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Top 5 Canadian Lithium Stocks of 2023
Looking for the top Canadian lithium stocks? These TSX- and TSXV-listed stocks have seen the biggest year-to-date gains in 2023.
Last year was huge for lithium, as the battery metal set all-time highs for the second year in a row. However, prices for lithium carbonate and, to a lesser extent, lithium hydroxide have fallen so far in 2023.
These declines have been driven by a mix of factors that have led supply to outpace demand, including China ending electric vehicle subsidies and the country being hit by a wave of COVID-19 infections after it eased its zero-COVID policy.
“I do admit that prices came down faster and further than we thought likely … we were not expecting demand to retreat as much as it has, which was brought on by the severe COVID-19 hit China suffered towards the end of 2022,” Fastmarkets' William Adams told the Investing News Network during Q2. “The drop in price prompted destocking, which in turn has made apparent demand look worse than actual demand.”
Although the market has been in a surplus recently, Adams believes that will change as 2023 moves forward. “The year is likely to be a year of two halves — surplus the early part of the first half switching to tightness later in the second half,” he said.
For investors interested in lithium, the Investing News Network has created an overview of the top Canadian lithium stocks listed on the TSX and TSXV. This list was created on May 1, 2023, using TradingView‘s stock screener, and all data was current at that time. Only companies with market caps above C$10 million are included.
1. Patriot Battery Metals (TSXV:PMET)
Year-to-date gain: 85.52 percent; market cap: C$1.16 billion; current share price: C$12.30
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 is focused on extending the CV5 pegmatite at Corvette, and will cover at least 20,000 meters using five drill rigs.
On January 18, Patriot shared assays from its 2022 exploration, reporting the highest-grade lithium intercept so far at the CV5 pegmatite — 156.9 meters at 2.12 percent lithium oxide, including 25 meters at 5.04 percent and 5 meters at 6.36 percent. This news started upward momentum for the company’s share price, which continued moving up through news of the appointment of Natacha Garout as CFO, a new omnibus equity incentive plan, the addition of Mélissa Desrochers to its board and more results from 2022 drilling.
Patriot hit its current year-to-date 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 have now extended it to at least 3.7 kilometers.
In late February, Patriot shared that heavy liquid separation testing on core samples from CV5 indicate that a dense media separation process can be used for the pegmatite body. The testing returned an average spodumene concentrate grade of 5.98 percent at 77 percent recovery.
Patriot plans to use funds from a C$50 million flow-through raising, which it completed in March, to fund its work at Corvette. On April 12, the company gave an update on development of the CV5 pegmatite towards prefeasibility, including the actions it is taking in addition to the drill campaign. It plans to have an initial resource estimate for CV5 in late June.
2. Lithium Ionic (TSXV:LTH)
Year-to-date gain: 80.75 percent; market cap: C$265.43 million; current share price: C$2.91
Lithium Ionic is focused on acquiring and consolidating lithium properties in the Aracuai lithium province in Minas Gerais, Brazil, in order to expand its flagship Itinga project. Including the acquisitions discussed below, the company owns over 14,000 hectares of claims in the region.
Lithium Ionic has been continuing its acquisition strategy in 2023. On January 25, the company announced that its wholly owned subsidiary MGLIT Empreendimentos had entered into a binding share purchase agreement to acquire up to a 100 percent equity interest in Vale Litio; at this time it has acquired 2.78 percent. Vale Litio owns three lithium claims in the Aracuai lithium province.
Another acquisition, announced on February 13, was of a 1,000 hectare mining claim in the Aracuai region, bringing its land position to approximately 7,700 hectares in the region at that time. The company’s share price climbed throughout February to a peak of C$2.89 on February 24.
On March 31, Lithium Ionic announced its 100 percent acquisition of Neolit Minerals, which holds a 40 percent interest in the Salinas lithium project with the option to acquire up to 85 percent. Salinas is located about 100 kilometers north of Itinga and comprises 5,713 hectares with “five lithium-rich spodumene-bearing pegmatites outcropping at surface.”
