• Prices for cobalt (+11.5%), graphite (+1.8%) and lithium (who even knows) continue rising into the New Year
  • Customers turn to the next class of lithium producers to secure future supply
  • Vulcan, Lepidico and Liontown the latest ASX stocks to sign offtake deals

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

 

Battery metals prices still going up, up, up

Cobalt prices jumped 11.5% month-on-month in December, continuing their seven-month rally on robust spot demand.

Supply was also limited as COVID-19 restrictions throttled production by Chinese refineries, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

Lithium continues to smash pricing records in 2022, with desperate buyers scrambling for units on the thinly traded spot market amid low supply.

Despite the current high prices for battery-grade lithium carbonate, market participants are still bullish, according to price reporting agency Fastmarkets.

“[Industry] expect prices to rise even further in the first quarter of 2022 amid tight supply and firm demand,” it says.

Meanwhile, strong demand from the Chinese anode value chain — alongside industrial demand outside of China — lifted the Benchmark Flake Graphite Index by 1.8%. Prices are now up 20-25% over the past year.

 

Lithium offtake deals are flying thick and fast

With most of the world’s current lithium production locked away in long term deals, customers – the downstream chemicals producers, battery makers and EV makers – are desperately turning to the next class of producers to secure future supply.

(There’s also the spot market, but that’s super, super expensive.)

Yesterday, market darling Liontown (ASX:LTR) announced a maiden offtake deal with Korean electronics giant LG, which will buy 100,000t of spodumene from the $473 million Kathleen Valley project in the first year of a five-year deal, starting in in 2024.

That rises to 150,000t per year for the remainder of the deal, which has an option for another five-year term.

The deal represents around a third of Kathleen Valley’s start-up capacity, which is expected to increase to ~700,000tpa after a second stage expansion a few years after operations begin.

LTR is one of the best performing stocks on the ASX in recent times.

It has grown from $14m minnow to $3.4 billion near term miner since acquiring the Kathleen Valley project from gold miner Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS) for 25 million shares (at ~2c per share) in August 2016.

It plans to start mining in 2024. Stockhead’s Josh Chiat caught up with MD Tony Ottaviano for his view on the big deal and how Liontown plans to play the rising market.

In December, German automaker Volkswagen and commodity trading firm Traxys signed binding lithium hydroxide offtake agreements with Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX:VUL) and Lepidico (ASX:LPD), respectively.

For Lepidico, this represents 100% of the production of lithium hydroxide (5,000tpa) from the company’s planned Phase 1 Project, which is due to fire up late 2023.

Vulcan’s deal with VW is for 34,000 tonnes – 42,000 tonnes of battery grade lithium hydroxide for an initial five-year term, starting in 2026.

 

Battery Metals Winners and Losers

Here’s how a basket of ASX stocks with exposure to lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel, rare earths, and vanadium are performing>>>

Battery metals stocks missing from our list? Email [email protected]

