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For the Australian cannabis market, 2021 was all about incremental growth as the industry continued to find its place in the global market.

Click here to read the previous Australian cannabis trends article.

The Australian cannabis market experienced a busy 2021 period marked by significant challenges as players in the industry continued to look for opportunities.

It’s all been about growth in the market, whether it comes from operations or regulations, as Australia continues to see its domestic market expand while players in the country pursue international ventures.

Sentiment surrounding cannabis investment around the globe went through ups and downs in 2021, an effect that’s been reflected in Australia, but on the whole experts continue to point to a glowing future for the market.


Australian cannabis trends 2021: New batch of numbers points to growth

According to a report from FreshLeaf Analytics on how the Australian cannabis industry fared in the second half of 2021, revenue for the domestic market came in at AU$230 million for the year.

Alongside the financial increase for the market there was a substantial uptick in patient count. Nearly 100,000 patients were expected to be registered in the Australian system by the end of the year, as per FreshLeaf.

Each one of these patients spends, on average, AU$278 per month on medical cannabis.

The research firm explains that its methodology accounts for patients “who have filled a prescription or consulted with a doctor about medicinal cannabis in the past six months.”

Australia's patient growth indicates a key change in perspective on the medical applications of cannabis, with experts continuing to note that this is a slow-moving process that will pay off in the long run.

"(Medical professionals) haven't gone through that usual path of learning about how cannabinoids work, what you prescribe them for, how you prescribe them, what you should be monitoring for in terms of adverse events and side effects," Dr. Yvonne Bonomo told ABC News. Dr. Bonomo is a physician and researcher at the Australian Centre for Cannabinoid Clinical and Research Excellence.

Australian cannabis trends 2021: Regulations still complicated despite progress

On a similar note, a report from Forbes indicates that public support for cannabis in Australia has gone up as general understanding of the drug continues to increase.

Specifically, 41.1 percent of Australians are now in support of legalizing recreational cannabis use, according to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey. The most recent results are from 2019.

While current regulations don't allow for adult use and place heavy restrictions on medical applications, access to medical cannabis has gradually improved as clinicians register as authorised prescribers.

In 2021, authorised prescribers saw major growth. FreshLeaf Analytics states that at the end of September 2021, 430 doctors were allowed to prescribe the drug, a 40 percent increase from only three months before.

“There is clearly a growing subset of clinicians who are committed to utilising medical cannabis as a regular treatment option for their patients,” the report from the Australian analytics firm explains.

In an interview with ABC News, Josie Hamlett, compliance and logistics officer with domestic producer Tasmanian Botanics, said that despite all the progress seen in the market, it's challenging to manage a cannabis operation in the country due to the current landscape of regulation.

"We definitely have a lot of hoops to jump through, working in the industry that we do ... particularly in some cases when federal and state legislation doesn't align," Hamlett said.

Australian cannabis trends 2021: Investor takeaway

Australia’s cannabis market continues to show signs of improvement, and it also has the numbers to back it up. Even so, the domestic landscape has a long way to go to reach maturity — education of the public and regulatory progress at the governmental level will be key moving forward.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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WHAT'S IN STORE FOR THE CANNABIS SECTOR IN 2022?

The Investing News Network (INN) spoke with analysts, market watchers and insiders about which trends will impact this sector in the year ahead.

✓ Trends   ✓ Forecasts    ✓ Top Stocks


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Hygrovest Limited

Building a globally diversified portfolio of companies in high-growth industries.



Overview

Hygrovest Limited (ASX:HGV) has a globally diversified portfolio focused on investing in private and public companies in high-growth industries. Hygrovest has investments in cannabis-focused companies and in December 2021, the company expanded their portfolio to include healthcare, natural resources, and the digital economy as well as e-sports, sports betting, online gaming, and fintech.


Hygrovest's diversified investment is managed by Parallax Ventures Inc. (“Parallax”), a specialist management company in Canada, under a long-term strategic partnership. The agreement with Parallax offers access to new investment opportunities, added material value to existing investments, minimised HGV’s fixed cost structure, and secured meaningful investment presence in HGV’s key investment market – North America.

