROW MINERALS -0.07 -0.75 0.013 4.4M
AGY ARGOSY MINERALS -0.07 -0.16 0.19 161.6M
BAT BATTERY MINERALS -0.08 -0.59 0.024 26.7M
BSX BLACKSTONE MINERALS -0.08 -0.78 0.12 13.5M
TKL TRAKA RESOURCES -0.08 -0.57 0.023 7.6M
CUL CULLEN RESOURCES -0.09 -0.5 0.021 2.7M
WML WOOMERA MINING -0.09 0.082 9.0M
AXE ARCHER EXPLORATION -0.09 -0.35 0.071 14.5M
POW PROTEAN ENERGY -0.09 -0.2 0.02 6.4M
ESR ESTRELLA RESOURCES -0.09 -0.29 0.02 9.3M
CNJ CONICO -0.09 -0.56 0.02 7.7M
CDT CASTLE MINERALS -0.09 -0.71 0.01 2.2M
MCT METALICITY -0.1 -0.54 0.019 12.0M
CAZ CAZALY RESOURCES -0.1 -0.64 0.019 4.4M
EMH EUROPEAN METALS -0.1 -0.54 0.325 46.0M
KRC KING RIVER COPPER -0.1 2 0.036 42.1M
MTC METALSTECH -0.1 -0.88 0.035 4.0M
CLA CELSIUS RESOURCES -0.11 -0.62 0.051 38.5M
MEI METEORIC RESOURCES -0.12 -0.82 0.015 8.6M
BSM BASS METALS -0.12 -0.12 0.015 43.2M
HMX HAMMER METALS -0.12 -0.41 0.022 6.4M
THX THUNDELARRA -0.13 -0.6 0.014 8.9M
BPL BROKEN HILL PROSPECTING -0.13 -0.4 0.034 5.2M
MRR MINREX RESOURCES -0.13 -0.87 0.02 1.9M
PM1 PURE MINERALS -0.13 -0.46 0.013 4.4M
CZN CORAZON MINING -0.14 -0.68 0.006 6.3M
INF INFINITY LITHIUM -0.15 -0.64 0.076 16.1M
SXX SOUTHERN CROSS -0.17 -0.44 0.005 5.4M
RIE RIEDEL RESOURCES -0.17 -0.82 0.015 6.3M
PSM PENINSULA MINES -0.17 -0.75 0.005 4.3M
PMY PACIFICO MINERALS -0.17 -0.17 0.005 8.1M
DHR DARK HORSE RESOURCES -0.17 -0.74 0.005 9.9M
4CE FORCE COMMODITIES -0.17 -0.63 0.019 8.5M
N27 NORTHERN COBALT -0.18 -0.89 0.07 3.8M
GPX GRAPHEX MINING -0.18 -0.34 0.2 17.3M
CCZ CASTILLO COPPER -0.22 -0.63 0.021 12.2M
BOA BOADICEA RESOURCES -0.26 -0.07 0.13 6.9M
CHN CHALICE GOLD -0.26 -0.38 0.115 33.3M
LI3 LITHIUM CONSOLIDATED -0.26 -0.64 0.06 6.3M
IEC INTRA ENERGY -0.27 0.57 0.011 4.3M
HGM HIGH GRADE METAL -0.28 -0.72 0.013 6.3M
THR THOR MINING -0.31 -0.39 0.025 17.6M