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The best ASX lithium stocks based on year-to-date gains have performed well alongside a strong 2021 for lithium.

Click here to read the latest best ASX lithium stocks article.

Lithium prices jumped in 2021, as the electric vehicle revolution took centre stage around the world.

As a result of surging interest in battery metals, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) saw plenty of lithium companies experience increases in their share prices through the year.

Here the Investing News Network takes a look at the five top ASX-listed lithium companies by year-to-date gains. The list below was generated using TradingView’s stock screener on December 30, 2021, and includes companies that had market caps above AU$10 million at that time.


1. Sayona Mining

Year-to-date gain: 1,389.63 percent; current share price: AU$0.13

Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA) is an emerging lithium producer with projects in Western Australia and Canada.

In Quebec, together with strategic partner Piedmont Lithium (ASX:PLL), Sayona has successfully acquired North American Lithium, gaining access to a lithium mine and concentrator that it plans to integrate with its nearby Authier lithium project, as well as its emerging Tansim lithium project.

Sayona has also announced the acquisition of a 60 percent stake in the Moblan lithium project in Northern Quebec, located in the established lithium-mining jurisdiction of Eeyou‐Istchee James Bay.

In Western Australia's Pilbara region, the company holds a large portfolio that is prospective for gold and lithium.

2. Lake Resources

Year-to-date gain: 1,249.32 percent; current share price: AU$0.98

Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) is using clean direct-extraction technology for the development of sustainable, high-purity lithium from its flagship Kachi project, as well as three other lithium brine projects in Argentina.

Lake’s four projects cover 2,200 square kilometres in a prime location within the Lithium Triangle, where 40 percent of the world’s lithium is produced at the lowest cost.

Lake’s technology partner is California-based Lilac Solutions, whose cost-competitive technology has been backed by the Bill Gates-led Breakthrough Energy Fund and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Engine Fund.

3. Arizona Lithium

Year-to-date gain: 1,011.11 percent; current share price: AU$0.10

Arizona Lithium (ASX:AZL) is focused on the exploration and development of its 100 percent owned flagship Big Sandy lithium project, located in Arizona in the US Battery Corridor.

A 2019 maiden mineral resource estimate shows total indicated and inferred resources stand at a total of 32.5 million tonnes grading 1,850 parts per million (ppm) lithium, or 320,800 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE), reported above an 800 ppm lithium cut off. The company also holds interest in the Lordsburg project.

4. Galan Lithium

Year-to-date gain: 414.29 percent; current share price: AU$1.98

Galan Lithium (ASX:GLN) is an Australia-based international mining company that is focused on its lithium brine projects located in the Hombre Muerto Basin in Argentina.

The company’s flagship Hombre Muerto West project hosts some of Argentina’s highest-grade and lowest-impurity levels with an inventory of 2.3 million tonnes of LCE. Galan’s secondary project is Candelas, which has the potential to host a substantial volume of brine, with a 2019 maiden resource estimate of 685,000 tonnes of LCE.

In January 2021, Galan acquired 80 percent of the Greenbushes South lithium project from Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT,OTC Pink:LMMFF).

5. Liontown Resources

Year-to-date gain: 386.76 percent; current share price: AU$1.65

Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) bills itself as a future Australian lithium producer, with two lithium projects in Western Australia, including its flagship Kathleen Valley project.

An updated prefeasibility study confirms the technical and financial viability of a standalone 2 million tonne per year mining and processing operation at Kathleen Valley, based on an updated ore reserve of 71 million tonnes at 1.4 percent lithium oxide and 130 ppm tantalum pentoxide.

The company is now moving onto a definitive feasibility study focused on spodumene concentrate production.

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

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

Editorial Disclosure: Lake Resources, Galan Lithium and Piedmont Lithium are clients of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.

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Lake Resources CEO Stephen Promnitz: Scaling Lithium Supply with $150 Million Series B Funding

Lake Resources Managing Director Stephen Promnitz

Lake Resources (ASX:LKE,OTCQB:LLKKF) Managing Director Stephen Promnitz says Lake Resources has secured robust financing to scale up lithium production in preparation for the electric vehicle revolution.

Lake Resources has recently established a technology and funding partnership with Lilac Solutions, and the latter has announced $150 Million Series B to scale lithium supply for the electric vehicle era.

