Last year was a breakout period for many battery metals due to the ever-strengthening electric vehicle market. Although in many cases prices have cooled from those peaks, the sector is still going strong.
Only stocks with market caps above C$10 million are included. All data was obtained via TradingView’s stock screener on July 25, 2023, for cobalt and graphite, and August 1, 2023, for lithium and nickel. Read on to learn more about the top battery metals stocks so far this year.
1. Solis Minerals (TSXV:SLMN)
Year-to-date gain: 387.5 percent; market cap: C$21.77 million; current share price: C$0.39
Solis Minerals is an exploration company focused on battery metals properties in South America. It has a portfolio that includes the Borborema lithium project in Northeast Brazil and copper projects covering a combined 32,400 hectares in Southwest Peru.
On May 29, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada, which oversees trading on Canadian exchanges, suspended trading for Solis pending upcoming news. The company’s closing share price before that was C$0.11. Two days later, Solis Minerals entered into a binding option agreement to acquire a 100 percent interest in the Jaguar hard-rock lithium project in Northeast Brazil, which has confirmed spodumene grades of up to 4.95 percent in oxidized pegmatite.
However, trading didn’t open until June 8, when Solis announced it had received commitments totaling AU$8.16 million for a placement that will be used to, among other things, fund drilling at both its lithium projects and complete the fees for the Jaguar acquisition. Following that announcement, trading resumed and the company’s share price shot up to C$0.65. The first tranche of the placement, totaling AU$3,050,000, was closed on June 19.
2. Q2 Metals (TSXV:QTWO)
Year-to-date gain: 222.97 percent; market cap: C$63.15 million; current share price: C$0.80
Q2 Metals is an exploration company focused on advancing its Mia lithium property in James Bay, Quebec. It also has the Stellar lithium property north of Mia, which it acquired in March, as well as the Big Hill and Titan gold projects in Queensland, Australia.
Q2’s share price began climbing early in the year after the January 23 appointment of Neil McCallum as a director and the company’s vice president of exploration. In 2016, McCallum identified and staked Patriot Battery Metals’ (TSXV:PMET,OTCQX:PMETF) Corvette lithium property, which is also in the James Bay region. Two days later, the company commenced a C$10 million private placement financing. The company’s share price climbed during the following weeks to hit a Q1 high of C$1.05 on February 6.
Q2 commenced its 2023 exploration at the Mia project in early April, and the company completed Phase 1 — induced polarity and resistivity surveying — on April 26. On May 31, Q2 began Phase 2, which will consist of ground mapping and sampling; the company’s share price hit a year-to-date peak of C$1.07 that day.
While the company had to shut down work in early June due to spreading wildfires in Quebec, on June 29 it shared an update with results from completed exploration work. Once work can begin again, Q2 intends to begin drilling at the Mia zone immediately alongside other Phase 2 activities.
3. Patriot Battery Metals (TSXV:PMET)
Year-to-date gain: 126.24 percent; market cap: C$1.33 billion; current share price: C$15.00
Patriot Battery Metals is an exploration and development company that is working on advancing its Corvette lithium property, which hosts the CV5 lithium pegmatite target, in Quebec’s James Bay region.
The company’s winter 2023 drill program, which concluded on April 17, focused on extending the CV5 pegmatite at Corvette. After climbing through January following high-grade assays from 2022 exploration, Patriot hit a Q1 high of C$17.17 on February 6 when it announced that holes from its 2023 drill campaign extended the CV5 pegmatite by at least 400 meters to 2.6 kilometers. As of May 1, a series of further results from the campaign had extended it to at least 3.7 kilometers.
In late May, Patriot began its summer/fall exploration work, which will include drilling and surface exploration, and is aimed at further delineating the CV5 and C13 pegmatites and testing other pegmatite clusters. However, like Q2 Metals, Patriot had to cease exploration in early June due to the wildfires in Quebec, and exploration remained on hold until June 14. The company’s share price hit a year-to-date high of C$17.53 on June 16 after climbing throughout the Q2 period.
On July 4, Patriot shared that heavy liquid separation testing on core samples from CV13 indicate that a dense media separation process can be used for the pegmatite body. The testing returned spodumene concentrate grades of 6 percent and up with lithium recoveries over 70 percent. The company saw similar results for its CV5 pegmatite in February, and it believes this means material from both can be jointly processed. Patriot’s final assays from the winter exploration program were released on July 10.
On July 30, the company released its initial resource estimate for CV5, which includes all drill holes from the winter program. According to the press release, the estimate “firmly established (CV5) as the largest lithium pegmatite mineral resource in the Americas and the 8th largest globally,” with an inferred resource of 109.2 million MT at 1.42 percent lithium oxide. The CV5 pegmatite is still open along strike, and the resource does not include other pegmatites at Corvette.
