• For the first time in the Gigafactory era battery prices are increasing, following a period of consistent raw material price rises throughout 2021
  • Lithium carbonate price rises could dent emerging LFP battery sector
  • Graphite prices ‘the highest they have been for many years’: Roskill

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

 

Red hot raw materials prices = more expensive batteries

For years, battery pack prices have been falling as global battery makers scale up and get more efficient.

Now — for the first time in the Gigafactory era — prices are increasing following a period of consistent raw material price rises throughout 2021, particularly for lithium.

“Several of China’s major lithium-ion battery makers have written to customers setting out intentions of new pricing structures, citing the rise in cathode and anode raw material prices as well as higher costs more generally, including for non-active materials such as PVDF binder, foils, and energy,” Benchmark Mineral Intelligence says.

“Lithium carbonate has been singled out as a major driver behind the battery cell price increases.

“Benchmark’s Lithium Carbonate Price EXW China (battery) has increased 313.33% since this time last year, reaching RMB 185,000/tonne ($28,675) in mid-October. Lithium carbonate prices are presently at all-time highs and set to continue on their upward trajectory as demand continues to outstrip supply.”

 

Carbonate prices could dent emerging LFP battery sector

News of electric vehicle (EV) producer Tesla’s higher adoption of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, costlier feedstock, and monthly restocking in China have all contributed to the strength of lithium carbonate prices across the board in Asia.

Sentiment toward lithium carbonate improved after Tesla said it would adopt LFP batteries on all its standard-range models globally, Fastmarkets says.

“That said, some market participants have raised concerns over the rapidly rising prices for lithium carbonate, which will eat up the margins of LFP battery manufacturers and force them to slow the pace of their production ramp-up, which in turn might weigh on the market,” it says.

“On the other hand, lithium carbonate producers raised their offers due to elevated purchasing costs for spodumene, while market participants acknowledged that the pressure on lithium carbonate producers might be higher compared with those on lithium hydroxide producers given that the former need to use more spodumene in the production process.”

 

A Fastmarkets source in China said that to produce one tonne of battery-grade lithium carbonate, approximately 7.8 tonnes of spodumene are needed. This compares with about 7 tonnes for lithium hydroxide.

 

Graphite prices ‘the highest they have been for many years’: Roskill

It’s not just lithium going stratospheric. Chinese graphite prices continue to rise as producers contend with a ‘perfect storm’ of increasing electricity costs and supply disruption caused by limits on energy consumption and shipping constraints, Roskill says.

“Battery grades are particularly affected as both the manufacture of synthetic graphite and the processing of spherical graphite from natural flake are known for their high levels of energy consumption,” Roskill says.

“Demand is growing rapidly for both natural and synthetic graphite in batteries as the EV sector recovers quickly from the pandemic, compounding issues of reduced supply.

“Prices could rise higher in Q4 if producers aren’t able to build up stocks now, ahead of typical winter closures.”

Graphite shipments also continue to be impacted by limited access to containers and vessels, adding to the problem.

Last week, Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) reported Q3 production from Mozambique had been constrained by disruption in the global container shipping market. The company reported its production in Mozambique as 25kt in Q3, down from 29kt in Q2.

Prior to COVID-19, Syrah was the largest producer ex-China, and it is looking to regain market share following reopening of the ‘Balama’ mine in Q1.

“Total output for 2021 is likely to rival the next-largest ex-China producer, National de Grafite in Brazil,” Roskill says.

“Syrah Resources is expected to continue increasing output into Q4, having reported 50kt of natural graphite sales orders in Q3.”

The $623m market cap stock is up 24% to $1.24 per share in 2021 — well below the $4.69 per share peak in early 2018.

 