Hygrovest's portfolio includes a portfolio of CBD and cannabis investments in cultivation, extraction and consumer products with material investments in Weed Me, WeedMD, Sequoya, Harvest One and Southern Cannabis Holdings.

Hygrovest

Hygrovest operates a robust share purchase plan, which provides eligible shareholders the opportunity to invest in the portfolio at a 51 percent discount to net value assets. This attribute is exceptionally advantageous with the company's generation of substantial realized gains from its sale of Dosecann Inc. and Medipharm LABS, two Canadian cannabis-based companies providing leading cannabis technologies in extraction and product development.

A significant goal for Hygrovest's Board includes trading its share price at a premium to NAV, considering prospective returns from its high-quality portfolio companies. The company has seen positive trends in investment returns in the past five years and has generated a Multiple on Invested Capital (MOIC) of 1.3 times capital invested. Its mixture of private and listed companies across the emerging Australian and offshore cannabis and hemp markets primes the company for dominant standing as a major investment company.

Hygrovest Test Tube

Its highly-developed investment process includes active formulating, frequent reviewing, and effective investment best practices based on reliable valuation information. The Hygrovest Board operates as the final approval level for acquisition and the sale of investment proposals, which involve an exercise of rights attached to specific investments. Its current investment approval process operates based on Hygrovest's Investment Management Agreement with Parallax Ventures Inc, effective from 1 June 1 2019.

Future plans for the company involve focusing on U.S. investment expansion, employing liquidity into Canadian markets and developing its brands and distribution chains. The company notes significant attention towards its Harvest One Cannabis (TSXV:HVT) investee, which saw a 116 percent increase in value during February 2021, reaching totals of CAD$13.4 million.

Harvest One

"You can see with Harvest One, which is our largest investment, has a massive distribution network and has very high-quality plans coming along. We believe those types of investments in the long-term will be exceptionally attractive," commented Hygrovest Non Executive Director Michael Curtis.

Hygrovest Limited comprises a strong team with over 80 years of combined experience in investment banking, corporate strategy and cannabis fields. The company also benefits from having the Canadian-based Parallax Ventures Inc. on its Board as a strategic asset manager. Together, this leadership primes Hygrovest for significant success and growth with strategies to enhance acceleration and collaboration within the portfolio.

Company Highlights

  • Hygrovest has a globally diversified portfolio that includes private and public companies in high-growth industries.
  • Hygrovest has expanded their portfolio to include healthcare, natural resources, and the digital economy as well as e-sports, sports betting, online gaming, and fintech.
  • Investment return in the past five years has generated a MOIC of 1.1 times the capital invested. This financial upside is amplified with the company's MOIC of 3.5 times on investments sold in that period including sales of Dosecann Inc. and Medipharm LABS.
  • Hygrovest has a proven track record in acquiring and realizing significant value from its investments. They combine years of professional experience in investment banking, corporate governance and strategic acquisition.
  • Harvest One Cannabis, Hygrovest's largest investment, saw a 116 percent increase in value totaling CAD$13.4 million in February 2021, presenting the company with exceptional growth potential.
  • The company has a strong management team and benefits from having the Canadian-based Parallax Ventures Inc. on its board as its asset manager.
Weed Me

Hygrovest Limited operates a robust investment portfolio consisting of listed and private cannabis companies across a diverse variety of emerging cannabis-related sectors, including healthcare, technology, infrastructure, logistics, processing, cultivation, equipment and retail.

Current investment in its portfolio include:

  • Harvest One Cannabis Inc. (CVE:HVT)
  • Southern Cannabis Holdings
  • Weed Me
  • Martha Jane Medical
  • Vitagenne
  • Sequoya
  • WeedMD Rx Inc. (CVE:WMD)
  • Bespoke Capital Acquisition Corp.

