Lithium wannabe Black Mountain Resources (ASX:BMZ) quadrupled in price on Thursday after the tiny phosphate producer announced it was heading to the Congo to explore for the popular battery metal.

The announcement came on a busy day in the lithium space as Kazakhstan Potash Corp (ASX:KPC) said it was doing exactly the same — prompting a 30 per cent jump in its shares.

Separately, Tawana Resources (ASX:TAW) agreed to a tie-up with Singapore-listed Alliance Mineral Assets to create a new pure-play mid-tier lithium company.

Black Mountain’s spectacular share price gain — it gained 206 per cent after briefly quadrupling — came after news it had picked up an option for a project near AVZ Minerals’ (ASX:AVZ) massive Manono lithium project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

AVZ — lead by battery metals talisman Klaus Eckhof — has enjoyed a 780 per cent rise in its shares over the past year.

Scroll down for a list of the ASX’s best-performing lithium stocks.

Black Mountain today told investors the permits lie within the same geological and structural setting as the AVZ Manono project – potentially one of the world’s largest lithium-rich lithium, caesium and tantalum deposits.

The project is in the south-east of the Manono province.

At one point on Thursday Black Mountain shares quadrupled from Wednesday’s close of 1.6c to a 52-week high of 6.3c.

They finished today at 4.9c. Even so the company — which has been dealing with debt problems — was valued at just $2.6 million.

Black Mountain is undertaking due diligence on the project, in which it can earn up to a 60 per cent stake. The farm-in terms are still being negotiated.

Boom … Black Mountain Resources shares (ASX:BMZ) tripled after it announced plans to get into lithium.

Kazakhstan Potash Corp (ASX:KPC) is also picking up a lithium project in the DRC, news that sent shares up over 31 per cent to 4.2c.

The company inked a deal to acquire a 51 per cent interest in the Malemba project, which covers five prospective licences over a 730 sq km area in the north-east of the country.

The Malemba project is located about 90km south-west of AVZ’s Manono project.

In late March, Kazakhstan Potash Corp struck a deal to acquire a 60 per cent stake in DRC-registered Société MCC Resource SARL, which owns a prospecting license covering 88 sq km in the Manono region.

Meanwhile, Tawana Resources (ASX:TAW) plans to merge with Alliance Mineral Assets – its partner in the Bald Hill lithium project in the Eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia, which recently started production.

The merged group will be listed on both the ASX and SGX and is expected to have a market cap of $446 million.

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While Tawana’s share price closed Thursday unchanged at 45.5c, it has gained around 86 per cent in the past year as investor interest in lithium continues to pick up.

The company revealed in March that it would spin out its other West Australian lithium projects and its iron ore project in Liberia into a new company.

Tawana is raising $20 million via a fully underwritten placement, while Alliance is undertaking a separate fully underwritten placement to raise $25 million and a non-underwritten placement to raise up to a further $7.8 million.

Top ASX lithium performers

Lithium continues to remain popular with investors. Over half the 50 or so ASX-listed lithium players tracked by Stockhead (see table below) have made gains in the past 12 months.

AVZ has been the market darling, with its share price up nearly 780 per cent compared to a year ago.

Argosy Minerals (ASX:AGY) has also enjoyed substantial gains – its share price is up 567 per cent.

The company announced earlier this week that the stage one pilot plant at its Rincon lithium project in Argentina is now operational.

This list shows how ASX stocks with lithium exposure have fared over the past year. (Scroll to reveal full list):