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

CODE COMPANY 1 WEEK RETURN % 1 MONTH RETURN % 6 MONTH RETURN % 1 YEAR RETURN % SHARE PRICE [INTRADAY MON] MARKET CAP
S2R S2 Resources 91 91 3 -36 0.17 $ 60,583,725.35
GL1 Globallith 46 60 0.615 $ 43,153,309.56
BUX Buxton Resources 41 47 37 47 0.097 $ 12,789,210.61
ARN Aldoro Resources 30 22 35 206 0.535 $ 46,912,202.17
EUR European Lithium 29 29 111 221 0.135 $ 143,260,056.54
GLN Galan Lithium 27 47 72 1044 1.43 $ 364,333,370.94
MNS Magnis Energy Tech 22 52 25 135 0.47 $ 422,892,718.43
ASN Anson Resources 21 25 45 271 0.1075 $ 99,380,048.50
INF Infinity Lithium 20 75 11 136 0.21 $ 80,514,027.56
AGY Argosy Minerals 18 74 217 490 0.295 $ 362,578,794.16
HNR Hannans 18 19 406 575 0.04 $ 84,959,178.91
LPD Lepidico 17 39 61 281 0.0305 $ 190,725,634.30
AVZ AVZ Minerals 17 9 111 387 0.38 $ 1,142,451,301.40
RMX Red Mount Min 17 17 5 -34 0.0105 $ 14,644,583.02
ESS Essential Metals 16 30 126 134 0.215 $ 46,335,894.93
NMT Neometals 16 16 95 454 1 $ 567,569,569.86
GW1 Greenwing Resources 16 10 -11 123 0.335 $ 37,375,904.78
AZL Arizona Lithium 14 123 129 554 0.0915 $ 155,032,990.01
TNG TNG Limited 14 52 25 14 0.12 $ 162,434,615.20
LTR Liontown Resources 13 32 435 792 1.9 $ 3,631,238,925.80
CAE Cannindah Resources 13 83 290 960 0.265 $ 145,286,954.68
LEL Lithenergy 13 25 0.755 $ 32,850,000.00
AZS Azure Minerals 12 32 19 21 0.41 $ 128,540,324.22
CHR Charger Metals 12 -6 0.46 $ 13,773,345.05
SYR Syrah Resources 12 19 1 179 1.2575 $ 625,912,077.37
HXG Hexagon Energy 12 22 -37 96 0.094 $ 38,803,202.95
VMC Venus Metals Cor 12 0 6 -21 0.19 $ 28,704,949.77
PUR Pursuit Minerals 12 -14 -42 217 0.038 $ 31,858,473.14
RLC Reedy Lagoon Corp. 11 15 43 173 0.03 $ 15,660,758.81
PNN PepinNini Minerals 11 17 104 132 0.51 $ 23,527,979.29
BRB Breaker Res NL 11 36 71 95 0.36 $ 117,302,734.44
IPT Impact Minerals 11 -3 -18 -26 0.0155 $ 28,333,128.87
LYC Lynas Rare Earths 10 13 37 166 7.515 $ 6,614,676,690.82
JRL Jindalee Resources 10 14 -11 251 2.6 $ 140,129,271.94
TON Triton Min 9 -5 -15 -22 0.035 $ 38,571,914.28
PLS Pilbara Min 9 15 91 468 2.275 $ 6,532,429,604.80
LPI Lithium Pwr Int 8 58 67 157 0.475 $ 149,971,034.64
LKE Lake Resources 7 65 189 1605 0.955 $ 1,125,050,456.72
NTU Northern Min 7 22 25 54 0.0525 $ 256,917,922.20
MRD Mount Ridley Mines 7 7 7 200 0.0075 $ 42,049,825.35
PVW PVW Res 7 141 213 213 0.47 $ 31,172,343.75
COB Cobalt Blue 6 36 18 358 0.435 $ 129,846,128.45
INR Ioneer 7 13 77 297 0.735 $ 1,404,290,855.46
SRI Sipa Resources 5 -3 -17 -24 0.058 $ 11,842,286.13
CNJ Conico 5 -7 11 29 0.04 $ 39,008,380.09
AR3 Austrare 4 -15 0.845 $ 38,737,577.86
BEM Blackearth Minerals 4 -4 -11 155 0.125 $ 26,087,432.04
GED Golden Deeps 4 25 14 -17 0.0125 $ 9,310,217.28
FRS Forrestaniaresources 4 93 0.385 $ 10,238,250.00
IXR Ionic Rare Earths 4 16 7 238 0.0405 $ 132,303,581.05
PLL Piedmont Lithium Inc 4 20 -16 154 0.825 $ 474,667,196.00
ORE Orocobre Limited 3 11 38 275 9.46 $ 5,673,977,715.40
MCR Mincor Resources NL 3 10 40 48 1.395 $ 665,931,516.25
NIC Nickel Mines Limited 3 19 -6 17 1.085 $ 2,628,205,358.30
IGO IGO Limited 3 12 33 127 9.79 $ 7,300,061,717.32
RBX Resource B 3 -7 488 488 0.2 $ 8,388,992.85
WKT Walkabout Resources 3 0 -41 38 0.2 $ 85,081,345.40
BKT Black Rock Mining 2 13 63 307 0.22 $ 178,770,890.13
PAN Panoramic Resources 2 17 45 129 0.24 $ 492,219,360.96
LIT Lithium Australia NL 2 6 2 160 0.1275 $ 125,008,233.00
TLG Talga Group 2 7 3 35 1.55 $ 454,844,859.00
SRL Sunrise 1 25 -7 -24 1.99 $ 171,560,259.50
MIN Mineral Resources. 0 -9 -17 59 39.46 $ 7,287,729,642.49
MLS Metals Australia 0 0 0 0 0.002 $ 10,477,114.72
ARU Arafura Resource 0 -12 16 119 0.215 $ 340,988,413.04
AJM Altura Mining 0 0 0 0 0.07 $ 238,056,602.28
LML Lincoln Minerals 0 0 0 0 0.008 $ 4,599,869.49
AQD Ausquest Limited 0 0 -19 -35 0.017 $ 13,994,227.13
MMC Mitremining 0 10 0.22 $ 5,823,296.50
ALY Alchemy Resource 0 2 -22 -30 0.013 $ 10,923,956.10