Lake Resources: Scaling Lithium Supply with $150 Million Series B Funding www.youtube.com

"Lilac Solutions are actually going to work with us and progressively earn into our flagship Kachi project, and then provide $50 million towards the development of that project. So come the end of October, we should have somewhere around $70 to $80 million in the bank, plus this $50 million commitment from Lilac going forward. And then if we have some additional $75 million options in June next year. Essentially, we can now see a pathway to the entire project being financed," Promnitz said.

Lake Resources and Lilac Solutions signed a partnership agreement wherein Lilac is able to achieve an equity stake in the Kachi project with project funding obligations while providing its leading technology to advance the project.

"There's a real deal here, and now value opportunity. But on top of that, we've de-risked it from the debt side and from the equity side. This project is going to happen, and not only that, we're going to be scaling it up to 50,000 tonnes per annum soon after we get into production. That will make us one of the top five producers in the lithium space."

Watch the full interview of Lake Resources Managing Director Stephen Promnitz above.

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map of austria

Austria is already well positioned to seize on the growth of the electric vehicle market and the future of e-mobility

With a history dating back to the Roman Empire, Austria's mining industry is firmly rooted in tradition. This means that in addition to extensive pre-established infrastructure, there is also a great deal of community and government support in the region. Austria's mature environment, strategic location and industry-friendly political climate make it an ideal investment target.

Austria extracts approximately 80 million tonnes of material resources from its mines each year. As of 2020, the sector employed roughly 4,200 people across mining and production. Austria is also the fifth largest producer of magnesite in the world, and a key producer of graphite for the European market.

Austria is noteworthy for having the largest underground tungsten ore deposit in the world, the largest siderite deposits in the world and the largest talcum deposit in Central Europe. It is also the site of a major lithium deposit. However, it's important to note that mining is currently not a major contributor to Austria's annual gross domestic product, representing just $7.1 billion of $371.8 billion in 2016. The country largely relies on imports from trade partners for most metals, as well as for fossil fuels.


Austria remains a highly promising strategic investment for a multitude of reasons.

The outlook for lithium

As electrification and clean energy continue to gain ground in the EU, demand for lithium, one of the core metals involved in electric vehicle production, has increased exponentially. In 2021 alone, lithium prices skyrocketed, rising by nearly 500 percent. It has been estimated that if supply does not increase significantly, an imbalance might hit as early as 2027.

"There's a growing disconnect between available supply and surging demand," explained Ken Brinsden, chief executive of Australian mining company Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS,OTC Pink:PILBF) "There aren’t enough projects that have been invested in the previous years that could come online. The short term response is definitely going to be tight. If only we had three years ago another mine fully funded when prices were low we would be in balance this year."

Because it is home to one of the last remaining graphite mines in the Alps and hosts multiple major automotive manufacturers, Austria is already well positioned to seize on the growth of the electric vehicle market and the future of e-mobility.

What is the current state of mining in Austria?

From a regulatory perspective, the Mineral Resources Act, which governs and regulates Austria's mining sector, is highly favourable for both domestic and foreign investors. This largely comes down to how mineral resources and deposits are classified under the act. Each deposit falls into one of the following two categories.

  • Freehold: All mineral resources listed in the Austrian Mining Law (various metals, crude oil, natural gas, coal, salt, fluorspar, heavy spar and others) are withdrawn from the property owner. The freehold mineral resources have no ownership and are administered by the federal government. Ownership of them can only be acquired through a granting process controlled by the federal government.
  • Freely mineable: The property owner only has the right to mine so-called property-owned mineral resources (for example, sand, gravel, gypsum, clay, roofing slate and others).

Austria's Mineral Resources Act is also noteworthy for the relatively administratively light-handed approach it takes towards exploration and discovery. To search for freehold and freely mineable resources, a business need only notify Austria's mining administration. Exploration and analysis require prospecting permits, while extraction and production require mining authorization.

While there are a few other requirements around waste management, registration and sustainability, they are all relatively straightforward to secure.

Many of Austria's towns and villages have their roots in mining as well. This has served to drive considerable innovation within the mining sector. More importantly, it means that there is no shortage of skilled labor in the region.

European Union: Critical metals and a green future

The EU participates in the European Climate and Energy Framework 2030, a program focused on practical objectives that can move the world towards net neutrality. It highlights how European solutions are needed to efficiently and cost-effectively bring security of supply and climate protection together in the energy transition. Pursuant to the European Green Deal, this continent plans to to become the first climate-neutral continent.

