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

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) thinks we’ll need 60 Jadars, a unit of measurement based on the massive scale of its proposed $2.4 billion underground lithium mine in rural Serbia, to fill the lithium shortfall by the end of the decade.

At the moment Rio will be lucky to build one.

The company, which scorched its reputation by blowing up an ancient shelter filled with Aboriginal rock art last year, is again facing accusations of community impropriety around the largest lithium development in Europe, a place where carmakers forced to embrace the EV revolution are desperate to source the battery metal closer to home.

Going for Rio is the size of the resource, contained in a recently discovered mineral called jadarite believed to have similar properties to the fictional kryptonite, and its proximity to Europe’s major auto companies, which are concerned about both China’s grip on the battery supply chain and the greenhouse gas emissions caused by transporting those chemicals across the sea.

Rio has faced three weekends of intense protests from a newly raised coalition of environmental groups and locals against its Jadar mine in the Balkan nation.

Local authorities in Loznica, the city closest to the deposit, have listened, suspending a regional spatial plan that would help the project to proceed.

We know the world needs many multiples of current lithium production to satisfy demand from the battery market and actually make plans to replace traditional automobile production with EVs after 2030 feasible.

But communities suspicious of mining and the pollution operations may cause could have a chilling effect on the pace of the lithium industry’s growth.

What is a small part of Rio Tinto’s iron ore dominated business, could end up being a significant political issue heading into Serbia’s elections next year.

 

Rio still ironing out the kinks

Rio has announced it will fund the Jadar mine, which is expected to come online in 2026 pending approvals.

The latter is the tricky part. Rio has a feasibility study and Environmental Impact Assessment in the works.

“These studies are crucial in assessing and reducing impacts that are causing concern,” a company spokesperson said.

Rio Tinto is yet to be awarded an exploration field license; that does not allow construction to start, but is a prerequisite for the EIA process.

As for the Loznica council’s decision, it’s not clear yet exactly what it means, but is understood to not affect “critical workstreams”. Rio is continuing to “review and assess” the town council’s call.

“We will continue to work with a wide group of local and global experts across all aspects of the environmental, social and governance impacts of the Jadar project and have done so for many years,” the spokesperson said.

With Rio’s issues at home in Australia and in Mongolia with the government’s discord over its management of the Oyu Tolgoi mine, Serbia is emerging as yet another diplomatic headache for new chair Dominic Barton, most recently Canada’s ambassador to China.

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

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort. Best viewed on a laptop:

