• Ukraine war could push already high nickel, lithium prices higher
  • Australian producers positioned to benefit: Far East Capital’s Warwick Grigor
  • Weekly Winners: Lodestar Minerals, Metals Australia, Lynas Rare Earths

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

 

Russia’s shoddy (but probs successful, at some point) invasion of the Ukraine immediately pushed up prices for oil and gas, Russia’s largest exports.

But it’s also increasing prices for metals that are needed for batteries, such as nickel, which spiked to their highest levels since 2011.

Russian behemoth Nornickel produces around 20% of the world’s supply of high purity class 1 nickel – nickel sulphides — which is used in EV batteries.

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence says this is another threat to Europe’s EV industry, which is already struggling with record high lithium prices and a shortage of semiconductor chips.

“As Europe is looking to build out a local supply chain, with locally sourced raw materials, this is a big headache for European automakers and cell producers,” Greg Miller, an analyst at Benchmark said.

But there is potential upside — rising oil and gas prices, as well as Europe’s desire to reduce its reliance on Russia, could accelerate the transition to EVs and renewable energy.

 

Already stretched lithium supply lines also impacted

Fastmarkets says the Russian invasion of Ukraine is also a concern for European lithium buyers, who source some of their lithium salts from Russian suppliers.

“A seller of lithium hydroxide compounds based in Russia told Fastmarkets that for the time being, he did not see any impact on business and that he was still able to ship trucks loaded with material toward Europe on Thursday February 24,” Fastmarkets said Friday last week.

“But he acknowledged that a number of long-term customers based in Europe were concerned about his company’s ability to deliver if the situation deteriorated.”

More generally, lithium prices continue to rise.

In China, prices experienced strong gains for a third consecutive week with spot supply showing no signs of improvement.

“The market is still extremely undersupplied, and there is no sign of any improvement so far,” a Chinese lithium trader told Fastmarkets.

“Chinese lithium consumers have to scramble for any spot units.”

This is a seller’s market, Fastmarkets says. As soon as there is any offer of lithium salts in the spot market, it is immediately secured at a price to the seller’s satisfaction.

“The current headache for all Chinese lithium consumers is still the scarcity of spot units, and I don’t know when it will be eased,” a Chinese lithium consumer source said.

 

An opportunity for ASX stocks?

Go through the list of commodities Russia and Ukraine produce – nickel, oil, gas wheat etc – and for many of them, Australia is fabulously positioned to benefit.

Aussie stocks can step up deliveries to address any world shortages, says Far East Capital’s Warwick Grigor.

“It is actually great news for many of our companies,” he says.

“So, maybe there is a silver lining in all this turmoil. We are in for uncertain, but nonetheless, exciting times.”

 

Battery Metals Winners and Losers

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

Battery metals stocks missing from our list? Shoot a friendly mail to [email protected]