Hygrovest 's portfolio of investments sold:

  • BevCanna Enterprises Inc. (CNSX:BEV)
  • Fire & Flower (TSE:FAF)
  • MediPharm LABS (TSE:LABS)
  • Hemple
  • Axiomm Technologies
  • Volero Brands Inc.

This portfolio leverages favorable market conditions with the majority of Canadian listed cannabis producer valuations seen dropping in 2020. Hygrovest intends to take advantage of this market backdrop and continue to create substantial investment opportunities, strategic partnerships and high-quality acquisitions.

Management Team

Peter Wall - Non- Executive Chairman

Peter Wall is a corporate lawyer and has been a partner at Steinepreis Paganin, a Perth-based corporate law firm, since July 2005. He has a wide range of experience in all forms of commercial and corporate law, with a particular focus on medical cannabis, resources, equity capital markets and mergers and acquisitions. He also has significant experience in dealing with cross-border transactions.

Wall graduated from the University of Western Australia in 1998 with a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce (Finance). He has also completed a Masters of Applied Finance and Investment with FINSIA.

Winton Willesee - Non-Executive Director

Winton Willesee is an experienced company director and brings a broad range of skills and experience in strategy, company development, corporate governance, company public listings, merger and acquisition transactions and corporate finance. He has considerable experience with ASX listed and other companies over a broad range of industries, having been involved with many successful ventures from early-stage through to large capital development projects.

Willesee holds formal qualifications in economics, finance, accounting, education and governance. He is a fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia, a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a member of CPA Australia and a fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia/Chartered Secretary.

Doug Halley - Non-Executive Director

Doug Halley is an experienced company director and has served for 30 years as CFO or CEO in several significant and successful commercial enterprises and investment banks. His executive experience had a heavy emphasis on corporate strategy, treasury, financial management, M&A and business development. As a professional director, Halley has developed risk management and governance expertise. He has a strong background in IPO and start-ups and a reputation for innovation, perseverance and achieving solutions and results.

Halley has a Bachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration and is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Michael Curtis - Non-Executive Director

Michael Curtis resides in Toronto, Canada and is an experienced former investment banker and private equity executive. He is an active cannabis sector executive, having recently served as VP of Corporate Finance of Dosecann Inc. and Managing Partner of Parallax Ventures Inc. Curtis was previously the COO and Director of Embark Health Inc. and remains a consultant to Embark Health Inc.

Curtis has a Master of Business Administration from the University of New Brunswick, Bachelor of Sciences (Honors) from McMaster University.

Jim Hallam - CFO & Corporate Secretary

Jim Hallam has over 30 years of experience in the investment management industry with alternative asset fund managers in Australia and overseas, including Hastings Funds Management and Annuity Australia. His roles include acting as responsible manager, investment manager and Chief Financial Officer within alternative asset fund managers.

Hallam has a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics, is a member of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and a fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia.

HGV:AU

Zelira Therapeutics Ltd a global leader in the research and development of clinically validated cannabinoid medicines, is pleased to announce the US launch of the Zelira Dermatology Business’ first product line, RAF FIVE ™ through its dermatology subsidiary Ilera Derm LLC . The five-product RAF FIVE ™ line consists of the Wash Away Gel Cleanser Acne Treatment, Spot On Acne Treatment, Kick Off Hydrating Lotion …

Zelira Therapeutics Ltd (ASX: ZLD) (OTCQB: ZLDAF), a global leader in the research and development of clinically validated cannabinoid medicines, is pleased to announce the US launch of the Zelira Dermatology Business’ first product line, RAF FIVE ™ through its dermatology subsidiary Ilera Derm LLC (“Zelira Dermatology”).

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What are the top ASX cannabis stocks of 2022 so far by share price performance? Here's a look at the biggest gainers in the space.

Click here to read the previous top ASX cannabis stocks article.

Australia's cannabis industry has had ups and downs in recent years.

Cannabis, which can be cultivated for medicinal and scientific purposes in the country, takes up a particularly tricky and political pocket of the healthcare sector, but continues to generate investor interest.

