Lithium-ferro-phosphate (LFP) batteries that are not reliant on critical energy metals such as nickel and cobalt are forecast to grow by a massive 500 per cent by 2030.

While LFPs have been used in transport applications where safety trumps energy density, the use of more efficient cell geometry and modifications to the LFP chemistry – including the addition of manganese – have addressed its lower energy density compared to other lithium battery (LiB) chemistries.

Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT) managing director Adrian Griffin noted in an announcement that the use of LFP simplifies the supply chain by reducing exposure to critical metals such as nickel and cobalt.

Its popularity is already starting to show with global demand for LFP rising more than 25 per cent over the last 12 months, bringing Chinese LFP cathode powder production to over 100,000t per annum.

Additionally, while just two per cent of all LFP cathode powder production is located outside China, the growing demand for LFP batteries from electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers means there is a major opportunity to supply LFP into a market with little competition.

The stationary energy storage is also expected to drive LFP demand due to the transition to renewable energy and 5G communications.

This could create a market for nearly 90,000tpa of LFP cathode powder by 2030.

Consultancy Wood Mackenzie had predicted in August last year that LFP is expected to reach more than 30 per cent share of the energy storage systems market by 2030 while lithium-manganese-cobalt-oxide (NMC) is expected to decline from about 75 per cent to 30 per cent.
 

Nickel still in demand

That’s not to say that metals like nickel will fall out of favour with lithium battery makers any time soon.

A Fastmarkets survey has found that the transition to high nickel battery compositions has stalled due to concerns about cost and safety, meaning that for now at least, there is still substantial demand for cobalt.

In fact, 143 of the survey participants have positive expectations about cobalt demand in 2021 against just 24 negative responses.

However, there is little reason to doubt that nickel will play a bigger role once these concerns are addressed with Benchmark Mineral Intelligence telling Stockhead back in June last year that they would start to develop significant market share from 2023.
 

Advance Australia

European Lithium (ASX:EUR) has raised $7m through a placement to continue exploration and development of its Wolfsberg lithium project.

Meanwhile, Lithium Australia is keen to capitalise on the opportunity presented by the growth in LFP demand.

The company’s wholly-owned subsidiary VSPC develops and produces LFP-based cathode powders, plus derivatives that enhance the quality and performance to many other LFP cathode powders currently available.

VSPC will complete a preliminary feasibility study this quarter for LFP cathode production that includes emerging market dynamics and compares its production and use in a number of jurisdictions outside of China.

On the nickel front, Auroch Minerals (ASX:AOU) has started drilling at the previously producing Nepean nickel project that has targets across more than 10km of strike.

The targets have the potential to host significant massive nickel sulphide mineralisation.

Likewise, Azure Minerals (ASX:AZS) has also started drilling at its Andover nickel-copper project in the Pilbara.

The 30,000m two-phase diamond drilling program will seek to initially define the extent of the 1,050m long and +200m deep VC-07 mineralised body before infill drilling is carried out to produce a JORC resource.
 

