• Lithium market appears poised for a turnaround after a two-year bear market
  • ‘The global EV industry is expected to shift from being policy-driven to demand-driven between 2020 and 2025’
  • UK government moves forward ban on petrol and diesel vehicles to 2030

 

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

 

It’s well-known in Australia’s mining fraternity that lithium prices have been stuck in a bear market for the past two years.

There are encouraging signs that the market is on the turn, however, as the fanfare around electric vehicles (EVs) grows louder.

Fund managers are cottoning on to the lithium market’s price recovery and are starting to manoeuvre into ASX lithium stocks.

James Stewart, resources portfolio manager at Ausbil Investment Management, is one market expert sensing a change in fortune.

“Anecdotally, lithium producers are suggesting pricing has increased slightly in recent weeks and months, and demand from customers has stabilised and is increasing,” Stewart says.

Another sign of a market turnaround is some industry consolidation in the ASX lithium sector, which could streamline capacity.

Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) is in talks with lenders to Altura Mining (ASX:AJM) to acquire its WA lithium mine for $247m.

“The potential acquisition represents a logical consolidation of two neighbouring operations to unite the greater Pilgangoora orebody, unlocking tangible synergies in both the short and long term,” said Pilbara Minerals managing director, Ken Brinsden,

Prices for lithium halved in two years

Lithium prices are trading at $US9 per kilogram, and half the levels of only two years ago when prices were at $US20/kg, according to the London Metal Exchange.

At the LME’s virtual global gathering in October, (LME Week), attendees were upbeat about lithium’s prospects.

New models of EVs are appearing in the market, providing more consumer choice, and sales are gathering momentum.

Some pundits took this as a welcome sign that investor interest is starting to increase in lithium miners and explorers.

Added to this, the UK government shocked oil markets this week with its proposal to outlaw sales of petrol and diesel cars from 2030.

Prime minister Boris Johnson brought forward the ban date from 2040 to 2035, and now to the end of the decade.

The move is aimed at boosting sales of EVs to achieve the UK’s goal of net zero carbon emissions from its economy by 2050.

China market demand forecast to grow above expectations

At a lithium industry gathering in China this week, sentiment toward the sector was described as “positive”.

China’s consumption of lithium refined products was reported to have grown at an average rate of 24 per cent since 2015.

As a result, the market is forecast to reach 810,000 tonnes LCE by 2025, including 640,000 tonnes in China’s EV industry.

This level of demand is based on EV sales of 16 million units by 2025, and rising to 35 million units by 2030.

“The global EV industry is expected to shift from being policy-driven to demand-driven between 2020 and 2025, with this trend expected to accelerate once EVs maintain an up-front cost advantage over traditional internal combustion engines,” said research firm Roskill which attended the lithium event in China.

 

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

 

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

Chalice Gold Mines (ASX:CHN) said this week it has secured three private properties at its Julimar nickel-copper-pge project.

The properties cover a combined area of 945 hectares, including one that covers ~85 per cent of the Gonneville intrusion.

The intrusion is host to the company’s major nickel-cobalt-copper-pge discovery located 70km north-east of Perth in WA.

Securing the properties is considered an important milestone for the project and is significant in de-risking its development.

Vulcan Energy (ASX:VUL) said in a presentation released this week that Europe is the fastest growing market for lithium.

Europe is also the fastest growing lithium-ion battery production centre in the world, it added.

The company’s lithium hydroxide project in Germany’s Upper Rhine Valley is well-placed to meet this demand.

Estrella Resources (ASX:ESR) said in an update on its Carr Boyd project that it had started drilling an area of high-grade nickel sulphide mineralisation.

The drilling is occurring at its T5 prospect located 1km from the historic Carr Boyd mine, and detailed drone aerial reconnaissance is being undertaken at the site.