Looking for the top Canadian lithium stocks? These TSX- and TSXV-listed stocks have seen the biggest year-to-date gains so far in 2020.
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Lithium’s popularity has been rising for several years due to the energy storage revolution.
Despite a tough 2019, many market watchers are optimistic about the future of the metal, with the demand narrative getting stronger every day. Lithium stocks had a good start to the year, but many have been under pressure since the coronavirus outbreak.
In Q3, well-known electric vehicle maker Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) put lithium under the spotlight during its Battery Day — a dedicated event around the lithium-ion battery that pointed to raw materials as an essential part of the electric future.
For investors interested in the lithium space, the Investing News Network has created an overview of the top Canadian lithium stocks on the TSX and the top Canadian lithium stocks on the TSXV with year-to-date gains. This list was generated on October 19, 2020, using TradingView. Only companies with market caps above C$10 million are included.
1. American Lithium (TSXV:LI)
Current price: C$1.23; year-to-date gain: 884 percent
Nevada-focused American Lithium is engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of lithium projects. The company currently holds the Tonopah Lithium Claims project in Nevada. Aside from its lithium interest in Nevada, American Lithium is also exploring the Extinction Ridge vanadium project.
Samples from the company’s 2019 drill program assayed up to 2,285 parts per million (ppm) lithium, with numerous samples over 1,000 ppm lithium. A 2020 drill program started in February. During Q2, the company released positive results, and kicked off its second phase of drilling in June. The company released a statement on its recent trading activity on July 8.
The third quarter of the year was also busy for American Lithium. In August, the company released the results of a draft baseline biological survey; it shows that no species or habitat protected under the Endangered Species Act are present within its project area. In September, American Lithium produced lithium carbonate from its flagship Tonopah Lithium Claims claystone deposit and completed a water rights and land position acquisition.
2. Lithium Americas (TSX:LAC)
Current price: C$17.82; year-to-date gain: 328.37 percent
Lithium Americas, together with Chinese top lithium producer Ganfeng Lithium (OTC Pink:GNENF,HKEX:1772,SZSE:002460), is developing the Caucharí-Olaroz project, located in Jujuy, Argentina. Production from the project was expected in early 2021, with output capacity estimated at 40,000 tonnes per year, but plans are being revised as the coronavirus impact continues to be assessed.
On March 19, construction activities at Caucharí-Olaroz were temporarily suspended immediately following the declaration in Argentina of a country-wide mandatory quarantine in response to COVID-19. Limited activities resumed mid-April, but the company had to activate its coronavirus protocol on July 6 after workers at the site tested positive.
In addition to Cauchari-Olaroz, Lithium Americas owns 100 percent of the Thacker Pass lithium claystone project in Nevada. With an initial Phase 1 capital cost of US$581 million, the project will have an annual production capacity of 60,000 tonnes per year. In Q3, the company released a draft environmental impact statement for the project.
All eyes turned to Thacker Pass after Tesla’s Battery Day, when CEO Elon Musk said his company had found a way to process lithium from clay using table salt and water, and had purchased land in Nevada to source lithium for its batteries.
3. Pure Energy Minerals (TSXV:PE)
Current price: C$0.15; year-to-date gain: 275
Pure Energy Minerals is a lithium developer focused on its Clayton Valley project in the Clayton Valley of Central Nevada. In 2017, Pure Energy completed a preliminary economic assessment for the Clayton Valley project, which includes an updated resource calculation and a preliminary economic evaluation.
In May, the company started drilling at its asset, giving an update on July 28. Its next activities include the collection of preliminary bulk lithium brine samples for chemical analysis and testing by the company’s partner, Schlumberger Technologies. In October, Pure Energy Minerals reported results from well CV-9.
4. Quantum Minerals (TSXV:QMC)
Current price: C$0.21; year-to-date gain: 242.86 percent
Junior exploration company Quantum Minerals is focused on properties in Manitoba, and its flagship asset is the Irgon lithium property in the province. Irgon is a historic rare metals deposit where developmental work was undertaken by Lithium Corporation of Canada. Quantum Minerals is currently completing its own exploration at the property.
The only news related to its lithium asset came in April, when the company said it was in discussions with Sinomine Group to process spodumene material from Irgon at the TANCO plant. Processing of material at the TANCO plant would eliminate the requirement for a concentrator, according to Quantum Minerals.
5. Cypress Development (TSXV:CYP)
Current price: C$0.51; year-to-date gain: 168.42 percent
Exploration company Cypress Development is focused on developing its 100 percent owned Clayton Valley lithium project in Nevada. The asset is located immediately east of Albemarle’s (NYSE:ALB) Silver Peak mine, which has been in continuous operation since 1966.
On May 19, Cypress Development released a prefeasibility study for Clayton Valley. The study estimates an average production rate of 15,000 tonnes per day to produce 27,400 tonnes lithium carbonate equivalent annually over a more than 40 year mine life. On July 2, the company released assay results and in August it updated its project’s mineral resource by 55 percent.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.