How have Australian cannabis stocks performed in the first few months of 2022? Below the Investing News Network has gathered the top ASX cannabis stocks year-to-date. The following information was correct as of April 4, 2022, and was collected using TradingView's stock screener. Read on to learn more.


1. Botanix Pharmaceuticals

Year-to-date gain: 67.86 percent; market cap: AU$87.58 million; current share price: AU$0.09

Botanix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:BOT) is a dermatology-focused company whose work is centered on developing topical treatments for a slew of skin problems, including acne, rosacea, atopic dermatitis and microbial infections. Its pipeline includes three advanced clinical programs using the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects of synthetic CBD as a topical treatment for various skin diseases.

Botanix is on track with many of its goals for this year. According to its latest quarterly activities report, the company's canine atopic dermatitis program, which was launched in September 2021, is set to finish enrolment by the end of the first quarter. Additionally, preclinical work for Botanix's BTX 1801 antimicrobial program is complete, and a clinical study is planned to start by the end of Q1.

2. Cronos Australia

Year-to-date gain: 47.5 percent; market cap: AU$156.92 million; current share price: AU$0.29

A spinoff of Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON,TSX:CRON), Cronos Australia (ASX:CAU) is a domestic firm looking for opportunities in the medical cannabis space. It holds a controlling stake in Cannadoc Health in Australia and has also pursued business ventures in the larger Asia Pacific region.

As part of its annual report to shareholders, Chairman Shane Tanner and CEO Rodney Cocks said the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have continued to affect the cannabis industry at large, including some aspects of the Cronos Australia business. However, they expect to see things turn around in 2022.

In its latest quarterly activities report, Cronos Australia highlighted the successful completion of its merger with CDA Health, describing it as a "key milestone," and reported that its medical cannabis sales for the first half of the 2022 fiscal year exceeded sales for the entire 2021 fiscal year.

3. Hygrovest

Year-to-date gain: 3.39 percent; market cap: AU$14.25 million; current share price: AU$0.06

Hygrovest (ASX:HGV), formerly MMJ Group Holdings, describes itself as a specialist investment company. It has a wide range of cannabis investments, including healthcare products, technology, infrastructure, logistics, processing, cultivation, equipment, retail and research and development.

Among other companies, it has invested in Harvest One Cannabis (TSXV:HVT,OTCQB:HRVOF), which develops health and wellness products, and BevCanna Enterprises (CSE:BEV,OTCQB:BVNNF), which offers a range of traditional and cannabis-infused beverages and nutraceuticals.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Marlee John, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Highlights: Peak Processing Solutions subsidiary of Althea Group Holdings has entered into agreements with BBCCC, Inc., The Boston Beer Company and WeedMD Rx Inc., a subsidiary of Entourage Health Corp. Under the product development agreement, Peak will provide research and development services including laboratory support and the testing of various product formulations and recipes, for the new line of BBC products …

Highlights:

  • Peak Processing Solutions (Peak), subsidiary of Althea Group Holdings (ASX: AGH) (Althea) has entered into agreements with BBCCC, Inc., The Boston Beer Company (NYSE: SAM) (‘BBC’), and WeedMD Rx Inc., a subsidiary of Entourage Health Corp. (‘Entourage’)
  • Under the product development agreement, Peak will provide research and development services including laboratory support and the testing of various product formulations and recipes, for the new line of BBC products
  • BBC will provide Peak with funding of up to USD$2m for capital improvements associated with the development project. In addition, Peak will receive a minimum of USD$285,000 for each year of the Term of the agreement (totalling USD$1.42m )
  • Under the 5 year supply and manufacturing agreement, Peak is the exclusive manufacturer of all cannabis beverages produced or sold in Canada under BBC branding, for the term of the agreement
  • Entourage will be responsible for distribution and sales of the cannabis-infused beverages in Canada

Peak Processing Solutions, a subsidiary of Althea Group Holdings Limited (ASX: AGH) (‘Peak’ or ‘the Company’) is a leading developer, manufacturer, and distributor of cannabis infused edible, topical, and concentrate products is pleased to announce that the Company has entered into agreements with WeedMD Rx Inc., a subsidiary of (TSXV: ENTG) (OTCQX: WDDMF) (‘Entourage’) and BBCCC, Inc., a subsidiary of the Boston Beer Company Inc. (NYSE: SAM) (‘BBC’).