CODE COMPANY 1 YEAR RETURN % 6 MONTH RETURN % 1 MONTH RETURN % 1 WEEK RETURN % PRICE MARKET CAP
LSR Lodestar Minerals -8% 33% 20% 33% 0.012 $13,909,373.48
CWX Carawine Resources -33% 0% 30% 30% 0.215 $29,634,384.61
CNB Carnaby Resource 542% 400% 23% 16% 1.7 $216,020,555.77
LOT Lotus Resources 100% 66% 14% 16% 0.29 $248,886,561.41
MLS Metals Australia 4% 30% 30% 16% 0.052 $11,262,908.09
LYC Lynas Rare Earths 81% 50% 10% 15% 10.23 $8,636,078,571.78
NIC Nickel Mines Limited 3% 44% 7% 12% 1.525 $4,039,652,961.96
GMC Gulf Manganese Corp 10% 10% 10% 10% 0.0055 $29,718,965.83
MCR Mincor Resources NL 79% 43% 21% 9% 2 $949,320,825.60
JMS Jupiter Mines. -35% -13% 0% 7% 0.225 $440,772,982.43
NC1 Nicoresourceslimited 0% 0% 38% 7% 0.615 $55,403,751.27
JRV Jervois Global 51% 55% 15% 7% 0.715 $1,071,145,882.71
OMH OM Holdings Limited 37% 34% 13% 5% 0.98 $679,533,470.04
S32 South32 Limited 68% 64% 29% 5% 4.81 $21,482,680,078.86
QXR Qx Resources Limited 128% 273% 14% 5% 0.041 $22,191,731.95
AR3 Austrare 0% -33% 2% 4% 0.825 $60,586,358.47
SLZ Sultan Resources -16% -6% -3% 3% 0.16 $12,492,658.35
FG1 Flynngold 0% 10% 3% 3% 0.165 $10,570,073.25
KTA Krakatoa Resources -36% -17% -17% 2% 0.044 $12,377,816.51
POS Poseidon Nick 21% -22% 1% 2% 0.094 $266,564,478.76
DTM Dart Mining NL -39% -5% 12% 2% 0.1 $12,449,093.00
PAN Panoramic Resources 73% 37% 6% 2% 0.26 $512,728,501.00
NMT Neometals 287% 80% 3% 2% 1.34 $688,212,376.98
MLX Metals X Limited 152% 133% 22% 1% 0.605 $521,677,988.53
ATM Aneka Tambang 10% 10% 0% 0% 1.1025 $1,499,196.35
VIA Viagold Rare Earth 3900% 2841% 0% 0% 2 $166,624,808.00
MRD Mount Ridley Mines 100% 100% 0% 0% 0.008 $48,786,471.84
FGR First Graphene -29% -10% -5% 0% 0.18 $96,855,878.35
CHN Chalice Mining 70% 15% 3% 0% 7.41 $2,627,173,707.60
NTU Northern Min 9% 28% 2% 0% 0.05 $247,682,331.25
BUX Buxton Resources 43% 25% 28% 0% 0.1 $14,285,820.36
ADD Adavale Resource -41% -31% -17% 0% 0.038 $12,768,863.29
AVL Aust Vanadium 62% 31% 10% 0% 0.034 $105,606,717.28
RXL Rox Resources -16% 16% -12% 0% 0.43 $69,139,311.95
ALY Alchemy Resource -22% 2% 8% 0% 0.013 $12,380,483.57
MMC Mitremining 0% 0% 11% 0% 0.2 $5,417,020.00
LML Lincoln Minerals 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.008 $4,599,869.49
AML Aeon Metals . -60% -13% 14% 0% 0.048 $41,558,826.62
CNJ Conico -57% -84% -67% 0% 0.012 $12,002,578.49
TSC Twenty Seven Co. -43% 14% 0% 0% 0.004 $10,643,255.62
AOA Ausmon Resorces -30% 0% 17% 0% 0.007 $6,001,025.40
ENV Enova Mining Limited -31% -17% -9% 0% 0.02 $7,450,494.57
RR1 Reach Resources 118% 14% 14% 0% 0.008 $12,752,099.71
CTM Centaurus Metals 32% 25% 9% -1% 1.21 $518,109,815.30
SYR Syrah Resources 20% 8% -14% -1% 1.41 $866,607,523.38
SRL Sunrise -29% 15% 4% -1% 1.82 $165,706,497.36
PSC Prospect Res 357% 141% 4% -1% 0.845 $386,301,012.30
STK Strickland Metals 146% 50% -2% -2% 0.057 $78,070,209.50
AVZ AVZ Minerals 351% 251% 20% -2% 0.79 $2,571,786,994.60