The next day, Patriot announced that Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) is investing in Patriot at a price per share of C$15.29 for approximately C$109 million total, much of which will be used to accelerate development of Corvette.
1. DLP Resources (TSXV:DLP)
Year-to-date gain: 213.04 percent; market cap: C$49.78 million; current share price: C$0.72
Exploration company DLP Resources is focused on base metals and cobalt projects in Southeast BC, with a portfolio of properties that includes the Aldridge 1 and 2 groups, the Hungry Creek copper-cobalt-silver project, the Copper Creek copper-cobalt project and the Redburn Creek copper-cobalt project. The company also has the Aurora porphyry copper-molybdenum project in Peru.
In February, DLP shared an exploration update, which included results from 2022 exploration at its Hungry Creek and Copper Creek projects. The company also announced the beginning of its 2023 exploration at Aurora.
DLP’s share price jumped significantly to C$0.40 on March 22, the day before the company announced a non-brokered private placement to raise gross proceeds of C$1,500,000. DLP upsized the placement to C$1,712,500 on March 24, and ultimately closed it on April 6 at that amount. The company intends to use the funds for various exploration campaigns at its BC projects.
DLP continued its upward momentum in May, during which time it released results for its fourth drill hole at Aurora. After cooling in June, DLP jumped from C$0.51 to C$0.71 on July 10, despite the fact that it hadn’t released any news during the month. On July 24, the company shared further drill results from Aurora; the update led DLP’s share price to hit C$0.72, its highest level ever, on July 25.
2. Horizonte Minerals (TSX:HZM)
Year-to-date gain: 16.18 percent; market cap: C$751.69 million; current share price: C$2.80
Horizonte Minerals is a nickel and cobalt company focused on developing its wholly owned Araguaia nickel project and Vermelho nickel-cobalt project, both of which are in Brazil’s Pará state. Vermelho, which is currently at the feasibility stage, is anticipated to produce 1,250 MT of cobalt on top of its projected 24,000 MT of nickel production.
In late January, Horizonte submitted its environmental and social impact assessment for Vermelho to the Pará State Secretariat for Environment and Sustainability. The company says it is targeting the first half of 2024 for when the submissions will be approved by the entity. Horizonte’s share price jumped from C$2.18 to C$2.60 in the week following the news.
On July 6, the company received a mining approval permit from the Brazilian regulator for its Araguaia nickel project. This will allow the company to “mine, stockpile, and categorise ore, optimising the consistency of the feedstock.” It plans to carry out stockpiling over the next six months to establish enough ore to feed its plant for the six months following that process.
The news pushed Horizonte upward in July, and it ultimately reached a year-to-date high of C$2.88 on July 17.
3. FPX Nickel (TSXV:FPX)
Year-to-date gain: 15.91 percent; market cap: C$139.68 million; current share price: C$0.51
FPX Nickel is a nickel company developing its flagship Decar Nickel District in BC. The property is host to four targets, including the Baptiste deposit and the Van target, the former of which is the company’s primary target. The company also has 100 percent ownership of three other nickel projects in BC and one in Canada’s Yukon. While FPX is primarily a nickel company, it intends to produce cobalt as a by-product of future nickel mining at Baptiste.
On May 17, the company completed hydrometallurgical testwork on Baptiste’s awaruite nickel concentrate using a two stage process with a cobalt solvent and a nickel solvent. The results show that the leach solution was able to extract over 99 percent of both the cobalt and the nickel, and the process can be used to make cobalt hydroxide and cobalt sulfide precipitates grading 40 percent and 39 percent cobalt.
“The results of our hydrometallurgical testwork program clearly demonstrate the technical advantages of awaruite nickel mineralization to produce battery-grade nickel sulphate, presenting an opportunity to develop a new vertically integrated nickel supply chain in Canada,” said Andrew Osterloh, FPX Nickel’s senior vice president of projects and operations.
FPX’s share price spiked on May 30 on news that global stainless steel company Outokumpu (OMXHEX:OUT1V) would be investing C$16.08 million in FPX through a private placement financing, resulting in the steel giant owning 9.9 percent of the company. For as long as Outokumpu holds the shares, the deal gives it the right to negotiate one or more offtake agreements for nickel from Baptiste up to a total of 60,000 MT, or 7,500 MT per year for eight years.
The company’s share price moved from C$0.43 on May 29 to C$0.58 by June 5 — a year-to-date high.
