The top lithium stocks by share price performance on US, Canadian and Australian exchanges have already made year-to-date moves.
Editor's note — This article was originally focused on the top Canadian lithium stocks, but has been expanded to cover the top lithium stocks globally. Click here to read about the top Canadian lithium stocks.
You can also click here to read the previous top lithium stocks article.
Lithium prices hit an all-time high in 2021 and continued that trend into 2022. Although prices have cooled slightly from their peak in March, they're still sitting near historic levels.
In fact, although the electric vehicle narrative remains strong, high prices for lithium and other battery metals have caused concerns over the affordability of these cars as manufacturers take on extra costs.
Here the Investing News Network takes a look at the top lithium stocks with year-to-date gains. The list below was generated using TradingView’s
stock screener on May 18, 2022, for Canadian and US companies, and on May 19, 2022, for Australian companies. It includes companies listed on the NYSE, NASDAQ, TSX, TSXV and ASX; all top lithium stocks had market caps above $10 million when data was gathered.
1. SQM (NYSE:SQM)
Year-to-date gain: 77.82 percent; market capitalization: US$25.07 billion; current share price: US$90.21
SQM is one of the world’s largest lithium companies. It produces lithium out of Chile’s Salar de Atacama and brings it to the market in the form of lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide.
SQM is developing the hard-rock Mount Holland lithium project in Australia through a joint venture with Wesfarmers (ASX:WES,OTC Pink:WFAFF). The company places a heavy emphasis on the sustainability of its operations, including a production process that involves 97.4 percent solar energy.
On March 2, SQM released its 2021 earnings report, including net income of US$585.5 million compared to US$164.5 million for 2020. April 26 brought its annual general shareholders meeting, for which it released its resolutions. SQM's share price spiked in May, hitting a year-to-date high of US$90.21 on May 18, the same day the company announced both its Q1 earnings report and the approval of an interim dividend payment.
2. Sigma Lithium (NASDAQ:SGML)
Year-to-date gain: 31.22 percent; current share price: US$13.87
In Minas Gerais, Brazil, dual-listed Sigma Lithium has its Grota do Cirilo hard-rock lithium project, which has been in production at a pilot scale since 2018. Sigma expects Phase I production of 220,000 MT annually.
The company’s goal is to become “one of the world’s largest, lowest-cost producers of high-purity, environmentally sustainable lithium products.” Sigma is building its greentech dense media separation production plant, which will make its operations vertically integrated. It was recently recognized by the Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) as part of its “Top 50 Stocks for 10 Scarcity Themes.” In late March, the firm announced environmental, social and government steps it would be taking, including donating 7,000 food baskets to the region it operates in.
Sigma went on to release its 2021 annual results alongside an update on the construction of its Phase 1 production plant, which is on schedule. Most recently, the company updated its feasibility study with a potential production capacity increase to 450,000 MT per year. Its share price hit what was then year-to-date high of C$22.18 on April 7, and although no exploration news has been shared since then, it hit a fresh 2022 high on May 4 of C$22.21. Shares have fallen off since then, although Sigma is still up since the beginning of the year.
3. Livent (NYSE:LTHM)
Year-to-date gain: 6.47 percent; market capitalization: US$4.4 billion; current share price: US$27.17
Livent is a global lithium producer with manufacturing facilities in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. The company creates lithium products that serve markets such as energy storage and battery systems, along with polymers, aerospace and pharmaceuticals.
Livent’s performance has been erratic this year, with many peaks and valleys. It has spent much of the year under its 2022 starting price of US$25.42, not breaking above it until April, when many lithium companies were seeing big gains off the back of strong lithium prices. Although shares dropped close to the US$20 mark in late April, two pieces of news — Livent’s doubling of its ownership in Nemaska Lithium, bringing it to 50 percent, and its Q1 results — spurred a jump from US$21.37 on May 2 to a year-to-date high of US$28.55 on May 4. The company's Q1 results show revenue increases of 17 percent quarter-on-quarter and 56 percent year-on-year.
1. Frontier Lithium (TSXV:FL)
Year-to-date gain: 73.89 percent; market capitalization: C$762.48 million; current share price: C$3.53
Frontier Lithium’s goal is to become a manufacturer of battery-quality lithium salts for the electric vehicle and lithium-ion battery markets. According to the company, its PAK lithium project “contains one of North America’s highest-grade, large-tonnage hard-rock lithium resources in the form of a rare low-iron spodumene.” The project, which is being actively developed by Frontier, is located in Ontario’s Electric Avenue.
Frontier’s news in 2022 has focused on exploration at PAK’s Spark deposit, where on March 1 it announced an updated indicated resource of 14 million MT averaging 1.4 percent lithium oxide and an inferred resource of 18 million MT averaging 1.37 percent lithium oxide. Later that month, the company completed a mineral processing pilot plant campaign. Since then, Frontier has added CFO Tony Zheng to its leadership team.
Most recently, Frontier released its 2022 exploration plans, which will continue to focus on the Spark deposit. The company’s share price hit a year-to-date high of C$3.84 two days later on May 4.