KFM Kingfisher Mining -15% 29% -13% -2% 0.225 $7,876,350.23
OZL OZ Minerals 13% 11% -3% -2% 25.5 $8,330,041,254.10
GAL Galileo Mining -46% -39% -7% -3% 0.19 $32,418,771.96
AKN Auking Mining -54% 12% 37% -3% 0.185 $12,988,505.45
BHP BHP Group Limited -8% 3% 4% -3% 46.66 $226,235,223,361.10
IMI Infinitymining 0% 0% -3% -3% 0.175 $10,062,500.00
SCN Scorpion Minerals 37% 3% 8% -3% 0.07 $18,326,421.06
PLL Piedmont Lithium Inc -12% -9% 14% -3% 0.69 $360,049,052.00
LKE Lake Resources 132% 52% 8% -3% 0.905 $1,106,363,854.79
G88 Golden Mile Res 8% -2% 4% -4% 0.054 $8,996,953.06
FFX Firefinch 183% 13% -2% -4% 0.65 $759,897,849.00
AKE Allkem Limited 79% -5% -1% -4% 9.07 $5,801,482,832.60
GRE Greentechmetals 0% 0% -22% -4% 0.255 $7,445,249.73
GLN Galan Lithium 177% 27% -12% -4% 1.355 $406,697,308.13
MRC Mineral Commodities -70% -20% -11% -4% 0.12 $64,198,876.08
KGD Kula Gold Limited -6% -12% 15% -4% 0.046 $9,037,376.54
TLG Talga Group -12% -2% -4% -4% 1.32 $417,445,191.03
EMH European Metals Hldg -9% -32% -19% -4% 1.195 $160,029,740.10
AZI Altamin Limited -28% -19% 3% -4% 0.064 $26,248,856.76
TNG TNG Limited -36% -21% -18% -5% 0.061 $83,305,093.32
REE Rarex Limited -20% 1% -5% -5% 0.1 $45,159,320.40
ARU Arafura Resource -12% 31% 0% -5% 0.19 $286,827,206.42
MIN Mineral Resources. 14% -16% -21% -5% 45.25 $8,466,154,959.13
LRS Latin Resources -52% -18% 9% -5% 0.036 $51,937,817.62
VUL Vulcan Energy 28% -39% 0% -5% 8.59 $1,136,097,126.70
AQD Ausquest Limited -35% -15% 0% -6% 0.017 $15,658,835.24
WKT Walkabout Resources 65% 16% 2% -6% 0.255 $110,807,402.44
WML Woomera Mining -29% -14% -11% -6% 0.017 $10,909,329.06
EMT Emetals Limited -48% -16% -11% -6% 0.016 $12,750,000.00
VML Vital Metals Limited 0% -34% -8% -6% 0.046 $187,446,738.78
ILU Iluka Resources 42% 20% 4% -6% 10.69 $4,295,503,771.30
AXE Archer Materials -2% -46% -3% -6% 0.98 $245,091,534.93
TON Triton Min -43% -17% -12% -6% 0.03 $37,283,525.31
ARN Aldoro Resources 54% -14% 19% -6% 0.37 $34,062,663.82
NKL Nickelx 0% -37% 4% -6% 0.145 $8,025,750.00
ENT Enterprise Metals -39% 18% -12% -7% 0.014 $8,595,302.18
PGM Platina Resources 8% -23% 0% -7% 0.053 $22,153,499.44
MAN Mandrake Res -45% -26% -4% -7% 0.046 $21,691,713.15
SRI Sipa Resources -11% -24% 13% -7% 0.051 $10,661,289.76
RFR Rafaella Resources -41% -27% -27% -8% 0.055 $12,231,582.88
ADV Ardiden -33% -14% -20% -8% 0.012 $34,588,350.63
TMT Technology Metals -12% -20% -2% -8% 0.3 $64,153,337.85
BRB Breaker Res NL 23% 20% 2% -8% 0.24 $76,572,618.32
ARR American Rare Earths 290% 115% 15% -8% 0.355 $145,466,915.25
JRL Jindalee Resources 35% -29% 13% -8% 2.6 $140,670,311.60
GL1 Globallith 0% 268% 1% -8% 1.38 $175,595,540.46
TEM Tempest Minerals -18% 54% 5% -8% 0.023 $9,151,720.65
LTR Liontown Resources 290% 85% 6% -8% 1.435 $3,134,882,033.14
CXO Core Lithium 235% 130% 5% -8% 0.77 $1,279,218,583.00
TKL Traka Resources -45% -21% -31% -8% 0.011 $7,576,520.17