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Hygrovest



Hygrovest Limited (ASX:HGV) ("HGV") is an Australian-listed specialist investment company which concentrates on producing capital growth for shareholders over the medium term from investments in listed and unlisted equities and other financial assets.

HGV agrees to divest its investment in Entourage Health above current book value

HGV has agreed to support proposed changes to the terms of the unsecured convertible debentures issued by Entourage Health Corp (ENT or the Company) which would allow HGV to divest its investment in ENT convertible debentures (the Notes).

The attached release by ENT details the changes proposed by the Company which would allow HGV to complete the divestment of ENT which bring forward the maturity date from 25 September 2022 to 30 June 2022 and reduce the redemption percentage from 100% to 60% of face value (the Note Proposals).

The Company has announced that a meeting of ENT Noteholders will be held in late June 2022 to consider the Note Proposals. HGV has signed a voting agreement to vote in favour of the changes. If the meeting of ENT Noteholders approves the amendments, ENT will redeem HGV’s Notes for CAD3.6m plus accrued interest on or around 30 June 2022 which is a premium to HGV’s book value of CAD2.5m as at 30 April 2022.

On the basis that ENT Noteholders approve the resolutions, HGV will have generated a loss of 18% on the original investment (after inclusion of cash interest received). Whilst the investment in HGV’s Notes has been well below expectations at the time of initial investment, it should be noted that the return is materially above that for the listed Canadian cannabis sector which has declined approximately 70%1 since January 2020.

The divestment was negotiated by HGV’s asset manager, Parallax Ventures Inc, on behalf of HGV.

“The divestment of HGV’s investment in ENT at a significant premium to our book value is an important step in realising HGV’s underperforming cannabis investments and applying those funds to sectors which have higher growth prospects” said Mr Wall, HGV’s Chairman.

HGV made its initial investment in ENT in September 2019 and now has a current book value of CAD2.5m comprising:

  1. CAD6m in 8.5% unsecured Convertible Debenture units issued by ENT which HGV has the option to convert into 3.75m shares by the maturity date of 25 September 2022. The debenture units have preference over ordinary shares with interest paid to HGV on a six-monthly basis. The market value of the notes is calculated by multiplying the CAD6m by the market price divided by 100.
  2. Listed Warrants that allow HGV to acquire an additional 3.75m shares for CAD1.80 each by 25 September 2022.
About HGV

Hygrovest Limited (ASX:HGV) ("HGV") (ABN 91 601 236 417) is an Australian-listed specialist investment company which concentrates on producing capital growth for shareholders over the medium term from investments in listed and unlisted equities and other financial assets.

Important Notice

This announcement contains reference to certain intentions, expectations, future plans, strategy and prospects of HGV. Those intentions, expectations, future plans, strategy and prospects may or may not be achieved. They are based on certain assumptions, which may not be met or on which views may differ and may be affected by known and unknown risks. The performance and operations of HGV may be influenced by a number of factors, many of which are outside the control of HGV. No representation or warranty, express or implied, is made by HGV, or any of its directors, officers, employees, advisers or agents that any intentions, expectations or plans will be achieved either totally or partially or that any particular rate of return will be achieved. Given the risks and uncertainties that may cause HGV’s actual future results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expected, planned or intended, recipients should not place undue reliance on these intentions, expectations, future plans, strategy and prospects. HGV does not warrant or represent that the actual results, performance or achievements will be as expected, planned or intended. Nothing in this material should be construed as either an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell securities. It does not include all available information and should not be used in isolation as a basis to invest in HGV. This document does not constitute any part of any offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities in the United States or to, or for the account or benefit of any “US person” as defined in Regulation S under the US Securities Act of 1993 (“Securities Act”). HGV’s shares have not been, and will not be, registered under the Securities Act or the securities laws of any state or other jurisdiction of the United States, and may not be offered or sold in the United States or to any US person without being so registered or pursuant to an exemption from registration including an exemption for qualified institutional buyers.

