Lithium

Top 9 Lithium Stocks

Lithium Investing
cylinder with glowing end labeled "lithium-ion"
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As the year nears its end, the top lithium stocks by share price performance on US, Canadian and Australian exchanges are up significantly year-to-date.

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.

Lithium broke its 2021 highs in 2022, rising to new levels. Although prices cooled slightly in the middle of the year, they climbed significantly at the end of Q3 and into Q4, slowing down slightly to end the year.

The Investing News Network recently spoke with experts about the trends that affected lithium in 2022, and one key concern that is steadily driving prices is the lack of supply compared to looming demand potential.

Companies around the world are working to answer that concern. In Australia, the year saw many companies on the ASX pivot to lithium, either tapping lithium potential in their pre-existing properties or acquiring new ones. As for the US, the Biden administration recently announced US$2.8 billion in grants for battery metals companies in the US.


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 December 14, 2022, for Canadian and US companies, and December 22, 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. Sigma Lithium (NASDAQ:SGML)

Year-to-date gain: 198.77 percent; market cap: US$3.28 billion; current share price: US$31.70

In Minas Gerais, Brazil, Sigma Lithium has its Grota do Cirilo hard-rock lithium project, where it is currently constructing Phase 1 operations with expected commissioning by the end of the 2022 year. Sigma anticipates Phase 1 production of 270,000 metric tons (MT) annually and Phase 2 production of 531,000 MT. In addition to that, the company is building a greentech dense media separation production plant, which it says will make its operations vertically integrated.

On May 26, Sigma filed a consolidated technical report that looks at two initial production phases for Grota do Cirilo. The integrated operation would source feedstock spodumene ore from the company's Phase 1 and Phase 2 lithium deposits to produce battery-grade, high-purity lithium concentrate. This expansion scenario "will potentially position (Sigma) as the world’s fourth largest lithium producer." In mid-August, Sigma shared an update on its “transformative” Q2, mentioning the previously announced news that it had increased the resource at Grota do Cirilo by 50 percent; a Phase 3 technical report has now been filed. Its share price continued to grow throughout the year, reaching a year-to-date high of US$37.46 on October 27 after starting the year at US$10.57.

Midway through November, Sigma released a Q3 update, providing further information on its many construction activities and the commencement of spodumene ore mining that month. Most recently, December 8 saw the announcement of expansion and financing milestones — according to Sigma, it has received positive economic results from a study focused on the potential to boost output at Grota do Cirilo from 270,000 MT in 2023 to 768,000 MT in the operation's second year.

2. SQM (NYSE:SQM)

Year-to-date gain: 75.83 percent; market cap: US$25.53 billion; current share price: US$89.97

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, with 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. SQM's share price spiked in May and continued to rise through late May, reaching what was then a year-to-date high of US$113.33. On August 17, SQM shared its Q2 and H1 earnings for this year. In H1, the company saw US$1.66 billion in net income, which was an increase of 940 percent over its net income of US$157.8 million in H1 2021.

In September, SQM celebrated 25 years of lithium production in Chile, and reflected on its path to that point; it also shared its vision for the Salar Futuro project, which is focused on increasing the sustainability of extraction from the Salar de Atacama. Options being looked at include advanced evaporation technologies and direct lithium extraction. On September 14, the company’s share price hit a fresh high of US$133.52. In its Q3 results, released in mid-November, SQM reported US$1.1 billion in net income for the quarter, and US$1.63 billion in gross profit. Most recently, SQM announced an interim dividend of US$3.08 per share.

3. Albemarle (NYSE:ALB)

Year-to-date gain: 4.7 percent; market cap: US$29.04 billion; current share price: US$247.86

Albemarle is a lithium giant that produces lithium, bromine and catalyst solutions at operations around the world. It has a 49 percent interest in the company whose subsidiary, Talison Lithium, owns and runs the Greenbushes mine, as well as a 60 percent interest in Mineral Resources' (ASX:MIN,OTC Pink:MALRF) Wodgina mine. Both of these are hard-rock lithium mines in Western Australia. The company runs the Silver Peak lithium mine in Nevada, which it calls the only producing lithium mine in North America; it also creates high-quality lithium products. Its most significant lithium operations are at Chile’s Salar de Atacama.