CODE COMPANY PRICE 1 WEEK RETURN % 1 MONTH RETURN % 6 MONTH RETURN % 1 YEAR RETURN % MARKET CAP
1MC Morella Corporation 0.019 73% -70% -70% -70% $92,415,851.75
NMT Neometals Ltd 1.63 49% 39% 237% 524% $781,436,364.30
RNU Renascor Res Ltd 0.1775 48% 61% 150% 1514% $283,395,524.85
ASN Anson Resources Ltd 0.1425 30% 24% 110% 391% $137,888,902.80
MNS Magnis Energy Tech 0.58 27% 25% 107% 190% $562,669,927.13
AVZ AVZ Minerals Ltd 0.87 23% 41% 427% 412% $2,667,257,887.00
RLC Reedy Lagoon Corp. 0.038 23% 12% 138% 171% $18,623,745.82
FFX Firefinch Ltd 0.915 22% 13% 132% 408% $1,019,087,813.00
WKT Walkabout Resources 0.25 22% 32% 16% 100% $96,415,271.33
AGY Argosy Minerals Ltd 0.335 22% 34% 219% 319% $405,289,768.64
COB Cobalt Blue Ltd 0.505 22% 35% 68% 181% $149,236,430.81
EUR European Lithium Ltd 0.1375 20% 20% 150% 206% $143,882,158.81
ESS Essential Metals Ltd 0.215 19% 26% 105% 162% $47,101,441.92
LPI Lithium Pwr Int Ltd 0.485 17% 7% 131% 120% $160,434,130.08
CXO Core Lithium 0.63 17% 20% 157% 334% $987,037,460.32
PLS Pilbara Min Ltd 3.44 16% 40% 136% 295% $9,525,748,854.40
MRC Mineral Commodities 0.115 16% 19% -43% -69% $58,848,969.74
LKE Lake Resources 1.09 15% 36% 216% 1393% $1,233,719,408.65
INF Infinity Lithium 0.19 15% 12% 65% 23% $76,606,549.36
AVL Aust Vanadium Ltd 0.032 14% 10% 68% 129% $95,160,864.07
QXR Qx Resources Limited 0.024 14% 14% 50% 71% $14,923,971.06
SYA Sayona Mining Ltd 0.1425 14% 10% 72% 1533% $916,747,848.25
VR8 Vanadium Resources 0.074 14% 19% 14% 139% $35,483,428.05
BKT Black Rock Mining 0.25 14% 39% 67% 160% $208,474,934.40
LTR Liontown Resources 1.735 13% 11% 120% 475% $3,626,113,387.30
GW1 Greenwing Resources 0.455 12% -6% 82% 160% $50,910,019.85
AKE Allkem Limited 11.04 12% 20% 67% 147% $6,630,266,094.40
TLG Talga Group Ltd 1.725 12% 19% 30% 6% $496,668,365.97
INR Ioneer Ltd 0.8325 12% 31% 138% 197% $1,640,438,719.20
VRC Volt Resources Ltd 0.029 12% 7% -17% 190% $74,935,760.34
AUZDA Australian Mines Ltd 0.2 11% -5% -13% 28% $88,222,961.76
LPD Lepidico Ltd 0.04 11% -2% 233% 300% $236,405,169.50
CLA Celsius Resource Ltd 0.021 11% -13% -38% -54% $21,079,561.62
JRL Jindalee Resources 2.23 9% -1% -10% 181% $119,028,725.20
ADV Ardiden Ltd 0.012 9% 4% 50% -33% $23,851,688.92
TON Triton Min Ltd 0.037 9% -5% 6% -27% $44,739,387.11
BEM Blackearth Minerals 0.125 9% 14% 25% 178% $26,117,432.04
CNJ Conico Ltd 0.038 9% 0% 31% 31% $36,007,735.46
TNG TNG Limited 0.084 8% 8% 35% -7% $111,073,457.76
PSC Prospect Res Ltd 0.81 7% 17% 224% 376% $340,676,210.33
MIN Mineral Resources. 58.98 7% 32% 6% 57% $10,575,611,816.00
EGR Ecograf Limited 0.715 7% 4% 12% 321% $303,975,084.83
QPM Queensland Pacific 0.18 6% 0% 13% 445% $254,613,666.62
VUL Vulcan Energy 10.95 6% 10% 37% 297% $1,368,719,019.20
AXE Archer Materials 1.2 6% 5% 18% 133% $278,513,107.88
AML Aeon Metals Ltd. 0.04 5% 0% -47% -62% $33,766,546.63
LIT Lithium Australia NL 0.12 4% 9% 9% 82% $118,285,953.19
JRV Jervois Global Ltd 0.5975 4% 11% 10% 68% $895,505,458.58
PUR Pursuit Minerals 0.027 4% -7% -62% 29% $25,529,828.24
EMH European Metals Hldg 1.38 3% 1% -14% 20% $167,818,634.85
CZN Corazon Ltd 0.038 3% 9% -7% -5% $11,602,067.55
PLL Piedmont Lithium Inc 0.76 3% -5% -28% 108% $405,674,871.00
FGR First Graphene Ltd 0.21 2% -7% -24% -16% $115,567,407.06
SRL Sunrise 1.815 1% 1% 0% -21% $160,753,314.02
ARR American Rare Earths 0.165 0% 6% 90% 88% $64,410,407.16
LML Lincoln Minerals 0.008 0% 0% 0% 0% $4,599,869.49
TKL Traka Resources 0.013 0% 0% -24% -38% $8,087,402.62
GLN Galan Lithium Ltd 1.91 -1% 27% 109% 396% $574,265,540.67
PRL Province Resources 0.1475 -2% -2% 2% 1035% $163,800,672.60
TMT Technology Metals 0.295 -3% -8% -12% -9% $59,061,803.10
GSR Greenstone Resources 0.027 -4% -4% 42% 4% $20,984,045.91
GED Golden Deeps 0.0115 -4% -12% -23% 15% $9,310,217.28
ARL Ardea Resources Ltd 0.465 -5% -11% -9% 25% $63,861,900.74
GME GME Resources Ltd 0.058 -17% 2% 12% 16% $38,609,399.53
MLS Metals Australia 0.0015 -25% -25% 0% -25% $10,477,114.72
GXY Galaxy Resources 0 -100% -100% -100% -100% $2,715,139,305.12