TMB Tambourahmetals 0% 10% -8% -8% 0.22 $8,238,519.60
HAS Hastings Tech Met 26% 29% 6% -8% 0.27 $469,417,322.79
PVW PVW Res 282% 250% 48% -9% 0.63 $41,909,484.38
LIT Lithium Australia NL -22% -19% -9% -9% 0.105 $113,582,765.56
PLS Pilbara Min 149% 17% -17% -9% 2.71 $8,156,422,456.58
NWC New World Resources 3% -10% -11% -9% 0.062 $98,868,474.96
EFE Eastern Resources 355% 264% -14% -9% 0.051 $50,194,678.07
BEM Blackearth Minerals -31% -23% -26% -9% 0.1 $27,034,622.20
PUR Pursuit Minerals -69% -68% -17% -9% 0.02 $19,856,533.07
PEK Peak Rare Earths -45% -20% -1% -9% 0.69 $133,597,571.20
IPX Iperionx Limited 24% -40% -4% -9% 0.87 $123,447,314.54
1MC Morella Corporation -70% -70% -30% -10% 0.019 $103,524,279.72
BYH Bryah Resources -25% -8% -11% -10% 0.047 $10,631,737.23
LPI Lithium Pwr Int 100% 100% -4% -10% 0.55 $195,311,114.88
SBR Sabre Resources -36% 13% -10% -10% 0.0045 $9,156,661.42
EGR Ecograf Limited -30% -41% -7% -10% 0.54 $240,928,400.57
RBX Resource B 429% 16% -3% -10% 0.18 $7,190,565.30
RBX Resource B 429% 16% -3% -10% 0.18 $7,190,565.30
GSM Golden State Mining -44% -37% -18% -10% 0.079 $6,563,950.82
AS2 Askarimetalslimited 0% 77% -10% -10% 0.345 $13,345,508.75
AM7 Arcadia Minerals 0% 8% -7% -10% 0.215 $7,173,462.50
KOR Korab Resources 207% 139% -12% -10% 0.043 $15,783,150.00
GME GME Resources -19% 13% -13% -11% 0.059 $36,233,436.48
RNU Renascor Res 303% 100% 28% -11% 0.25 $474,537,237.00
IGO IGO Limited 53% 14% -8% -11% 10.93 $8,269,364,517.96
RMX Red Mount Min -38% -11% -27% -11% 0.008 $13,138,910.86
LEG Legend Mining -54% -20% -10% -11% 0.064 $181,838,957.59
BOA Boadicea Resources -13% 0% -5% -11% 0.2 $15,151,479.53
FRB Firebird Metals 0% -33% -9% -12% 0.32 $16,156,098.56
AGY Argosy Minerals 173% 82% -5% -12% 0.3 $406,785,083.26
LPD Lepidico 25% 43% -21% -12% 0.03 $180,931,879.95
CZN Corazon -54% -23% -9% -12% 0.03 $9,464,844.58
GW1 Greenwing Resources 0% 13% -27% -12% 0.3 $34,260,550.24
ASN Anson Resources 33% 10% -4% -12% 0.11 $112,353,920.80
GBR Greatbould Resources 237% 69% 7% -12% 0.145 $50,013,013.26
CAE Cannindah Resources 1150% 424% 38% -12% 0.325 $157,324,545.30
BSX Blackstone -22% -9% -34% -12% 0.425 $215,806,831.20
GSR Greenstone Resources 46% 59% 3% -13% 0.035 $31,159,425.43
GED Golden Deeps -19% -5% -5% -13% 0.0105 $7,758,514.40
S2R S2 Resources 6% 35% -8% -13% 0.175 $64,147,473.90
VR8 Vanadium Resources 67% 27% -1% -13% 0.07 $35,956,540.42
EVR Ev Resources 20% 75% -18% -13% 0.049 $43,521,251.34
CMO Cosmometalslimited 0% 0% 0% -13% 0.175 $4,591,800.00
HXG Hexagon Energy -51% -35% -28% -13% 0.048 $20,981,703.95
MNS Magnis Energy Tech 41% 12% -11% -13% 0.41 $395,961,092.42
VMC Venus Metals Cor -15% 0% -13% -13% 0.17 $27,194,162.94
AOU Auroch Minerals -61% -41% 0% -13% 0.1 $36,105,179.90
BKT Black Rock Mining 48% 53% 15% -13% 0.23 $199,788,478.80
INR Ioneer 17% 0% -19% -13% 0.525 $1,107,296,135.46
