Top 5: Battery metals are back, baby
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Investor sentiment for a bunch of long-forgotten battery metals explorers is now running red hot. Is this a turning point for the sector?
South Australian graphite explorer Renascor (ASX:RNU) has inked a big a non-binding offtake deal with one of China’s biggest battery material suppliers.
The company, Shanxi Minguang New Material Technology Co, is a subsidiary of state-owned behemoth Fujian Metallurgical which has ~$17 billion in assets.
This memorandum of understanding (MOU) — a non-binding agreement that generally comes before a legally binding one — covers up to 10,000 tonnes a year of Purified Spherical Graphite (PSG) over 10 years. Binding offtakes are crucial for battery metal project developers looking for finance.
“Notwithstanding uncertainties created by COVID-19, the demand for electric vehicle batteries continues to underpin growing demand for PSG, with the market opportunity particularly strong in China,” Renascor managing director David Christensen says.
“We are seeing increasing interest from anode makers for our Siviour PSG, and we expect this to assist in securing additional offtake commitments in line with our financing and development strategy.”
Fellow graphite play Blackearth Minerals (ASX:BEM) continues to surge on no news.
The spark? Tesla’s ‘Battery Day’ and “several recent media reports about increasing world demand for clean energy battery products”, the former sub $5m market cap tiddler says.
And then there’s the long suffering lithium explorers, led by Tesla’s new best bud Piedmont Lithium (ASX:PLL).
The US based stock is up +50 per cent this week so far (and ~220 per cent this month) after announcing a deal to supply Tesla with a big chunk of its planned spodumene production for an initial five years.
Also up on no news is fellow US lithium play Ioneer (ASX:INR), which aims to have its Rhyolite Ridge project permitted and ready for construction as early as Q2 next year.
Meanwhile, Suvo Strategic Minerals (ASX:SUV) edges closer to development of the White Knight kaolin project in WA after securing the all-important mining access agreement.
Kaolin is a feedstock for high purity alumina (HPA), a component of lithium-ion batteries and LED lights. It also has a wide range of other industrial uses, like paper and paperboard, fiberglass, ceramics and paint.