ATM Aneka Tambang 0 10 10 10 1.1 $ 1,434,013.90
RNU Renascor Res 0 -7 59 1082 0.13 $ 235,815,135.50
AVL Aust Vanadium 0 0 4 140 0.024 $ 78,739,811.54
ADV Ardiden 0 -8 -15 -73 0.011 $ 23,686,688.92
SBR Sabre Resources 0 0 -17 -29 0.005 $ 8,446,568.25
QEM QEM Limited 0 24 -28 64 0.18 $ 19,281,966.61
CZN Corazon 0 14 11 -33 0.04 $ 9,898,885.11
VIA Viagold Rare Earth 0 335 2339 10426 2 $ 166,624,808.00
EMH European Metals Hldg 0 -6 -2 199 1.315 $ 174,323,233.10
MLX Metals X Limited -1 1 60 371 0.3675 $ 326,615,784.12
OZL OZ Minerals -1 12 1 64 24.74 $ 8,384,749,471.49
HAS Hastings Tech Met -1 -3 45 114 0.2675 $ 460,690,820.92
VR8 Vanadium Resources -1 25 52 182 0.079 $ 36,551,315.05
RFR Rafaella Resources -1 -7 -27 -21 0.077 $ 14,305,681.35
ILU Iluka Resources -1 6 20 88 9.29 $ 3,978,102,014.80
HYM Hyperion Metals -2 -10 -8 228 0.985 $ 139,112,491.00
SYA Sayona Mining -2 -10 315 1930 0.1575 $ 1,098,775,818.08
CHN Chalice Mining -2 7 -3 148 6.76 $ 2,354,097,660.60
PRL Province Resources -2 2 -29 1228 0.1525 $ 175,097,270.71
NKL Nickelx -2 -19 0.1375 $ 6,955,000.00
AUZ Australian Mines -2 11 7 79 0.0245 $ 103,285,418.74
REE Rarex Limited -2 -4 -13 -26 0.096 $ 43,352,947.58
ARR American Rare Earths -3 -5 113 90 0.19 $ 64,418,540.31
RXL Rox Resources -3 4 -34 -55 0.375 $ 61,466,969.46
AXE Archer Materials -3 -14 71 237 1.5 $ 359,377,437.80
SLZ Sultan Resources -3 0 -13 -36 0.175 $ 12,516,190.02
ESR Estrella Res -3 -5 -34 -74 0.035 $ 39,509,487.16
CTM Centaurus Metals -3 12 58 101 1.085 $ 367,790,085.64
DEV Devex Resources -3 -13 27 38 0.31 $ 95,428,529.77
MOH Moho Resources -3 -3 -19 -45 0.061 $ 6,299,799.52
BHP BHP Group Limited -3 0 -25 7 36.34 $ 107,920,195,992.52
MRC Mineral Commodities -3 -3 -40 -57 0.14 $ 74,898,688.76
AAJ Aruma Resources -4 -13 21 -22 0.082 $ 11,210,573.77
BAR Barra Resources -4 0 32 -22 0.025 $ 19,778,437.83
TMT Technology Metals -4 -10 7 4 0.37 $ 69,950,651.63
EGR Ecograf Limited -4 -12 6 307 0.61 $ 274,459,409.99
PGM Platina Resources -4 15 -3 61 0.071 $ 31,275,528.62
PSC Prospect Res -4 4 207 291 0.43 $ 161,079,884.70
CWX Carawine Resources -5 3 -28 -37 0.205 $ 22,322,429.91
ARL Ardea Resources -5 10 3 6 0.505 $ 67,636,767.31
BOA Boadicea Resources -5 6 -23 -17 0.19 $ 14,374,480.58
QPM Queensland Pacific -5 -17 69 532 0.2275 $ 305,012,954.48
FFX Firefinch -5 3 71 297 0.615 $ 560,893,470.60
BSX Blackstone -5 32 64 70 0.605 $ 237,990,372.05
G88 Golden Mile Res -6 7 -47 -20 0.049 $ 8,379,898.07
NVA Nova Minerals -6 16 0 -19 0.145 $ 270,305,633.55
TKL Traka Resources -7 17 -18 -39 0.014 $ 8,709,510.52
STK Strickland Metals -7 44 257 5 0.082 $ 90,838,475.10
AML Aeon Metals . -7 -7 -32 -61 0.051 $ 44,824,938.13
LOT Lotus Resources -8 22 126 251 0.305 $ 305,455,211.15
GAL Galileo Mining -8 -8 -13 0 0.23 $ 38,663,277.15
AOU Auroch Minerals -8 -3 -23 10 0.165 $ 52,404,274.13
SGQ St George Min -8 -3 -31 -51 0.066 $ 38,886,601.84
VML Vital Metals Limited -8 -4 -11 93 0.054 $ 224,936,086.54
VUL Vulcan Energy -9 -5 47 924 12.18 $ 1,549,171,008.63
JRV Jervois Global -9 10 27 108 0.54 $ 863,613,761.34
VRC Volt Resources -9 -9 26 164 0.029 $ 79,433,314.65
GME GME Resources -9 3 10 64 0.067 $ 41,579,353.34
NWC New World Resources -10 4 -35 71 0.072 $ 118,987,964.70
ADD Adavale Resource -10 -18 -18 66 0.053 $ 17,601,731.19
CLA Celsius Resource -10 0 -41 -16 0.026 $ 28,275,158.19
POS Poseidon Nick -10 2 42 45 0.094 $ 284,948,235.92
CXO Core Lithium -11 42 95 1133 0.555 $ 943,585,764.54
A8G Australasian Gold -11 43 0.615 $ 25,656,673.57
PAM Pan Asia Metals -11 12 255 312 0.515 $ 37,197,615.22
FGR First Graphene -11 8 -24 30 0.195 $ 104,522,987.34
MAN Mandrake Res -12 14 -72 5 0.058 $ 28,647,034.20
LEG Legend Mining -13 7 -52 -52 0.065 $ 187,349,229.03
PEK Peak Resources -13 -26 -27 118 0.0675 $ 141,138,589.73
QXR Qx Resources Limited -17 92 47 25 0.025 $ 16,959,058.03
BMM Balkanminingandmin -18 -22 0.585 $ 18,525,000.00
GBR Greatbould Resources -26 -3 209 145 0.145 $ 53,585,371.35