This article includes content from Hygrovest Limited (ASX:HGV), licensed for the purpose of publishing on Investing News Australia. This article does not constitute financial product advice. It is your responsibility to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any information provided here. Please refer to our full disclaimer here.
HGV:AU
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The gold price is trading lower than some market watchers would prefer, but the top-performing ASX gold stocks so far this year are making leaps.

Click here to read the previous best ASX gold stocks article.

While 2021 was a disappointing year for gold, analysts are optimistic about the outlook for 2022.

The yellow metal passed the US$2,000 per ounce mark as tensions between Russia and Ukraine heated up, but has since pulled back to trade closer to US$1,800. However, diverse factors could combine to push it higher.

Demand for gold jewellery, gold bars and coins, and the metal’s use in the technology sector are still going strong, and supply is also a growing concern due to decreased gold exploration efforts in recent years.


Against this backdrop, many Australian gold stocks are doing well. And with the precious metal generally considered a safe investment, it's worth being aware of the county's top-performing companies.

Here the Investing News Network looks at the best ASX gold stocks of the year so far by year-to-date gains. The list of stocks below was generated on April 29, 2022, using TradingView’s stock screener, and all companies included had market caps over AU$30 million at that time.

1. Xantippe Resources

Year-to-date gain: 180 percent; market cap: AU$107.3 million; current share price: AU$0.01

Xantippe Resources (ASX:XTC) is focused on Western Australia's Southern Cross region, which is widely known for its past gold production. The precious metals explorer's Southern Cross project is made up of 20 prospecting licences and six exploration licences, and holds a number of key priority targets.

In late April, Xantippe confirmed the acquisition of lithium tenements in Argentina with the hope of commencing exploration activities in the third quarter.

2. Minrex Resources

Year-to-date gain: 55.81 percent; market cap: AU$63.05 million; current share price: AU$0.07

Minrex Resources’ (ASX:MRR) assets include five gold and base metals projects in Western Australia, four of which are in the mineral-rich East Pilbara region.

The company started off the year with high-grade gold drill results from its work at the Queenslander gold prospect within its Sofala project. The prospect is centred around the past-producing Queenslander mine.

3. Aston Minerals

Year-to-date gain: 38.1 percent; market cap: AU$164.19 million; current share price: AU$0.15

Gold and nickel-cobalt explorer Aston Minerals (ASX:ASO) is moving forward at its Edleston gold project, located in the Cadillac-Larder Lake fault zone of Canada's Abitibi greenstone belt. Edleston is its flagship asset, and according to the company, it is the first in over a decade to drill in this area.

Aston continues to focus on gold at Edleston, but its Boomerang nickel-cobalt target has come to the forefront in recent months, with the company announcing the results of its maiden hole there in early December.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Marlee John, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

business people stacking wooden blocks

Australian lithium miners continued to move ahead with their projects during the year's third financial quarter.

After hitting all-time highs in 2021, lithium prices started to stabilise in 2022's first quarter.

China’s lockdown measures to battle COVID-19 have disrupted the supply chain and impacted domestic demand in recent weeks, but this is expected to be temporary, according to William Adams of Fastmarkets.

“The lithium market is very tight. We don't see that easing anytime soon,” he said during a recent webinar about risks in the battery metals market. “We think the underlying fundamentals and the trends are still very strong.”


During the third quarter of the financial year, Australian lithium miners continued to move ahead with their projects, and despite the increased volatility in the markets, many ASX lithium stocks saw share price gains as well.

Perth-based Pilbara Minerals' (ASX:PLS,OTC Pink:PILBF) production for the quarter was 81,431 dry metric tonnes (dmt), slightly down compared to the previous three months, but within guidance. The company said the main factor impacting output was higher COVID-19 cases, which resulted in staff and contractor shortages.