ESR Estrella Res -68% -33% -21% -13% 0.026 $31,217,720.04
EMS Eastern Metals 0% 0% -7% -13% 0.195 $7,298,000.00
E25 Element 25 -41% -47% -19% -13% 1.04 $166,454,302.21
SYA Sayona Mining 274% -25% -13% -13% 0.1125 $798,403,637.14
AUZ Australian Mines -29% -33% -16% -14% 0.16 $71,009,020.01
IXR Ionic Rare Earths -7% 55% -11% -14% 0.051 $170,544,975.70
CMX Chemxmaterials 0% 0% -17% -14% 0.19 $9,036,446.45
MRR Minrex Resources 143% 273% 2% -14% 0.056 $46,295,768.96
COB Cobalt Blue -14% 71% 0% -14% 0.435 $142,902,476.15
HNR Hannans 292% 348% -46% -14% 0.031 $80,794,415.76
FRS Forrestaniaresources 0% 0% -10% -14% 0.31 $8,851,123.26
PNN PepinNini Minerals -7% 27% -11% -14% 0.395 $24,181,234.03
PAM Pan Asia Metals 200% 220% -9% -14% 0.48 $36,092,735.56
AZL Arizona Lithium 193% 193% -8% -14% 0.12 $229,743,142.33
QEM QEM Limited 70% -6% -14% -14% 0.15 $17,580,616.62
SGQ St George Min -58% -36% -44% -14% 0.042 $25,924,401.23
MOH Moho Resources -40% -20% -16% -14% 0.048 $6,506,434.70
WR1 Winsome Resources 0% 0% -11% -14% 0.33 $45,716,397.96
AX8 Accelerate Resources -11% 8% 14% -14% 0.042 $9,884,897.06
LMG Latrobe Magnesium 291% 350% -2% -14% 0.09 $140,758,336.49
EMN Euromanganese -37% -38% -17% -14% 0.42 $108,009,609.54
AZL Arizona Lithium 193% 193% -8% -14% 0.12 $229,743,142.33
CLA Celsius Resource -55% -4% -18% -15% 0.023 $25,295,473.94
AZS Azure Minerals 16% 4% 0% -15% 0.37 $113,418,538.17
ARL Ardea Resources 32% 50% 23% -15% 0.675 $96,487,002.21
BMM Balkanminingandmin 0% -47% -20% -15% 0.28 $9,497,500.00
PRL Province Resources 36% -21% -21% -15% 0.11 $124,262,579.21
IPT Impact Minerals -50% -8% -15% -15% 0.011 $22,261,744.11
A8G Australasian Metals 0% 181% -12% -16% 0.45 $18,076,722.30
KZR Kalamazoo Resources -36% -21% -9% -16% 0.29 $43,195,326.27
CHR Charger Metals 0% 7% -23% -16% 0.605 $20,027,086.32
LEL Lithenergy 0% 34% -11% -17% 0.825 $39,150,000.00
MQR Marquee Resource 67% 67% -20% -17% 0.1 $21,446,510.20
DEV Devex Resources 50% 50% -12% -17% 0.345 $113,106,228.84
AAJ Aruma Resources 23% 19% 7% -17% 0.087 $12,713,881.74
EUR European Lithium 47% 11% -17% -17% 0.091 $95,606,405.12
ESS Essential Metals 195% 76% -16% -20% 0.325 $78,159,031.04
RLC Reedy Lagoon Corp. -8% 33% -27% -20% 0.024 $13,696,430.75
WCN White Cliff Min 26% 118% 20% -20% 0.024 $14,415,033.58
CML Chase Mining Limited -25% -29% -14% -20% 0.012 $6,085,725.89
CRR Critical Resources 236% 270% -24% -20% 0.074 $110,803,987.65
SHH Shree Minerals 0% 50% 36% -21% 0.015 $17,011,790.27
INF Infinity Lithium -24% 37% -16% -21% 0.13 $56,001,974.54
RAG Ragnar Metals -51% -35% -26% -24% 0.028 $11,925,916.45
BNR Bulletin Res 80% 150% 20% -25% 0.12 $35,694,988.75
QPM Queensland Pacific 30% -28% -21% -26% 0.13 $200,604,707.03
LRV Larvottoresources 0% 0% 23% -31% 0.185 $7,874,587.50
VRC Volt Resources -13% -53% -30% -33% 0.014 $37,467,880.17
NVA Nova Minerals -59% -45% -36% -34% 0.61 $163,984,079.35