FPX’s most recent news came on June 27, when the company announced the completion of all testwork for its upcoming prefeasibility study, which it expects to release in September.
1. Mason Graphite (TSXV:LLG)
Year-to-date gain: 50 percent; market cap: C$34.62 million; current share price: C$0.225
Mason Graphite is working to “develop vertical and horizontal integration in the mining industry,’ and its main focus is battery materials and their by-products. Mason owns the Lac Guéret deposit, which it says is one of the world’s richest graphite deposits.
Mason is developing the Uatnan project located in the Lac Guéret deposit in collaboration with Nouveau Monde Graphite (TSXV:NOU,NYSE:NMG). The latter company has the option to acquire a 51 percent co-ownership interest in Lac Guéret, which, if exercised, would form a joint venture between the two companies for exploration, development and mining at the property. Under the agreement, production from Uatnan would use Nouveau Monde’s Phase 1 natural graphite flake concentrator plant.
Mason Graphite’s share price shot up at the beginning of the year after the company released a preliminary economic assessment for the Uatnan project, rising from C$0.22 overnight to a year-to-date high of C$0.42 by January 19. The document, which the company filed in March, shows annual graphite concentrate production of 500,000 metric tons (MT) over a 24 year life of mine.
The company’s most recent release came on March 27, when Mason shared news from its 41 percent owned graphene company, Black Swan Graphene (TSXV:SWAN,OTCQB:BSWGF), which it spun out last year. While the company’s share price hasn’t reached its Q1 highs, it’s still up significantly year-to-date from its start of C$0.15.
2. Graphite One (TSXV:GPH)
Year-to-date gain: 47.52 percent; market cap: C$188.71 million; current share price: C$1.49
Graphite One aims to be a graphite anode producer at its Graphite One project, which would be fed using material from the company’s Graphite Creek project in Alaska, US. In late April, Graphite One received sample graphite anodes created from its graphite, and said it has sent the resultant product for evaluation by a leading electric vehicle maker.
Earlier in the year, February drill results from 2022 exploration at Graphite Creek showed the expansion of mineralization with significant graphite grades. The company’s share price hit a year-to-date high of C$1.93 on March 7, days before it announced that the US Geological Survey’s report on the project reflects its own discoveries. According to the report, “(Graphite Creek) is the largest known flake graphite resource in the USA and is among the largest in the world.” Ultimately, the company announced, its 2022 exploration increased its resource by 15.5 percent in the measured and indicated categories to 37.6 million MT at 5.41 percent contained graphite.
While it is primarily targeting the battery and energy storage industries, in June, Graphite One announced a teaming agreement with Vorbeck Materials, which specializes in advanced graphite and graphene applications. Under the deal, Vorbeck will use Graphite One’s material in the commercial and defense sectors. That same month, Graphite One bought back a 1 percent net smelter production royalty for Graphite Creek, leaving two outstanding for the property.
While the company’s share price largely trended downward in Q2, it bounced back following a speech by US Senator Lisa Murkowski, who represents Alaska and is a member of the Senate Energy and National Resources Committee, to the US Senate on July 11. “… After my site visit there on Saturday, I’m convinced that this is a project that every one of us, those of us here in the Congress, the Biden Administration, all of us needs to support,” she said, and detailed the company’s plans to build a full domestic supply chain.
A week later, Graphite One was awarded a US$37.5 million Department of Defense Technology Investment Agreement grant as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. The news brought the company’s share price up to C$1.57.
3. SRG Mining (TSXV:SRG)
Year-to-date gain: 14.93 percent; market cap: C$91.06 million; current share price: C$0.77
SRG Mining is developing its Lola graphite project in Guinea. The company’s goal is to support Europe’s lithium-ion battery and fuel cell markets by becoming a fully integrated battery anode material producer. In April, SRG filed an updated feasibility study for Lola, which includes annual production of 94,000 MT of flake graphite in concentrate and a 17 year mine life.
After being rangebound between C$0.54 and C$0.67 throughout the first five months of the year, the company’s share price shot upward at the beginning of June, although no news accompanied the movement. SRG’s first news since April came on June 16, when it shared director election results from its annual general meeting. The company’s share price climbed to a year-to-date high of C$0.89 on June 26, and it again hit and then stayed at that level between June 30 and July 11.
July 10 brought news of a cooperation agreement between SRG and anode material producer Carbon ONE New Energy Group. Carbon ONE is acquiring a 19.4 percent stake in SRG at a price of C$0.60 per share for a total of C$16.9 million in proceeds. SRG will use the funds to advance Lola and accelerate development of an anode material plant that will have access to either the European Union or North American markets — potentially both.