On June 13, Albemarle inaugurated its third chemical conversion plant in Chile, which it said should double its lithium production, as well as lower water consumption by 30 percent per MT. At the end of August, Albemarle shared plans to create two global business units, one of which will focus on lithium. The company expects the units to be active as of January 1, 2023.

Albemarle received US$150 million on October 19 to help fund a commercial-scale lithium concentrator facility in North Carolina; the money came as part of the new US battery supply chain grant program. A week later, the company acquired Guangxi Tianyuan New Energy Materials, which owns a lithium conversion facility that can convert 25,000 MT of lithium carbonate equivalent per year.

News continued for the company, which shared its third quarter results, including a gain of 318 percent in net lithium sales over 2021. On November 9, the company announced it was investing up to US$540 million into its bromine operations in Arkansas, US. The news drove its share price significantly, bringing it to a year-to-date high of US$325.38 on November 11. Days later, the company announced it had hired Sean O’Hollaren as chief external affairs officer.

Albemarle announced on December 13 that it will establish the Albemarle Technology Park in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has acquired a place at which to do so. The company is investing US$180 million in the facility, which will be “a world-class facility designed for novel materials research, advanced process development, and acceleration of next-generation lithium products to market.”

1. Tearlach Resources (TSXV:TEA)

Year-to-date gain: 655.93 percent; market cap: C$140.39 million; current share price: C$2.23

Tearlach Resources has spent the year building up a portfolio of lithium projects in Ontario’s Thunder Bay area.

After trading relatively flatly through the end of August, the company saw huge gains in the last four months of the year. The firm released a corporate update on September 19 that discusses the NI 43-101 technical report for its Savant project, as well as its option agreement to acquire 100 percent of the Ferland project. Later that month, Tearlach signed option agreements to acquire 100 percent of both the Wesley and the Harth lithium projects.

Tearlach’s share price really began to climb after the October 4 appointments of Paul Chow and John Bean to the company’s board of directors; both have experience in a range of industries. On October 27, the company shared it was commencing a C$5 million private placement, which later closed in mid-November at C$7.59 million. After starting the month at C$0.58, Tearlach ended at C$1.48.

December also brought significant news for the lithium company. On December 5, Tearlach announced further acquisitions, this time the option to acquire a 100 percent interest in Pakwan and Margot Lake in the Electric Avenue region.

“Adding to an already exciting portfolio, the Pakwan and the Margot are located in the most prolific lithium mining trends in the Americas,” CEO Ray Strafehl commented in a release. “The Projects are in a region with multiple discoveries, favourable geology, proven metallurgy, and most importantly, on-trend and next to one of the highest-grade lithium projects in the Americas.”

Tearlach’s most recent news came on December 8 with the appointment of Morgan Legstrom as CEO and director of the company. Its share price hit a year-to-date high of C$2.25 on December 15.

2. Sigma Lithium (TSXV:SGML)

Year-to-date gain: 228.46 percent; market cap: C$4.24 billion; current share price: C$42.70

For information about Sigma Lithium and what has driven its share price, see its entry in the top US lithium companies section above.

3. Nevada Sunrise Metals (TSXV:NEV)

Year-to-date gain: 171.43 percent; market capitalization: C$17.62 million; current share price: C$0.19

Nevada Sunrise Metals, which underwent a name change from Nevada Sunrise Gold in September, wholly owns two lithium projects, the Gemini and Jackson Wash assets, which are located in the Lida Valley basin in Nevada. According to Nevada Sunrise, the Lida Valley basin shares similar geography to the nearby Clayton Valley basin, where Albemarle’s (NYSE:ALB) Silver Peak lithium mine is located. In addition to its lithium properties, the company owns 100 percent of the Coronado VMS project, 20 percent of the Kinsley Mountain gold project and 15 percent of both the Treasure Box copper project and the Lovelock Mine cobalt project.

In Q1, Nevada Sunrise Metals saw little movement, even as it commenced exploration at Gemini. It wasn’t until the company shared its first drill results on April 18 that its share price broke above C$0.10, jumping from C$0.08 to C$0.14 overnight. Further exploration results at the project, including 1,101 parts per million lithium over 730 feet, continued to drive its share price higher.