Battery metal stocks

Code Company Price %Mth %SixMth %Wk %Yr MktCap
ASN Anson Resources Ltd 0.095 217 313 157 164 $ 91,295,362.41
LIT Lithium Australia NL 0.175 178 265 130 143 $ 109,497,492.36
VUL Vulcan Energy 10.87 365 1970 118 6488 $ 771,965,605.40
SYA Sayona Mining Ltd 0.047 422 292 104 183 $ 186,781,690.70
EUR European Lithium Ltd 0.11 139 100 100 17 $ 50,857,789.92
LKE Lake Resources 0.155 128 297 96 230 $ 129,491,436.72
EGR Ecograf Limited 0.295 79 340 79 340 $ 89,176,758.16
JRL Jindalee Resources 1.51 99 352 68 439 $ 58,115,155.80
HNR Hannans Ltd 0.01 100 43 67 25 $ 16,519,840.34
ESS Essential Metals Ltd 0.15 92 43 60 7 $ 26,106,249.00
RNU Renascor Res Ltd 0.02 67 43 54 67 $ 28,317,067.18
GLN Galan Lithium Ltd 0.595 80 325 53 205 $ 100,499,793.60
AUZ Australian Mines Ltd 0.035 133 119 52 100 $ 134,689,430.90
VR8 Vanadium Resources 0.054 74 157 50 108 $ 13,473,987.77
PRL Province Resources 0.022 69 4 47 211 $ 13,420,382.32
LPD Lepidico Ltd 0.026 189 271 44 65 $ 108,900,435.80
ARR American Rare Earths 0.115 53 448 42 539 $ 39,580,351.08
AOU Auroch Minerals Ltd 0.23 84 334 39 277 $ 58,807,580.59
LPI Lithium Pwr Int Ltd 0.355 69 97 39 37 $ 80,531,253.81
QPM Queensland Pacific 0.057 78 307 39 256 $ 44,277,483.60
INF Infinity Lithium 0.255 70 185 38 368 $ 71,854,382.80
AQD Ausquest Limited 0.023 28 21 35 64 $ 14,901,318.98
PUR Pursuit Minerals 0.039 95 222 30 737 $ 29,422,944.92
RLC Reedy Lagoon Corp. 0.022 47 214 29 633 $ 9,864,409.46
MLS Metals Australia 0.0025 25 25 25 67 $ 8,381,807.15
PSC Prospect Res Ltd 0.205 58 37 24 4 $ 66,418,074.20
TKL Traka Resources 0.026 18 191 24 228 $ 12,661,626.70
AVL Aust Vanadium Ltd 0.021 50 91 24 62 $ 52,742,858.65
PLL Piedmont Lithium Ltd 0.55 59 511 22 307 $ 737,120,489.28
NMT Neometals Ltd 0.345 57 130 21 113 $ 188,146,186.77
COB Cobalt Blue Ltd 0.41 257 290 21 165 $ 107,017,612.68
BEM Blackearth Minerals 0.055 31 41 20 10 $ 6,768,651.74
VRC Volt Resources Ltd 0.014 27 -30 17 8 $ 28,116,765.31
POS Poseidon Nick Ltd 0.078 8 189 15 86 $ 210,706,113.90
GAL Galileo Mining Ltd 0.28 44 6 14 84 $ 40,068,337.40
QXR Qx Resources Limited 0.018 13 -14 13 -10 $ 9,607,721.80
WKT Walkabout Resources 0.14 4 8 12 -28 $ 43,641,705.63
AML Aeon Metals Ltd. 0.14 27 61 12 -20 $ 94,859,761.78
TNG TNG Limited 0.105 21 35 12 23 $ 121,222,699.80
S2R S2 Resources 0.2 54 38 11 67 $ 64,552,691.70
ADV Ardiden Ltd 0.022 29 69 10 450 $ 47,147,361.45
SGQ St George Min Ltd 0.115 10 0 10 -8 $ 57,907,488.24
BKT Black Rock Mining 0.12 26 145 9 154 $ 82,016,598.84
GBR Greatbould Resources 0.052 16 13 8 35 $ 10,155,227.58
LEG Legend Mining 0.13 34 -4 8 65 $ 334,779,465.13
AGY Argosy Minerals Ltd 0.13 110 150 8 40 $ 117,242,746.22
PAN Panoramic Resources 0.17 20 150 8 -30 $ 338,400,810.66
MLX Metals X Limited 0.135 8 67 8 53 $ 122,480,919.05
MRC Mineral Commodities 0.42 14 68 8 40 $ 173,371,796.98
ALY Alchemy Resource Ltd 0.017 6 2 6 45 $ 12,100,382.15
JRV Jervois Mining 0.495 36 191 5 120 $ 371,912,659.10
DEV Devex Resources Ltd 0.235 15 135 4 236 $ 65,010,383.20
PGM Platina Resources 0.052 18 -2 4 197 $ 20,143,031.66