Economic importance and supply risk are the two most important parameters when determining criticality for the EU. The former deals in detail with the attribution of end users of raw materials on the basis of industrial applications. The latter parameter determines the concentration of global production of primary raw materials and supply to the EU at the country level, highlighting major suppliers like Austria. It also considers the governance of the supplying countries, including environmental aspects, the contribution of recycling, substitution, the EU's dependence on imports and trade restrictions in outside countries.

The European Battery Alliance, launched in October 2017 by European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, is meant to ensure that all Europeans benefit from safer traffic, cleaner vehicles and more sustainable technological solutions. The intention is to achieve this through a localised supply chain. The economic upside is clear: the market will have an estimated annual value of up to 250 billion euros by 2025. Lithium is a critical component of this stable, sustainable supply that supports a green economy.
infographic with house and car

Largest producing mines in Austria

In 2016, Austria was home to more than 1,100 mining and quarrying operations, Materials produced by Austria include iron, graphite, salt, tungsten, magnesite, limestone, gypsum, anhydrite, kaolin, talc, leucophyllum, dolomite, quartz sand and oil shale.

Erzberg

The massive Erzberg open-pit iron mine is located in Eisenerz, Styria. Operated by Voestalpine (VIE:VOE), the mine is the site of the largest iron ore deposit in Austria. Located 60 kilometres northwest of Graz and 260 kilometres southwest of Vienna, it produces approximately 2.153 million tonnes of ore a year.

Mittersill

Located 30 kilometres south of Kitzbühel, the Mittersill mine is built atop the largest scheelite deposit in the EU. Also known as the Felbertal mine, MIttersill is a major source of tungsten trioxide, producing an average of 1,200 tonnes of the mineral per year. The mine is owned by Wolfram Bergbau und Hütten, a subsidiary of Swedish multinational engineering firm Sandvik (STO:SAND).

Hallein

Bordering the city of Salzburg, the federally owned Hallein salt mine is one of the oldest active mining sites in the world. Operational for over 7,000 years, the underground mine doubles as a mining museum. In 1829, the mine actually grew large enough that it crossed over the border to neighboring Bavaria, resulting in the Bavarian-Austrian Salt Treaty.

Kaisersberg

The last active graphite mine in the Alps, the Kaisersberg mine, first began production as early as 1755. It is owned by Grafitbergbau Kaisersberg, a privately owned business based out of the town of Kaisersberg. The mine is linked directly to both local and international railway systems for more efficient delivery.

Breitenau

Located in the province of Styria in Central Austria, Breitenau is one of the largest underground magnesite mines in the world, and the largest magnesite operations in Austria. It's owned and operated by Veitsch-Radex, a subsidiary of RHI Magnesita (LSE:RHIM). Veitsch-Radex also owns two other magnesite mines in Gulsen and Millstatteralpe/Radentheim.

Current mining exploration companies in Austria

European Lithium (ASX:EUR)

European Lithium's current project, the wholly owned Wolfsberg project, is located 270 kilometres south of Austria's capital, Vienna. Just east of the industrial town of Wolfsberg, it is comprised of 22 original and 32 overlapping exploration licences and a mining licence covering 11 areas. Situated close to comprehensive existing infrastructure, the project is built atop a foundation of extensive testing, exploration, mining and prefeasibility studies conducted by prior owners.

The current resource is 9.7 million tonnes at 1 percent lithium oxide. This paves the way for a definitive feasibility study slated for Q3 2022. The company believes that the mine has potential for a lifespan of between 12 and 15 years. Based on the prefeasibility alone, the net present value is at AU$862 million, though this is expected to rise to US$1.6 billion upon the new study’s completion. The mine is expected to commence production towards the end of 2024.

Richmond Minerals (TSXV:RMD)

A mineral exploration company that has been heavily engaged in exploration projects throughout Quebec and Ontario, Richmond Minerals recently expanded its focus from Canada to Austria with the Oberzeiring polymetallic project. Comprised of 99 claims near the village of Oberzeiring, the project is located at the site of what was formerly one of the largest silver mines in the Eastern Alps.

Aurex Biomining

Based in Switzerland, Aurex Biomining was the original owner of the Oberzeiring polymetallic project before selling it to Richmond. The company also maintains a gold project of approximately 20 square kilometres near the town of Pusterwald. The company is also pioneering a unique environmentally friendly biomining process.

Takeaway

Austria's mature mining infrastructure, industry-friendly regulatory climate, role in the automotive market and emerging mining projects make the country a strong contender for future investment. As the drive for electrification continues, the region has the potential to play a pivotal role in the development of the EU's lithium supply chain. Initiatives such as European Lithium’s Wolfsberg project have the potential to help immensely in this regard, particularly given Austria's proximity to multiple operating and proposed gigafactories.