CODE COMPANY PRICE 1 MONTH RETURN % 6 MONTH RETURN % 1 YEAR RETURN % MARKET CAP
PSC Prospect Resources 0.725 23.9% 291.9% 457.7% $304,251,710
MIN Mineral Resources 49.82 20.4% -1.3% 49.6% $9,298,984,390
AVZ AVZ Minerals Ltd 0.7 16.7% 324.2% 669.2% $2,374,719,925
GLN Galan Lithium Ltd 1.725 15.4% 136.3% 422.7% $516,691,361
AVL Aust Vanadium Ltd 0.028 12.0% 40.0% 100.0% $95,160,864
INR Ioneer Ltd 0.75 10.3% 130.8% 172.7% $1,558,416,783
VUL Vulcan Energy 10.72 5.3% 32.2% 358.1% $1,476,637,250
PLS Pilbara Min Ltd 2.45 3.8% 75.6% 200.6% $8,212,502,387
GSR Greenstone Resources 0.028 3.7% 40.0% 21.7% $21,791,125
TNG TNG Limited 0.078 2.6% 23.8% -10.3% $106,908,203
LKE Lake Resources 0.875 2.3% 186.9% 1186.8% $1,068,452,842
FFX Firefinch Ltd 0.72 1.4% 50.0% 433.3% $799,772,616
AKE Allkem Limited 9.12 0.1% 53.8% 109.2% $5,858,860,135
LML Lincoln Minerals 0.008 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% $4,599,869
RNU Renascor Res Ltd 0.12 0.0% 60.0% 900.0% $217,192,008
COB Cobalt Blue Ltd 0.3725 -0.7% 18.3% 223.9% $112,064,943
JRV Jervois Global Ltd 0.56 -0.9% 11.8% 68.4% $834,793,224
MNS Magnis Energy Tech 0.435 -1.1% 61.1% 128.9% $435,457,596
BKT Black Rock Mining 0.2125 -1.2% 37.1% 123.7% $190,417,406
WKT Walkabout Resources 0.1925 -1.3% -1.3% 42.6% $80,346,059
ARL Ardea Resources Ltd 0.48 -2.0% -9.7% 19.0% $65,944,354
FGR First Graphene Ltd 0.205 -2.4% -14.6% -14.6% $118,319,012
CZN Corazon Ltd 0.035 -2.8% -2.8% -12.5% $9,692,297
AGY Argosy Minerals Ltd 0.265 -3.6% 167.7% 327.4% $341,962,906
EMH European Metals 1.35 -3.9% -11.8% 60.7% $174,323,233
BEM Blackearth Minerals 0.11 -4.3% 12.2% 161.9% $23,913,479
SRL Sunrise 1.755 -4.4% -6.7% -23.9% $156,700,709
EGR Ecograf Limited 0.645 -5.1% 16.2% 290.9% $279,206,745
ARR American Rare Earths 0.17 -5.6% 109.9% 126.7% $67,338,153
NMT Neometals Ltd 1.01 -7.3% 104.6% 383.5% $581,278,980
VRC Volt Resources Ltd 0.025 -7.4% -28.6% 127.3% $72,259,483
PLL Piedmont Lithium Inc 0.73 -7.6% -18.9% 111.6% $405,674,871
GED Golden Deeps 0.011 -8.3% -15.4% 0.0% $8,534,366
CXO Core Lithium 0.51 -10.5% 112.5% 514.5% $828,107,700
TKL Traka Resources 0.0125 -10.7% -21.9% -43.2% $7,465,295
LTR Liontown Resources 1.5 -11.5% 150.5% 412.3% $3,385,828,765
ADV Ardiden Ltd 0.0105 -12.5% 40.0% -38.2% $23,851,689
GME GME Resources Ltd 0.056 -12.5% 5.9% -3.2% $33,857,473
CNJ Conico Ltd 0.033 -13.2% 22.2% 17.9% $34,007,306
PRL Province Resources 0.1475 -13.2% 9.3% 1034.6% $163,800,673
TMT Technology Metals 0.3 -14.3% -7.7% -4.8% $61,098,417
MRC Mineral Commodities 0.098 -14.8% -50.5% -73.3% $52,429,082
AUZ Australian Mines Ltd 0.0195 -15.2% -15.2% 32.8% $86,071,182
TLG Talga Group Ltd 1.495 -16.0% 1.7% -8.8% $455,533,256
QPM Queensland Pacific 0.1675 -16.3% 8.1% 423.4% $216,898,101
AML Aeon Metals Ltd 0.039 -17.0% -50.0% -64.5% $35,498,164
LPI Lithium Pwr Int Ltd 0.39 -17.0% 110.8% 85.7% $136,020,241
EUR European Lithium Ltd 0.11 -18.5% 83.3% 139.1% $113,449,884
VR8 Vanadium Resources 0.064 -19.0% 18.5% 106.5% $30,279,192
JRL Jindalee Resources 2.04 -19.0% -22.4% 168.4% $113,618,329
LIT Lithium Australia NL 0.105 -19.2% -4.5% 66.7% $107,842,718
PUR Pursuit Minerals 0.028 -20.0% -60.6% 40.0% $26,236,390
LPD Lepidico Ltd 0.037 -21.3% 208.3% 311.1% $223,961,497
ESS Essential Metals Ltd 0.165 -21.4% 66.7% 111.5% $41,061,796
INF Infinity Lithium 0.165 -21.4% 94.1% 10.0% $66,254,313
TON Triton Min Ltd 0.031 -24.4% -8.8% -38.0% $39,768,344
GW1 Greenwing Resources 0.36 -26.5% 44.0% 80.0% $42,622,342
SYA Sayona Mining Ltd 0.1125 -27.4% 73.4% 1189.1% $810,877,250
AXE Archer Materials 1.11 -28.4% 44.2% 109.4% $266,134,748
QXR Qx Resources Limited 0.019 -29.6% 26.7% 18.8% $12,888,884
ASN Anson Resources Ltd 0.105 -30.0% 64.1% 250.0% $107,246,924
RLC Reedy Lagoon Corp. 0.03 -30.2% 66.7% 100.0% $15,884,960
MLS Metals Australia 0.002 -33.3% 0.0% 0.0% $7,857,836
CLA Celsius Resource Ltd 0.018 -37.9% -43.8% -60.0% $20,025,584
1MC Morella Corporation 0.0105 -83.4% -83.4% -83.4% $51,342,140