CHN Chalice Mining Ltd 4.44 18 321 4 1458 $ 1,476,291,522.39
CLQ Clean Teq Hldgs Ltd 0.29 16 115 4 4 $ 279,510,668.68
RFR Rafaella Resources 0.079 20 -7 3 -47 $ 9,720,823.40
IGO IGO Limited 7.27 16 44 2 10 $ 5,296,610,952.54
VMC Venus Metals Cor Ltd 0.215 2 -25 2 26 $ 30,971,130.02
PLS Pilbara Min Ltd 1.14 39 293 2 221 $ 3,418,234,742.72
ARL Ardea Resources Ltd 0.485 10 41 2 -21 $ 65,750,349.73
PNN PepinNini Minerals 0.325 117 144 2 83 $ 10,664,646.72
GME GME Resources Ltd 0.065 12 91 2 21 $ 38,423,818.17
TMT Technology Metals 0.36 14 89 1 177 $ 49,299,158.70
AVZ AVZ Minerals Ltd 0.2 117 246 1 253 $ 547,991,383.25
ATM Aneka Tambang 1 0 1 0 0 $ 1,303,649.00
AJM Altura Mining Ltd 0.07 0 17 0 13 $ 209,037,029.25
LML Lincoln Minerals 0.008 0 33 0 14 $ 4,599,869.49
CNJ Conico Ltd 0.03 7 275 0 275 $ 21,936,616.19
BUX Buxton Resources Ltd 0.065 0 -11 0 -28 $ 9,523,880.24
TON Triton Min Ltd 0.054 8 0 0 54 $ 57,857,871.42
BSX Blackstone Ltd 0.405 7 84 0 145 $ 128,732,876.00
GED Golden Deeps 0.012 9 33 0 -52 $ 10,069,973.49
CZN Corazon Ltd 0.002 0 0 0 -48 $ 8,133,397.86
BSM Bass Metals Ltd 0.005 25 67 0 -29 $ 22,119,216.54
ORE Orocobre Limited 5.05 16 80 -1 38 $ 1,764,943,442.28
GXY Galaxy Resources 2.85 39 234 -1 133 $ 1,406,338,236.36
SYR Syrah Resources 1.12 24 245 -1 78 $ 520,024,894.31
MOH Moho Resources 0.088 -2 -37 -1 91 $ 8,337,802.04
CTM Centaurus Metals Ltd 0.85 14 77 -1 372 $ 278,719,021.80
BHP BHP Group Limited 45.92 6 21 -1 13 $ 133,888,945,857.30
ESR Estrella Res Ltd 0.079 11 888 -1 778 $ 69,262,442.56
MCR Mincor Resources NL 1.14 0 53 -1 63 $ 490,163,172.51
NIC Nickel Mines Limited 1.23 7 99 -2 84 $ 3,093,485,732.73
AXE Archer Materials 0.53 0 29 -2 179 $ 118,196,686.65
MIN Mineral Resources. 38.4 15 61 -3 121 $ 7,261,003,788.50
INR Ioneer Ltd 0.295 7 136 -3 48 $ 463,622,188.43
BAR Barra Resources 0.026 13 44 -4 24 $ 16,940,202.53
CWX Carawine Resources 0.24 0 33 -4 2 $ 25,589,126.97
BOA Boadicea Resources 0.21 -11 20 -5 10 $ 13,050,606.66
SRI Sipa Resources Ltd 0.061 -8 -19 -5 -9 $ 10,847,468.23
OZL OZ Minerals 20.04 5 59 -5 83 $ 6,602,676,644.87
AZS Azure Minerals 0.48 -29 210 -5 243 $ 149,421,574.69
MAN Mandrake Res Ltd 0.084 6 140 -7 425 $ 28,141,273.98
STK Strickland Metals 0.041 8 58 -7 105 $ 17,267,212.36
SLZ Sultan Resources Ltd 0.2 -13 33 -7 208 $ 13,906,877.80
LTR Liontown Resources 0.395 20 229 -7 329 $ 759,422,188.56
EMH European Metals Hldg 1.27 51 338 -9 327 $ 159,801,912.70
CXO Core Lithium 0.2 141 355 -9 413 $ 205,498,215.81
TLG Talga Group Ltd 1.63 -1 225 -10 261 $ 507,101,562.03
FGR First Graphene Ltd 0.28 17 133 -11 107 $ 145,208,859.95
G88 Golden Mile Res Ltd 0.05 -6 -17 -12 -7 $ 6,150,916.40
IPT Impact Minerals 0.017 -15 -11 -15 143 $ 32,020,024.07
FFX Firefinch Ltd 0.18 33 44 -18 114 $ 152,471,913.95
MNS Magnis Energy Tech 0.15 -21 15 -19 11 $ 124,101,015.58
CLA Celsius Resource Ltd 0.047 4 124 -23 176 $ 37,450,467.89
RXL Rox Resources 0.037 -26 -49 -24 48 $ 79,943,310.06
SBR Sabre Resources 0.008 -11 167 -27 167 $ 16,830,636.49

At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Auroch and Azure are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.