This INNSpired article is sponsored by European Lithium (ASX:EUR,FWB:PF8).This INNSpired article provides information which was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by European Lithium in order to help investors learn more about the company. European Lithium is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this INNSpired article.

This INNSpired article was written according to INN editorial standards to educate investors.

INN does not provide investment advice and the information on this profile should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. INN does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company profiled.

The information contained here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities. Readers should conduct their own research for all information publicly available concerning the company. Prior to making any investment decision, it is recommended that readers consult directly with European Lithium and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.

EUR:AU

Ioneer Ltd is pleased to announce that the Company has reached an agreement to establish a joint venture with Sibanye Stillwater Limited to develop the flagship Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project located in Nevada, USA . Under the terms of the agreement, Sibanye-Stillwater will contribute US$490 million for a 50% interest in the Joint Venture, with ioneer to maintain a 50% interest and retain operatorship. ioneer …

Ioneer Ltd (“ioneer” or the “Company”) (ASX: INR) is pleased to announce that the Company has reached an agreement to establish a joint venture (the ” Joint Venture “) with Sibanye Stillwater Limited ( “Sibanye-Stillwater” ) to develop the flagship Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project located in Nevada, USA (the “Project” ). Under the terms of the agreement, Sibanye-Stillwater will contribute US$490 million for a 50% interest in the Joint Venture, with ioneer to maintain a 50% interest and retain operatorship. ioneer has also agreed to provide Sibanye-Stillwater with an option to participate in 50% of the North Basin 1 upon the election of Sibanye-Stillwater to contribute up to an additional US$50 million subject to certain terms and conditions.

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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.

Galaxy Resources Limited advises that the following announcement has been made to the Australian Securities Exchange which appears on the Company’s platform : Merger of Galaxy and Orocobre Implemented The announcement can be viewed at: SOURCE Galaxy Resources Limited View original content

Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX: GXY) ( Company ) advises that the following announcement has been made to the Australian Securities Exchange which appears on the Company’s platform (ASX):

  • Merger of Galaxy and Orocobre Implemented

The announcement can be viewed at:

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Green Technology Metals
Green Technology Metals
Green Technology Metals

Green Technology Metals Limited (ASX: GT1) (GT1 or the Company) is pleased to provide further assay results from the Phase 1 diamond drilling program at its Seymour Lithium Project in Ontario, Canada.


HIGHLIGHTS

  • Assays received for further seven holes from Phase 1 step-out diamond drilling of North Aubry deposit at GT1’s flagship Seymour Lithium Project.
  • Additional thick, high-grade extensional intercepts of North Aubry deposit including:
    • GTDD-22-0001 for 10.5m @ 1.77% Li2O from 123.2m (incl. 7.0m @ 2.11% Li2O)
    • GTDD-22-0013 for 18.2m @ 1.10% Li2O from 304.2m (incl. 3.1m @ 2.05% Li2O)
    • GTDD-22-0014 for 4.5m @ 0.61% Li2O from 250.7m (incl. 2.5m @ 1.01% Li2O)
  • Further northern step-out drilling of North Aubry deposit commenced; hole GTDD-22-0320 intercepts 10.7m of pegmatite with significant visible spodumene (assays pending), extending the known North Aubry pegmatite a further 150m down-dip from the nearest intercept.
  • Results from Phase 1 drilling (assays now returned for all 16 holes) indicate substantial potential upside to existing Seymour Mineral Resource estimate of 4.8 Mt @ 1.25% Li2O 1 .
  • Updated Mineral Resource estimate for Seymour on track for completion during Q2 CY2022.
  • No significant lithium intercepts >1.0% Li20 were returned from initial exploration drilling of the eastern Central Aubry zone (7 holes) and Pye prospect (6 holes).
  • Drilling is targeted to resume from June at both Central Aubry (western) and Pye (targeting LCTtype pegmatites of over 250m strike that were identified in the initial drilling).

“In total, the Phase 1 drilling program at Seymour has been highly successful. The results are expected to drive a substantial increase to the existing Seymour resource this quarter. We are also pleased to have commenced further northern and down-dip extensional drilling of the North Aubry pegmatite so rapidly. The initial result from hole GTDD-22-0320 offers further immediate potential to positively impact on mineralised pegmatite extents and volume.” - GT1 Chief Executive Officer, Luke Cox

Further significant step-out intercepts at North Aubry

The Phase 1 drilling program at Seymour was designed to evaluate potential along-strike and down-dip extensions of the North Aubry deposit that were open and untested. The final program consisted of 16 diamond drill holes for a total of 5,826 metres.