 

Small Cap Standouts

ESSENTIAL METALS (ASX:ESS)

This emerging lithium play didn’t need news to send it up 55% for the week.

ESS’ focus is the ‘Pioneer Dome’ lithium project in WA, which contains an actual resource – more than most explorers can boast — of 11.2Mt at 1.21% lithium.

“While continuing exploration to grow our lithium resources and potentially make new discoveries, we are taking the necessary steps to transition the Dome North Resource area to a ‘development ready’ status,” ESS said in November.

“This includes an application for a Mining Lease over the Dome North Mineral Resource, a capital and operating cost study for two process plant scenarios, a flora and fauna study and a hydrology study, most of which are expected to be complete by the end of this year [2021].”

A 13-hole drilling program at Dome North is expected to be completed mid-January.

 

LARVOTTO RESOURCES (ASX:LRV)

Newly listed copper and gold explorer LRV is kicking off a lithium and base metals focused auger soil geochemical sampling program at the Eyre Project in WA as soon as Native Title clearance is received.

The company says historical exploration has identified broad anomalous zones of lithium that have never been followed up.

“Geology and geophysics tell us the host rocks for the Liontown (ASX:LTR) lithium resource extend into our ground and we have a robust lithium soil anomaly generated by Anglo Gold and confirmed by us, that is coincident with the extension of the Liontown host rocks into our project area,” managing director Ron Heeks says.

“Around Mt Norcott and within the Jimberlana Dyke we have a copper soil anomaly generated by WMC with a single drill hole in the 1960s and confirmed by Newmont in the 70s that has never been followed up.”

He said the geochemistry program will lead to future geophysics and drilling to refine both anomalies.

Larvotto made its debut in early December 2021 following a $6 million IPO at $0.20 per share.

 

SHREE MINERALS (ASX:SHH)

In October, SHH identified lithium potential at the ‘Dundas’ project which — like Larvotto’s ground — is interpreted to be along strike from Liontown’s (ASX:LTR) 14.8Mt ‘Anna’ resource.

The WA project had been initially targeted for gold, which meant historic drilling which intersected pegmatites was not assayed for lithium.

Auger soil sampling and RAB drilling planned at Dundas will test both the gold potential of the greenstone belts and the lithium potential of the pegmatites, SHH says.

 

RAGNAR METALS (ASX:RAG)

In November, RAG inked a non-binding deal to buy WestOz Lithium, which has four tenements in the Pilbara and one in the Gascoyne.

“WestOz has applied for a significant land area in a premium location, in close proximity to established lithium operations such as Wodgina and Pilgangoora,” RAG chairman Steve Formica says.

“In addition, WestOz applications are adjacent to Global Lithium’s (ASX:GL1) Marble Bar Lithium Project which recently attracted investment from a major Chinese battery producer.”

RAG is conducting a review of historical geological information and other project information during the due diligence period, which has been extended until January 31.