Our High Voltage column wraps all the news driving ASX stocks with exposure to lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel, rare earths, and vanadium.
While the outlook for commodities like iron ore has deteriorated – and is expected to deteriorate further – UBS analysts say demand for battery facing commodities like lithium and nickel will stay buoyant.
This downturn in commodity prices was triggered by Evergrande’s financial issues and the subsequent slowdown in China property sales, plus power shortages in China which has slowed industrial activity materially since July.
The macro backdrop for commodities has also weakened with inflationary pressures pushing central banks closer to policy normalisation/rate hikes, UBS writes.
“In our view this is not the backdrop for a sharp recovery in commodity prices; we expect prices fall further over the next 12mths,” it says.
“Whilst the recent pullback may have unearthed long-term value in certain stocks, in our view it is too early to buy the miners.
“We remain underweight the mining sector with predominantly Sell or Neutral ratings across UBS global mining coverage.”
But those stocks with exposure to thermal coal, nickel, lithium, and aluminium will have a better time of it.
“Our ‘preferred’ commodities are likely to be more resilient (i.e., go down less/stay elevated for longer than expected) rather than offering upside vs spot,” UBS writes.
“Nickel and lithium will be supported by strong EV related demand medium-term.”
Tesla deliveries up 64% on Q3 2020
And speaking of EV demand, Tesla has produced ~238,000 vehicles and delivered +240,000 vehicles in the third quarter of 2021.
That’s a big jump on the prior corresponding period.
In the 2020 third quarter, the company produced 145,036 vehicles and sold 139,300.
“Our delivery count should be viewed as slightly conservative, as we only count a car as delivered if it is transferred to the customer and all paperwork is correct,” the company said October 2.
Final numbers could vary by up to 0.5% or more.
Analysts Daniel Ives and John Katsingris of Wedbush Securities said Tesla’s production was roughly 10,000 more than their estimates.
“Taking a step back, with the chip shortage a major overhang on the auto space and logistical issues globally, these delivery numbers were ‘eye popping’ and speaks to an EV demand trajectory that looks quite robust for Tesla heading into 4Q and 2022,” Ives and Katsingris said.
Volvo announces $4bn IPO to accelerate EV transition
The Swedish luxury car maker — owned by China’s Geely – want to raise ~SEK 25 billion ($4 billion Aussie) to “accelerate our transformation strategy towards full electrification”.
The fast-growing company — which has gone from selling 373,525 cars in 2010 to more than 770,000 last year — aims to sell only fully electric cars by 2030.
Here’s how a basket of ASX stocks with exposure to lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel, rare earths, and vanadium are performing>>>
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Small Cap Standouts
RED DIRT METALS (ASX:RDT)
The explorer formerly known as TNT Mines believes there is lithium potential at the newly acquired 141,000oz ‘Mt Ida’ gold project in WA.
While conducting its due diligence, Red Dirt identified 44 drill holes in the Mt Ida dataset that were either logged with pegmatite occurrences or assayed incidentally for lithium as part of a multi-element analysis.
Importantly, no historic exploration has been carried out with the intention of targeting lithium, the company says.
Mt Ida includes a bunch of historic gold mines which produced greater than 300,000 ounces of gold at an extraordinary head grade of 17.2 g/t.
FORRESTANIA RESOURCES (ASX:FRS)
The newly listed explorer hit the bourse with a bang last week.
It has a series of gold, lithium and nickel interests around the Forrestania and Southern Cross regions of WA, near Western Areas’ (ASX:WSA) Spotted Quoll nickel mine and Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) and SQM’s giant Mt Holland lithium project.
Historical drilling at Forrestania includes a hit of 33 metres grading 3.2% Li2O from 69m, including 13m at 4% Li2O from 81m.
QX RESOURCES (ASX:QXR)
The gold-focussed explorer used to be Hipo Resources, a stock touting an experimental Ukrainian battery tech. It failed to deliver the goods.
Now it looks to come (almost) full circle by acquiring a lithium project in the Pilbara, the hard rock capital of the world.
QX has 30 days to conduct due diligence on the ‘Turner River’ lithium project, ~17km south of the Wodgina mine and ~30km southwest from Pilgangoora.
Chairman Maurice Feilich says the majority of QX’s time and money is being spent on the gold projects in Queensland “and we are not distracted from our goal of defining a mineral resource estimate here first and foremost”.
WILDCAT RESOURCES (ASX:WC8)
Another exploration stock jumps on the lithium bandwagon.
Last week, gold focussed WC8 announced an option to earn up to 75% of the ‘Bullabulling’ lithium project, ~23km west of Coolgardie in WA.
Under the terms of the deal, WC8 will drill 1,000m and pay $50,000 for an exclusive option period.
The priority target is a “drill ready” 450m x 250m sub-cropping lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) pegmatite body called ‘Red Panda’.
MITRE MINING (ASX:MMC)
This new listing is taking a ‘multi-commodity’ approach to exploration at its ‘Mitre’ project in the Lachlan Fold belt of NSW.
That includes looking for new types of mineralisation and commodities that have previously been alien to explorers in the area, including rare earths and lithium.
“What’s never been tested is the evidence and availability of rare earths — tungsten, lithium and those type of battery elements,” Mitre’s Clinton Carey told Stockhead’s Sam Jacobs last week.