Since these acquisitions, Lithium Ionic’s news has been focused on exploration. On March 29, the company shared that it had drilled its best hole to date at the Bandeira property, which is part of the Itanga project. It released assays from a drill program at its Galvani claims on April 11, after which its share price began climbing again to top its previous peak at C$2.91 on May 1. The next day, Lithium Ionic began a 20,000 meter drill program that will test and expand the already identified pegmatites at the Salinas project.
3. Q2 Metals (TSXV:QTWO)
Year-to-date gain: 68.57 percent; market cap: C$44.72 million; current share price: C$0.59
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, jumping from C$0.45 to C$0.62 on the January 23 appointment of Neil McCallum as a director and the company’s vice president of exploration. McCallum identified and staked Patriot Battery Metals' Corvette lithium property in 2016, which is located in the same region as Q2’s lithium projects. Two days later, the company commenced a C$10 million private placement financing.
The company’s share price continued climbing during the following weeks to hit a year-to-date high of C$1.05 on February 6.
On March 2, Q2 shared its exploration plans for the Mia property in 2023 and announced its acquisition of the Stellar lithium property, which is just 6 kilometers north of Mia. In early April, Q2 began the Phase 1 portion of its 2023 exploration campaign at the Mia project, which includes an IP-resistivity geophysical survey. The company completed Phase 1 on April 26 and plans to begin Phase 2 — ground mapping and sampling — after May 20.
4. Brunswick Exploration (TSXV:BRW)
Year-to-date gain: 68.09 percent; market cap: C$136.77 million; current share price: C$0.79
Brunswick Exploration is a Quebec-based explorer focused on lithium pegmatite projects. The company has a large portfolio of exploration projects throughout Central, Eastern and Atlantic Canada, much of which was built through Brunswick identifying and acquiring properties and land packages throughout 2022 and 2023.
For example, in January, the company staked the Trans-Hudson and Lake Athabasca projects in Saskatchewan and applied for three mineral exploration licenses in Manitoba. The same month, Brunswick staked 198 claims to create the Mirage project in Quebec’s Eeyou-Istchee James Bay region.
Brunswick ended the month with an option agreement for a 100 percent interest in Searchlight Resources' (TSXV:SCLT,OTCQB:SCLTF) Hanson Lake project in Saskatchewan. Prospecting and trenching at the project is planned in Q2.
All of this news drove Brunswick’s share price higher, and it continued upwards when the company shared that it was included on this year's TSX Venture 50 list. Over the following week, its share price climbed to a year-to-date high of C$1.10 on February 28.
Brunswick’s more recent news has focused largely on exploration. On March 20, the company began an exploration program at its Anatacua West project in Quebec; the drilling portion concluded in April and intersected multiple spodumene-bearing pegmatites. Brunswick has now begun exploring its Hearst project in Ontario, including drilling and stripping, and is looking towards drilling at Hanson Lake in the summer.
5. Quantum Minerals (TSXV:QMC)
Year-to-date gain: 66.67 percent; market cap: C$18.34 million; current share price: C$0.20
Quantum Minerals is a lithium, gold and copper company with three projects in Manitoba, Canada. Quantum's flagship asset is its Irgon lithium mine project, which the company anticipates will be its first mine to reach production. It also has the Rocky Lake and Namew Lake gold-copper projects.
On February 22, Quantum received a work permit for Irgon from Manitoba’s government. According to the release, the company will first “carry out a field mapping and sampling program in order to extend the Irgon Dike beyond the known 800m strike length.” After that, it plans to commence a channel sampling program.
Quantum's share price skyrocketed on the news of its work permit, moving from C$0.14 the day before the release to C$0.24 the day after it came out. It remained elevated over the following weeks and ultimately hit a year-to-date high of C$0.26 on March 21.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Lauren Kelly, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Brunswick Exploration is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.
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