Top 9 Lithium Stocks of 2023
Lithium stocks are already making moves in 2023. Here's a look at the top performers year-to-date on US, Canadian and Australian exchanges.
Lithium rose to a new all-time high in November 2022. However, Chinese lithium prices are tumbling to start 2023.
The Investing News Network recently spoke with experts about the trends that affected lithium in 2022, and they emphasized that prices are being driven by a lack of supply compared to looming demand potential.
However, Chinese electric vehicle (EV) purchases, a strong driver for demand for the battery metal, are projected to cool slightly in 2023 as China ends subsidies for buyers. Still, long-term prospects for the space remain strong, and most lithium companies have locked in contracts.
Companies around the world have risen to the challenge of strengthening lithium supply. In Australia, many ASX-listed companies pivoted to lithium last year, either tapping lithium potential in their existing properties or acquiring new ones. As for the US, in a huge move for the space, the Biden administration announced US$2.8 billion in grants for battery metals companies working towards strengthening North American supply chains.
Even with easing prices, many lithium stocks are up year-to-date. 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 February 21, 2023, for Canadian and US companies, and February 27, 2023, for Australian companies. It includes companies listed on the NYSE, NASDAQ, TSX, TSXV and ASX; all top lithium stocks had market caps above $50 million when data was gathered.
1. Atlas Lithium (NASDAQ:ATLX)
Year-to-date gain: 67.79 percent; market cap: US$63.3 billion; current share price: US$10.94
Atlas Lithium is exploring for strategic minerals in Brazil. In addition to its lithium hard-rock projects — Minas Gerais and Northeastern Brazil — it is also looking for nickel, rare earths, titanium and graphite at its other properties. The company is focused on advancing and developing its Minas Gerais project, including a lithium concentrate plant.
Atlas started the year by uplisting to the Nasdaq, commencing trading on the senior exchange on January 12. A week later, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with Mitsui (OTC Pink:MITSY,TSE:8031); the agreement opens the door to a deal between the two companies in which Mitsui would provide US$65 million in funding in tranches that would primarily be used by Atlas to advance its planned lithium concentrate plant. In exchange, Mitsui would obtain the rights to purchase 100 percent of the plant’s output, currently expected to be 150,000 metric tons (MT) per year.
In a February 6 corporate update, Atlas shared that it has acquired five lithium mineral rights, which the company states augment the Minas Gerais project and bring its total lithium exploration area to about 75,000 acres. The next week, the company released results from third-party geochemical testing of drill cores taken from its flagship project’s Neves area; the data reveals a significant increase in the size of one of the asset's lithium-bearing pegmatites.
The company’s share price began climbing on February 17, eventually spiking all the way up to US$19.85 on February 23, the day before it rang the Nasdaq opening bell.
2. Piedmont Lithium (NASDAQ:PLL)
Year-to-date gain: 37.07 percent; market cap: US$1.15 billion; current share price: US$63.60
Based in the US state of North Carolina, Piedmont Lithium is focused on producing lithium hydroxide from spodumene ore in order to provide companies with a lithium hydroxide source outside of China, and it hopes to aid in the creation of an American battery supply chain. In addition to its fully integrated Carolina lithium project, the company also has properties in Ghana and in Quebec, Canada, including the North American Lithium joint venture with Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA,OTCQB:SYAXF).
Piedmont plans to create the largest US lithium hydroxide plant in Tennessee, which it will feed using lithium concentrate from its international investments. The company received a US$141.7 million grant for the plant from the US government last year.
In mid-February, Piedmont announced an offtake agreement with LG Chem (KRX:051910) for four years totaling 200,000 MT of lithium spodumene from the North American Lithium operation. LG Chem also plans to invest US$75 million in Piedmont, and is planning to build out the US battery metals supply chain, including a cathode plant in Tennessee. Piedmont's share price hit a year-to-date peak the day of that announcement, reaching US$73.46.
3. Sigma Lithium (NASDAQ:SGML)
Year-to-date gain: 18.85 percent; market cap: US$3.54 billion; current share price: US$34.23
In Minas Gerais, Brazil, Sigma Lithium has its Grota do Cirilo hard-rock lithium project. Sigma anticipates Phase 1 production of 270,000 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.
In 2023, Sigma has made progress at the greentech plant, and in mid-January announced that commissioning was a month ahead of schedule. By mid-February, the company had completed commissioning of the crushing circuit at the plant, and stated that it is still on track to achieve commercial production in April.
However, that wasn’t the only news affecting Sigma’s share price. Bloomberg shared that Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is considering a takeover of Sigma, citing “people with knowledge of the matter.” While the news has yet to be confirmed, Sigma's share price shot up nearly US$5 by the next trading day. It has continued to move up, reaching a peak of US$36.12 on February 27.