2. Lithium Energi Exploration (TSXV:LEXI)
Year-to-date gain: 72.73 percent; market capitalization: C$18.91 million; current share price: C$0.285
Lithium Energi Exploration is an acquisition, exploration and development company working in South America’s Lithium Triangle, with over 72,000 hectares of lithium brine concessions in Argentina’s section of the triangle.
In January, the company announced that exploration and development with its joint venture partner Global Oil Management Group was accelerating. The name of the new joint venture is Triangle Lithium Argentina. On March 24, the company shared that, alongside its new joint venture Triangle Lithium Argentina, it had commenced exploration drilling in the Antofalla basin. This news caused its share price to shoot up over the following weeks, moving from C$0.21 on March 24 to a year-to-date high of C$0.35 by April 11. The company hasn’t released news since then, and its share price has fallen since that high.
3. Sigma Lithium (TSXV:SGML)
Year-to-date gain: 38.69 percent; market capitalization: C$1.88 billion current share price: C$18.03Sigma Lithium is a dual-listed lithium company operating in Minas Gerais, Brazil. See its entry in the US stocks section above for more information about the company.
1. Core Lithium (ASX:CXO)
Year-to-date gain: 110.17 percent; market capitalization: AU$2.26 billion current share price: AU$1.24
According to Core Lithium, its Finniss lithium project in the Northern Territory is “one of Australia’s most capital-efficient and lowest-cost spodumene lithium projects.” First production is expected in the fourth quarter of 2022, and the company already has multiple four year offtake agreements in place with Ganfeng Lithium (SZSE:002460) and Sichuan Yahua Industrial Group (SZSE:002497).
On March 1, Core Lithium announced a four year offtake arrangement with Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) for up to 110,000 tonnes of lithium oxide spodumene concentrate from Finniss. A week later, the company shared results from a diamond drill program at its Carlton project, which is returning high-grade, spodumene-rich intersections. That news, coupled with the release of its half-year report the following day, led to a small share price spike for Core.
Shares saw a bigger spike at the beginning of April following the release of an update on exploration at its Finniss project, and Core hit a year-to-date high of AU$1.60 on April 4. A week later, the company announced that it was acquiring the Shoobridge lithium project near Finniss. In May, Core shared its final 2021 lithium assays, which include a highlight of 35 meters of 0.84 percent Li2O, including 10 meters at 1.44 percent. Most recently, the company released an update of its development of the Finniss project.
2. Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA)
Year-to-date gain: 107.69 percent; market capitalization: AU$2.12 billion; current share price: AU$0.27
Sayona Mining is a lithium producer working in Canada and Australia. Alongside Piedmont Lithium (ASX:PLL,NASDAQ:PLL), its strategic partner, the company has acquired North American Lithium, which had a pre-existing lithium mine and concentrator in Quebec, Canada. Sayona has two assets near those, the Authier and Tansim lithium projects, and it intends to create a Quebec lithium hub to feed the battery supply chain. In Western Australia’s Pilbara region, the company has further lithium projects, and it is exploring for gold.
On March 17, the company shared its latest half-year report, including updates on its work during the latter half of 2021. Its share price began increasing after this news, and spent the back half of March moving upwards. Sayona's share price shot up further on April 4 on news that testing of lithium spodumene product from the Authier project had shown that it “performs as well as commercially available battery-grade lithium hydroxide.”
Most recently, in late April, the company announced the discovery of the aforementioned lithium pegmatite zone at the Moblan project, news that Piedmont also shared. Though the company’s share price fell following its April 19 year-to-date high of AU$0.38, it has begun to climb again following a valley that dropped to AU$0.22 on May 12.
3. Global Lithium (ASX:GL1)
Year-to-date gain: 77.89 percent; market capitalization: AU$353.99 million; current share price: AU$1.69
Exploration company Global Lithium is focused on its 100 percent owned Marble Bar lithium project, which is located in Western Australia’s North Pilbara Craton. The project’s Archer deposit has been the primary exploration target; the company is planning a 60,000 meter reverse-circulation drilling program for Q1 of this year. Global Lithium acquired an 80 percent interest in the Manna lithium project from Breaker Resources (ASX:BRB) in December 2021. The two companies plan to work together on exploration at the project in 2022.
On March 3, Global Lithium signed a 10 year offtake deal for spodumene concentrate with Suzhou TA&A Ultra Clean Technology (SZSE:300309), its largest shareholder. Suzhou TA&A intends to help with construction funding as well. In mid-March, the company released its financial report for the half year ended December 31, 2021. A week later, it provided an exploration update on its Marble Bar and Manna lithium projects. The company’s share price rose following the financial report’s release, and hit a year-to-date high of AU$2.73 on April 4.
Global Lithium’s share price has trended downwards since this peak, during which time the company announced significant high-grade lithium assays at Marble Bar, including a highlight of 3 meters with 2.5 percent Li2O. On May 19, the company mobilized a contractor to begin drilling at the Manna project; this should commence next week.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Lauren Kelly, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
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