Figure 1: Location map of northern area of the Seymour Project showing North and South Aubry deposits, Central Aubry zone and Pye prospect

All but one hole in the Phase 1 program intersected pegmatite along strike and down dip (refer GT1 ASX release dated 28 April 2022) with the single hole barren of pegmatite, GTDD-22-011, on the southeast flank of the deposit, marking the southerly limit of the North Aubry pegmatites. The intercepts returned from solely the upper pegmatite at North Aubry range in thickness up to 42.7m, with the widest intervals located in the northern extensions of the deposit.

Assays have now been returned for all 16 of the holes drilled in the Phase 1 program.

Significant assay results from the seven further holes that were recently received are detailed in Table 1 (along with details of the previously released intercepts also). The key intercepts were:

  • GTDD-22-0001 for 10.5m @ 1.77% Li2O from 123.2m (incl. 7.0m @ 2.11% Li2O)
  • GTDD-22-0013 for 18.2m @ 1.10% Li2O from 304.2m (incl. 3.1m @ 2.05% Li2O)
  • GTDD-22-0014 for 4.5m @ 0.61% Li2O from 250.7m (incl. 2.5m @ 1.01% Li2O)
  • GTDD-22-0002 for 9.0m @ 0.68% Li2O from 174.0m

Click here for the full ASX Release

This article includes content from Green Technology Metals Limited (ASX: GT1), 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.

GT1:AU
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Marley Clovelly / Pexels

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.

person holding lit light bulb over desk next to ascending stacks of coins

At the recent RIU Resources Round-Up event in Sydney, Harry Fisher of CRU Group shared key factors battery metals investors should keep an eye out for.

After 2021's big price increases for raw materials, all eyes are on what may happen next in the electric vehicle (EV) market ― the main driver of demand for battery metals such as lithium and cobalt.

EV sales had a stellar year in 2020, even as the world suffered through the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 2021 brought strong sales numbers as well.

“EV sales doubled last year alone, and we're expecting them to surpass 10 million this year,” Harry Fisher of CRU Group told the audience at the RIU Resources Round-Up in Sydney last week.


CRU Group is forecasting that EV penetration will reach 20 to 22 percent by 2026 ― that would translate to an additional 17 million in annual sales compared to today.

“Since 2017, we've had more than 50 percent annual growth for EV demand each year, and over the next 20 years EV battery demand will increase by more than 10 times,” Fisher said.

The analyst shared with the audience the main themes he believes will continue to be front and centre in discussions surrounding the battery metals industry.

“We've seen incredible price performance, particularly for lithium, and also for cobalt and nickel, in the last really 18 months, but even more so this year,” Fisher said. “I don't think many of us expected prices to go as high as they have gone, particularly for lithium and nickel.”

Lithium prices have increased north of 400 percent since 2021, with nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange reaching a historical high of more than U$100,000 per tonne earlier this year. These high levels have been hitting EV producers, many of which have increased prices.

“In the last week or so, we've seen that the battery producers' Q1 margins have fallen substantially, so they're really feeling the heat of this, and that is starting to have some tangible effects in the market,” Fisher said.

All in all, CRU is expecting prices to level off the current peak, but to remain strong in the medium term on the back of demand from the EV sector.

Another big theme to keep an eye on is the increasing regionalization of supply chains. Even though EV and battery makers in Europe and North America have made announcements about setting up gigafactories, there has not been a lot of movement in the upstream and the midstream parts of the supply chain.

Around 40 percent of lithium supply comes from South America, with another 45 percent coming from top-producing country Australia. For cobalt, 70 percent of supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo. But all that output ends mostly in China ― which controls over 70 percent of the midstream.

“That's obviously not ideal from a supply security perspective, but it also means the supply chains aren't particularly efficient from a cost perspective,” Fisher said. “Also, from a safety perspective, moving around battery chemicals, precursor batteries — it makes a lot more sense to have the upstream and midstream closer to market.”

With EV demand expected keep soaring, there’s a lot more that needs to be done to strengthen supply chains.

“We need to start seeing more investment to support the EV markets, and to prevent them from relying solely on China and Asia for all of their battery materials,” Fisher said.

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

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