“The investment allows SRG to benefit from C-ONE’s extensive technical experience and globally recognized brand to position SRG as a fully integrated producer of battery anode material,” SRG President and CEO Matthieu Bos said in a release.
1. Sama Resources (TSXV:SME)
Year-to-date gain: 38.46 percent; market cap: C$40.66 million; current share price: C$0.18
Sama Resources’ focus is on its Samapleu and Grata project in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa. The asset, which is made up of two adjoining deposits, is host to nickel, copper, cobalt and platinum-group metals (PGMs) mineralization.
The company’s wholly owned subsidiary SRQ Resources has a portfolio of six properties composed of 525 exploration claims in Quebec, Canada, with its primary project being the Lac Brulé nickel-copper-PGMs project. Sama is currently in the process of spinning out SRQ, and Sama’s shareholders will receive shares of SRQ once it begins trading.
The company’s share price started climbing in February, moving from C$0.11 on February 6 to C$0.17 on February 24 following the release of drill results from Grata on February 7; according to Sama, they “confirm mineralisation on strike and down dip within the Grata prospect within the newly discovered ultramafic feeder.” One highlight interval from the drilling was 3.45 meters grading 0.63 percent nickel, 2.96 percent copper and 0.78 grams per MT (g/t) palladium within 193 meters grading 0.26 percent nickel, 0.21 percent copper and 0.37 g/t palladium.
While it fell back down, Sama’s share price began to climb again in late April, ultimately reaching its year-to-date high of C$0.19 on May 26, the day after the company announced the spinout of SRQ. Its most recent news on the subject came on July 21, when Sama received a final order approving the plan from the Quebec Superior Court of Justice. The company is still waiting on approval from the TSXV.
With regards to its project, at the end of June, Sama released an updated mineral resource estimate for the combined Samapleu and Grata deposits. The vast majority of the resource falls into the inferred category, which now totals 101.9 million MT at 0.25 percent nickel and 0.23 percent copper for 25,337 MT of nickel and 23,895 MT of copper. The report also details the cobalt, palladium and platinum resources at the project.
2. Power Nickel (TSXV:PNPN)
Year-to-date gain: 20.51 percent; market cap: C$27.03 million; current share price: C$0.235
Power Nickel’s goal is to meet the needs of the battery supply chain by setting itself up to supply high-grade nickel from its flagship Nisk project in Quebec, which it says is being developed into “one of the greenest sources of class-1 nickel in history.” The project, which is under option from Critical Elements Lithium (TSXV:CRE,OTCQX:CRECF), also holds copper, cobalt, palladium and platinum mineralization.
Power Nickel’s share price rocketed up early in the year on January 31, when the company partnered with Fleet Space Technologies, an Australian microsatellite operator and developer. According to a release, Fleet Space’s ExoSphere sound-mapping technology will generate data that can be used to create a full 3D image of the subsurface to a depth of 2 kilometers, giving Power Nickel a “clear, rich image of what resources may be below ground” with a turnaround of as short as four days. The company plans to use this data to increase its drilling accuracy and potentially find new deposits.
Power Nickel’s share price reached a year-to-date high of C$0.36 on February 21 after climbing through the previous weeks, although it cooled in March and April.
The company shared plenty of exploration news in Q2. On April 27, the company released the remaining assays from its 2022 drilling and the first assays from its winter 2023 program, noting that step-out holes at Nisk showed indications of a new mineralized zone. In mid-May, the company discovered a new high-grade copper-PGMs zone at Nisk, which it dubbed Wildcat; the news coincided with a Q2 share price peak of C$0.31.
In terms of nickel news, the end of May saw new drill results, including a highlight of 14.4 meters grading 1.01 percent nickel, including 7.8 meters grading 1.69 percent nickel. On June 15, Power Nickel stated alongside further results that the next steps for the project include deploying the aforementioned sound-mapping technology, readying the next stage of drilling and publishing Nisk’s inaugural mineral resource estimate.
More recently, on July 20, Power Nickel announced plans to spin out its non-core assets into the new entity Consolidated Gold and Copper to allow it to focus fully on Nisk. At the end of the month, Power Nickel exercised its option to acquire 50 percent of the Nisk project, and shared that it intends to acquire an additional 30 percent through its second option. It will be able to do so following the release of the mineral resource estimate.
3. FPX Nickel (TSXV:FPX)
Year-to-date gain: 15.91 percent; market cap: C$142.42 million; current share price: C$0.51
For information on what has affected FPX Nickel so far this year, see its entry under cobalt above.
Securities Disclosure: I, Lauren Kelly, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.