After rising through May and early June, the company’s share price hit an H1 high of C$0.36 on June 10 off the back of June 6 exploration results showing 327.7 milligrams of lithium per liter of water over 220 feet, as well as private placement news. In late July, Nevada Sunrise received an exploration permit for Gemini that increased the number of boreholes at the project to 12, six of which were planned for a Phase 2 drilling program at the project. The company’s share price spiked significantly, from C$0.22 on August 23 to C$0.38 on August 30, a new year-to-date high for the company, although it did not release news during that time period.

Phase 2 drilling commenced in mid-October and has two objectives: to test lithium-bearing brine and sediments at greater depths compared to previous exploration, and to test the width of a previously identified lithium-bearing zone. In November, Nevada Sunrise brought on Willem Duyvesteyn as a metallurgical consultant. Most recently, on December 6, the company received preliminary geochemical analyses for one of the boreholes at Gemini; results show that it has intersected lithium-bearing sediment.

1. Tyranna Resources (ASX:TYX)

Year-to-date gain: 283.33 percent; market cap: AU$57.73 million; current share price: AU$0.023

Tyranna Resources (ASX:TYX) was previously focused on gold and nickel, but pivoted this year to lithium. After acquiring 80 percent of Angolan Minerals in May, Tyranna now owns the Namibe lithium project in the Giraul pegmatite field in Angola.

Although Tyranna’s share price performed relatively flatly early in 2022 — staying around AU$0.006 — the company’s acquisition of the Namibe project began driving it upwards, and shares of Tyranna have steadily moved higher over the course of the year. The company released an update on exploration in early August, sharing that Angolan Minerals had completed a Phase 1 exploration program that included 50 samples. In late August, results from the exploration revealed an average grade of 3.21 percent lithium oxide between the samples, with a high point of 9.74 percent.

Tyranna’s share price hit a year-to-date high of AU$0.056 on September 11, the day before it revealed its plan for a maiden drilling program at Namibe’s Muvero prospect. The company anticipated that it would be complete by the end of November. However, on November 7, the company released early findings from the first three drill cores at the site — although one core did show visible spodumene, some of the drilling was not intersecting what the company had anticipated based on its preliminary exploration. Tyranna changed its drill program in response to these results, with its share price dropping from AU$0.042 to AU$0.032 overnight.

Tyranna completed the revised drill program on December 6, sharing that assays should be available in February 2023. So far, drilling has confirmed the presence of lithium below surface, and Tyranna has said the information gained from the program will be used to plan its optimized follow-up drilling in 2023. This news caused its share price to drop again, falling from AU$0.032 to AU$0.025 by December 7. Although Q4 has been less positive for Tyranna, it is still up significantly year-to-date.

2. Latin Resources (ASX:LRS)

Year-to-date gain: 244.83 percent; market cap: AU$207.51 million; current share price: AU$0.10

Latin Resources (ASX:LRS) is an exploration company looking for metals that will help move the world towards net-zero emissions. The company is focused on lithium and copper projects in South America, and in Australia it has the Cloud Nine kaolin-halloysite project. Its lithium projects are the Salinas pegmatite project in Brazil and the Catamarca pegmatite project in Argentina.

In late March, Latin Resources discovered high lithium grades during exploration at Salinas, causing its share price to soar over the next two weeks. The company released assays from the project with a peak grade of 3.22 percent lithium hydroxide; shares moved from AU$0.06 the day of the release to AU$0.22 by April 6, a year-to-date high. As Q2 progressed, Latin Resources moved lower.

August saw more positive movement for Latin Resources, when drilling confirmed a new discovery west of Salinas’ Colina prospect. Results from metallurgical test work received in late August were described as positive, with 78.72 percent of the lithium oxide recovered into a concentrate grading a "very high" 6.57 percent lithium oxide.

In early October, the company announced a new discovery at the Colina prospect after drill results showed multiple high-grade lithium-bearing pegmatites. November brought news that Latin Resources was back on the ground in Argentina to recommence field work at the Catamarca project, and the company shared details on what its next steps at the project will look like.

Its two most recent pieces of news were both related to the Salinas project. The company received further metallurgical test work results, reporting recovery improvements since the last batch, with an average of 80.5 percent lithium oxide grading 6.6 percent. On December 6, Latin Resources released the maiden resource for the Corina deposit, with indicated and inferred resources totalling 13.3 million MT at 1.2 percent lithium oxide.