 

Weekly small cap standouts

LODESTAR MINERALS (ASX:LSR)

(Up on no news)

This busy WA junior is juggling several balls right now.

Two of these are lithium related – the wholly owned ‘Coolgardie West’ project, and the ‘Nepean’ joint venture with Auroch Minerals (ASX:AOU).

Last week it completed a $2.78m placement which will fund this year’s “aggressive” program of exploration and development.

“Our Flagship Earaheedy [base metals] project will be our primary focus, where we will be prioritising over 30 drilling targets generated from our EM program undertaken in 2021,” LSR chairman Ross Taylor says.

“It will fund the continuing exploration and scoping studies that are being undertaken at the historic Nepean Nickel Mine, where we hold a 20% interest, and our drilling programs for lithium at our Coolgardie West project and the drilling at our Jubillee Well and Bulong gold projects.

“Shareholders can look forward to steady newsflow, starting with the results from our October 2021 drilling at our Neds Creek JV which are expected by the end of February.”

 

METALS AUSTRALIA (ASX:MLS)

This battery metals stock has produced up to 96.8% flake graphite in concentrate from the advanced ‘Lac Rainy’ project in Canada.

“Outstanding,” says MLS, which will now ship some of this concentrate to Germany where it will be tested to determine its suitability for use in lithium-ion batteries.

In 2020, Metals Australia completed a Scoping Study (the first proper look at the economics of building a project) when graphite was in the crapper.

It demonstrated the potential of Lac Rainy to generate high-operating margins and capital payback by year 4 of a 14-year mine life, producing nearly 100,000t of concentrate per annum at full production.

MLS is currently completing advanced metallurgical test work which will allow it to reach prefeasibility study (PFS) level “as well as carry out marketing of the high-quality and high-purity Lac Rainy graphite concentrate to end-users across North America and Europe”.

MLS also recently kicked off a 3,500m RC drilling program at its early stage Manindi lithium project in WA.

The program is expected to take 2-3 weeks to complete and will target the entire 500m strike length of the recently discovered Foundation Pegmatite.

 

LYNAS RARE EARTHS (ASX:LYN)

NdPr prices hit US$100/kg for the first time in 10 years in November, helping Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC) to a massive fourfold uplift in profit for the first half of 2022.

The $8.5 billion company produced a record net profit after tax of $156.9m, up from $40.6m a year earlier, with revenues climbing from $202.5m in H1 2021 to $314.8m in H1 2022.

EBITDA also rose from $80.6m to $189.8m, while Lynas has bucked inflationary trends hitting the mid-tier and large cap mining sector, with costs dropping from $150.8m in 2021 to $140.3m in the first half of 2022.

Prices have risen even higher since the start of the year, with NdPr oxide, the most valuable product sold by Lynas from its rare earths refinery in Malaysia, selling for over US$173/kg Thursday according to the Shanghai Metals Market.

Despite China increasing its rare earths mining and separating production quota by 20% against 2021 for the first half of 2022, Lynas boss Amanda Lacaze says the company is looking at ways to increase production to meet demand in a market the company says is very tightly supplied.

Lacaze said Lynas’ 2025 growth plan of increasing production 50% on 2019 levels will “clearly” not keep up with the market and Lynas is the largest supplier of processed rare earths outside the Chinese market.

“So situation is very tight and that means that all the existing suppliers, of course the Chinese but also Lynas, have a very simple crystal clear priority – grow as fast as possible,” Lynas VP downstream Pol Le Roux said.