ASX Code Name One-year price change Price Apr 5, 2018 (intraday) Price Apr 5, 2017 Market Cap ($)
AVZ AVZ MINERALS 7.79310344828 0.255 0.029 475.67M
AGY ARGOSY MINERALS 5.66666666667 0.32 0.048 289.33M
KDR KIDMAN RESOURCES 3.2 1.89 0.45 681.21M
EUR EUROPEAN LITHIUM 3.12280701754 0.235 0.057 128.25M
4CE FORCE COMMODITIES 2.91304347826 0.09 0.023 37.79M
LPD LEPIDICO 1.78571428571 0.039 0.014 115.26M
AJM ALTURA MINING 1.64516129032 0.41 0.155 737.03M
SYA SAYONA MINING 1.63636363636 0.058 0.022 85.55M
NVA NOVA MINERALS 1.46153846154 0.032 0.013 22.78M
LKE LAKE RESOURCES 1.45098039216 0.125 0.051 33.37M
ARE ARGONAUT 1.3 0.023 0.01 30.68M
RLC REEDY LAGOON 1.10526315789 0.04 0.019 16.39M
MQR MARQUEE 1 0.44 0.22 16.98M
PSC PROSPECT 1 0.05 0.025 103.02M
PLS PILBARA MINERALS 0.903448275862 0.828 0.435 1.42B
TAW TAWANA RESOURCES 0.857142857143 0.455 0.245 229.76M
ORE OROCOBRE 0.825762952449 5.145 2.818 1.37B
DMI DEMPSEY MINERALS 0.639344262295 0.1 0.061 5.54M
BGS BIRIMIAN 0.603773584906 0.425 0.265 96.84M
MIN MINERAL RESOURCE 0.561594202899 17.24 11.04 3.24B
PLL PIEDMONT LITHIUM 0.5 0.15 0.1 80.33M
GXY GALAXY RESOURCES 0.310112359551 2.915 2.225 1.19B
HNR HANNANS 0.214285714286 0.017 0.014 33.59M
MZZ MATADOR MINING 0.204545454545 0.265 0.22 7.51M
ASN ANSON RESOURCES 0.190476190476 0.05 0.042 20.53M
BOA BOADICEA 0.166666666667 0.21 0.18 10.28M
LIT LITHIUM AUSTRALIA 0.16 0.145 0.125 61.45M
PNN PEPINNINI LITHIUM 0.148148148148 0.031 0.027 16.34M
DTM DART MINING 0.125 0.009 0.008 5.74M
KSN KINGSTON 0.05 0.021 0.02 24.30M
BMZ BLACK MOUNTAIN 0.0238095238095 0.043 0.042 2.61M
CGM COUGAR METALS 0 0.007 0.007 7.34M
NLI NOVO LITIO 0 0.051 0.051 18.64M
ADN ANDROMEDA METALS 0 0.007 0.007 6.26M
CAZ CAZALY RESOURCES 0 0.048 0.048 9.60M
KTA KRAKATOA RESOURC 0 0.045 0.045 4.00M
NMT NEOMETALS 0 0.305 0.305 160.34M
PM1 PURE MINERALS -0.1 0.018 0.02 4.87M
SRK STRIKE RESOURCES -0.142857142857 0.06 0.07 8.72M
LPI LITHIUM POWER -0.146666666667 0.32 0.375 82.12M
ADV ARDIDEN -0.166666666667 0.015 0.018 17.70M
KPC KAZAKHSTAN POTASH -0.176470588235 0.042 0.051 39.78M
MTC METALSTECH -0.21875 0.25 0.32 24.34M
ESR ESTRELLA -0.263157894737 0.028 0.038 12.45M
LRS LATIN RESOURCES -0.266666666667 0.011 0.015 31.47M
LI3 LITHIUM CONSOLIDATED -0.38125 0.099 0.16 8.93M
MCT METALICITY -0.384615384615 0.032 0.052 19.09M
CHK COHIBA MINERALS -0.5 0.009 0.018 5.02M
GPP GREENPOWER ENERGY -0.518518518519 0.013 0.027 15.76M
AOU AUROCH MINERALS -0.6 0.092 0.23 8.01M
PSM PENINSULA MINES -0.6 0.01 0.025 7.01M
EMH EUROPEAN METALS -0.71102661597 0.38 1.315 50.39M
JDR JADAR LITHIUM -0.944117647059 0.019 0.34 7.01M

Trade war could hurt EV demand

Lithium has gained favour with investors because of its use in the rechargeable batteries needed to power electronics and electric vehicles (EVs).

While demand for EVs is tipped to grow substantially, an emerging trade war between the US and China could upset Tesla’s plans to grow its share of the EV market.

China has announced it plans to place tariffs of 25 per cent on $US50 billion worth of imported American goods, including EVs.