3. Cygnus Gold (CY5:AU)

Year-to-date gain: 111.11 percent; market cap: AU$69.87 million; current share price: AU$0.38

Cygnus Gold (ASX:CY5) is another ASX company that recently pivoted to lithium. The company has an option to earn up to 70 percent in the Pontax lithium project in Quebec, which it has focused on exploring in the latter half of 2022. Cygnus also has the Mitsumis lithium project in Quebec, as well as the Bencubbin polymetallic and Stanley gold projects in Australia.

In late September, Cygnus acquired 30 kilometers of strike length at which samples have graded up to 2.8 percent lithium oxide. The new land is adjacent to Pontax. October 4 saw the appointment of David Southam to the company's board of directors; he was recently recognized as Mining CEO of the Year for ASX-listed companies. As of November 1, he became a non-executive director, and in February 2023 he will become a managing director. The company’s share price rose significantly the day of this news, jumping from AU$0.25 to AU$0.37, and continued to climb through October.

On October 13, Cygnus announced it would be raising AU$6.3 million to advance Pontax through the use of fully paid ordinary shares priced at AU$0.73 each. As of November 8, diamond drilling at Pontax had commenced, with 10,000 meters planned for the maiden drill program. The company’s share price reached a year-to-date high of AU$0.60 on November 14.

The first results from the diamond drilling came on November 29. According to the company, the “first two holes drilled at Pontax confirm a 75m-thick pegmatitebearing zone, with multiple stacked spodumene-bearing pegmatite dykes.” Due to the positive results seen from the drilling, the company has completed an AU$8 million private placement with the purpose of rapid exploration, with more drill rigs being mobilized in January and February.

FAQs for investing in lithium

How much lithium is on Earth?

While we don't know how much total lithium is on Earth, the US Geological Survey estimates that global reserves stand at 22 billion MT. Of that, 9.2 billion MT are located in Chile, and 5.7 billion MT are in Australia.

Where is lithium mined?

Lithium is mined throughout the world, but the two countries that produce the most are Australia and Chile. Australia's lithium comes from primarily hard-rock deposits, while Chile's comes from lithium brines. Chile is part of the Lithium Triangle alongside Argentina and Bolivia, although those two countries have a lower annual output.

Rounding out the top five lithium-producing countries behind Australia and Chile are China, Argentina and Brazil.

What is lithium used for?

Lithium has a wide variety of applications. While the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles, smartphones and other tech have been making waves, it is also used in pharmaceuticals, ceramics, grease, lubricants and heat-resistant glass. Still, it is largely the electric vehicle industry that is boosting demand.

Is lithium a good investment?

The lithium price has seen huge success over the past year, and many stocks are up alongside that. It's up to investors to decide if it's time to get in on the market, or if they’ll try to wait for a dip.

A wide variety of analysts are bullish on the market as electric vehicles continue to prosper, and lithium demand from that segment alone is expected to continue to rise. These experts believe the lithium story's strength will continue over the next decades as producers struggle to meet rapidly growing demand.

How to invest in lithium?

Unlike many commodities, investors cannot physically hold lithium due to its dangerous properties. However, those looking to get into the lithium market have many options when it comes to how to invest in lithium.

Lithium stocks like those mentioned above could be a good option for investors interested in the space. If you’re looking to diversify instead of focusing on one stock, there is the Global X Lithium & Battery Tech ETF (NYSE:LIT), an exchange-traded fund (ETF) focused on the metal. Experienced investors can also look at lithium futures.

How to buy lithium stocks?

Lithium stocks can be found globally on various exchanges. Through the use of a broker or an investing service such as an app, investors can purchase individual stocks and ETFs that match their investing outlook.

Before buying a lithium stock, potential investors should take time to research the companies they’re considering; they should also decide how many shares will be purchased, and what price they are willing to pay. With many options on the market, it's critical to complete due diligence before making any investment decisions.

It's also important for investors to keep their goals in mind when choosing their investing method. There are many factors to consider when choosing a broker, as well as when looking at investing apps — a few of these include the broker or app's reputation, their fee structure and investment style.

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

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

Editorial Disclosure: Nevada Sunrise Metals and Latin Resources are clients of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.

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