“COVID-19 has (and may continue in the near term) to cause operational delays, including staffing shortages for both shut-down and operating staff (mining and processing),” the company said in a statement. Even so, Pilbara has decided to maintain its production guidance in the range of 340,000 to 380,000 dmt.

During its fourth battery material exchange auction, the company saw the highest bid ever at US$5,650 per dmt for a cargo of 5,000 dmt of spodumene, showing the critical shortage in lithium raw material supply.

Western Australia-focused Pilbara, which owns the lithium-tantalum Pilgangoora operation, has partnerships with Ganfeng Lithium (OTC Pink:GNENF,SZSE:002460), General Lithium, Great Wall Motor Company (OTC Pink:GWLLF,HKEX:2333), POSCO (NYSE:PKX), CATL (SZSE:300750) and Yibin Tianyi.

Shares of Pilbara were trading at AU$2.53 on May 10, down 28.13 percent year-to-date, but up more than 100 percent compared to this time last year.

For its part, leading Australian lithium and iron ore miner Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN,OTC Pink:MALRF) saw its Mount Marion mine’s production reach 104,000 dmt during the quarter; it also shipped 94,000 dmt of spodumene concentrate. The company is maintaining its full-year production guidance at 450,000 to 475,000 dmt.

In April, Mineral Resources and partner Ganfeng agreed to optimise production and upgrade Mount Marion's processing facilities. Spodumene concentrate capacity at the operation is expected to increase from 450,000 dmt per year to 600,000 dmt annually.

“The decision to upgrade the plant reflects an expectation that the lithium market outlook will remain extremely strong for the foreseeable future,” the company said in a press release. A second stage increase, expected to be completed by the end of 2022, will see capacity rise further to reach 900,000 dmt.

Aside from Mount Marion, the company holds interests in Wodgina in partnership with another top producer — Albemarle (NYSE:ALB). The companies decided to restart Wodgina last year as a result of soaring global lithium demand. The mine produced its first spodumene concentrate on May 12.

“(We have) also agreed to review the state of the global lithium market towards the end of this calendar year to assess timing for the start-up of Train 3 and the possible construction of Train 4,” the company said. Each train has a nameplate capacity of 250,000 dmt of 6 percent product.

Mineral Resources’ share price was down 10.71 percent on May 10, trading at AU$52.71. That said, the stock is up 9.11 percent year-on-year.

During the March quarter, Argentina-focused Allkem (ASX:AKE,OTC Pink:OROCF) outlined its plans to increase lithium production threefold by 2026 and become a top three chemicals supplier.

In Western Australia, the company owns the Mount Cattlin mine, which produced 48,562 dmt of spodumene concentrate and shipped 66,011 tonnes in the March quarter.

“Strong conditions in the spodumene market are supporting advanced discussions for spodumene concentrate pricing in the June quarter of approximately US$5,000 per dmt SC6 percent CIF on sales of approximately 50,000 tonnes,” the company told investors in a note.

In Argentina, Allkem operates the Salar de Olaroz and is developing the Sal de Vida lithium brine. Additionally, in partnership with Toyota Tsusho (TSE:8015), Allkem is building a 10,000 tonne per year lithium hydroxide plant in Naraha, Japan. The company also owns the James Bay lithium pegmatite project in Canada.

On May 10, shares of Allkem were changing hands for AU$10.95, down 2.23 percent year-to-date, but up over 55 percent year-on-year.

Although its main focus is nickel, Independence Group (ASX:IGO) joined the lithium party last year after it bought a stake in Tianqi Lithium’s Australian assets. The companies, in joint venture, now control the majority of the biggest lithium mine in the world — Greenbushes.

Production at the mine was up 5 percent quarter-on-quarter at 270,464 tonnes of spodumene concentrate. By 2025, Greenbushes is expected to add around 800,000 tonnes per year to its output capacity.

IGO has seen its share price decline 4.63 percent year-to-date, trading at AU$11.34 on May 11. However, the stock is up 47.27 year-on-year.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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