 

Weekly Small Cap Standouts

GLOBAL LITHIUM RESOURCES (ASX:GL1)

A “heavily overbid” $13.6m cap rise will fast track exploration at the Marble Bar Lithium Project (MBLP) in 2022, the Pilbara-based company says.

As part of the placement, Yibin Tianyi — the lithium chemical arm of world’s largest EV battery producer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL) – will invest $6.2 million for a 9.9% interest in GL1.

Yibin Tianyi operates a 20ktpa lithium hydroxide plant and plans to commission a further 25ktpa of capacity by the end of 2021.

A further Stage 3 expansion for 110ktpa by the end of 2024 would make Yibin Tianyi one of the largest lithium chemical suppliers in China.

“To be able to secure support from a lithium industry participant with the credibility of Yibin Tianyi is a strong vote of confidence in our company and we look forward to developing our relationship with them over time,” GL1 managing director Jamie Wright says.

“The capital raising funds provide us with the ability to ramp up our activities on site as we seek to grow our project and we are looking forward to a busy 2022 period.

“Drilling is continuing at our MBLP and we will update the market as we start to receive results.”

The $49m market cap stock is up 180% on its May listing price of 20c per share.

 

ALDORO RESOURCES (ASX:ARN)

$47m market cap ARN — which featured in our  ‘forgotten resources stocks that could conceivably multi-bag’ series in October last year – is up ~200% year-to-date.

It has a bunch of battery metals/critical minerals projects covering lithium, nickel and ultra-rare rubidium – which can generate an astonishing $1.4-1.5 million per tonne.

(Rubidium — which is a pain in arse to process because ignites spontaneously when exposed to air and reacts violently with water – is used in vacuum tubes, the manufacture of photocells and in special glasses, and as a propellant in ion engines on spacecraft.)

Most recently, ARN hit 6.7m of “strong magmatic sulphides” at VC1, part of the Narndee nickel-PGE project in WA.

An RC rig has now been mobilised to the site to commence a grid-style drilling program over the southern portion of the VC1 target to achieve a JORC 2012 mineral resource.

Bonus fact: ARN is spinning out its gold assets into new IPO Aurum Resources (ASX:AUE), which should be listing on the ASX today. ARN will retain a 16.6% stake in the explorer.