1. Patriot Battery Metals (TSXV:PMET)
Year-to-date gain: 114.03 percent; market cap: C$1.24 billion; current share price: C$14.19
Patriot Battery Metals is an exploration and development company that is working on advancing its Corvette lithium property, which comprises over 200 square kilometers in Quebec’s James Bay region. The company, which was known as Gaia Metals until 2021, began trading on the TSXV in July 2022 after relisting from the CSE.
Patriot has spent early 2023 exploring the Corvette project and building out its team. On January 5, the company announced its winter 2023 drill program, which is planned to cover at least 20,000 meters using five drill rigs; on January 9, the company added two ESG professionals to its management team. However, it was good news from its 2022 drilling that got the firm's share price moving. On January 18, Patriot shared assays that included the highest-grade lithium intercept so far at Corvette — 156.9 meters at 2.12 percent lithium oxide, including 25 meters at 5.04 percent and 5 meters at 6.36 percent.
The company’s share price continued heading upward 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 its 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 had extended the CV5 pegmatite by at least 400 meters. In late February, heavy liquid separation testing on core samples from the aforementioned pegmatite indicated 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.
2. Brunswick Exploration (TSXV:BRW)
Year-to-date gain: 89.36 percent; market cap: C$143.7 million; current share price: C$0.89
Brunswick Exploration is a Quebec-based explorer focused on lithium pegmatite projects. It has a large portfolio of exploration projects in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Ontario. The company's sizable portfolio was largely built in 2022, as Brunswick spent much of the year identifying and acquiring properties and land packages.
Brunswick has had a busy start to 2023, adding multiple properties to its exploration portfolio. On January 17, the company announced it had staked two new projects in Saskatchewan — the Trans-Hudson project, comprising 36 claims, and the Lake Athabasca project with one claim; Brunswick also applied for three mineral exploration licenses in Manitoba near Lynn Lake. The following week, Brunswick shared that it had staked 198 claims to create the Mirage project in Quebec’s James Bay region.
On January 30, the company entered into an option agreement to take 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.
February brought a year-to-date peak of C$1.04 on February 8, as well as news the following week of a bought deal private placement of C$6 million and a non-brokered private placement of C$2 million. On February 21, Brunswick was selected for inclusion on the 2023 TSX Venture 50 top performers list, placing seventh overall in the mining category.
3. Lithium Ionic (TSXV:LTH)
Year-to-date gain: 73.91 percent; market cap: C$233.77 million; current share price: C$2.80
Lithium Ionic's flagship Itinga project is located in Brazil's Aracuai lithium province in the state of Minas Gerais. The company began trading on the TSXV in May after private company Lithium Ionic was acquired by POCML 6, a capital pool company.
Lithium Ionic has also been making acquisitions to start the year. 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 Minas Gerais.
MGLIT’s other acquisition, announced on February 13, was of a 1,000 hectare mining claim in the same state. With this, the company says its land position has reached approximately 7,700 hectares all within the same region. The company’s share price has climbed throughout February, hitting a year-to-date high of C$2.88 on February 23.
1. Prospect Resources (ASX:PSC)
Year-to-date gain: 58.33 percent; market cap: AU$97.07 million; current share price: AU$0.19
Prospect Resources is a battery metals explorer and developer focused on Zimbabwe and sub-Saharan Africa. The company is currently exploring its two lithium projects: the Step Aside lithium project in the Harare greenstone belt in Zimbabwe and the Omaruru project in Namibia.
After completing a Phase 1 drilling program at Step Aside last year, on February 6 Prospect announced the commencement of Phase 2 drilling at the project. It will consist of up to 2,000 meters. In the days following that release, the company’s share price spiked and stayed elevated, and climbed further to a year-to-date peak of US$0.22 on February 13, when the company said it had completed Phase 1 drilling at Omaruru.
2. Essential Metals (ASX:ESS)
Year-to-date gain: 50 percent; market cap: AU$132.45 million; current share price: AU$0.495
Essential Metals is a lithium-focused company with its flagship Pioneer Dome lithium project in Western Australia, near Kalgoorlie. The company has two gold projects in that region as well.
Essential Metals’ share price spiked to AU$0.48 early in the year, when the company announced on January 9 that it had entered into a scheme of arrangement with Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia (TLEA), a joint venture between Tianqi Lithium (OTC Pink:TQLCF,SZSE:002466) and IGO (ASX:IGO,OTC Pink:IPDGF). TLEA is looking to acquire 100 percent of Essential for AU$0.50 per share, and Essential's board has unanimously recommended the deal. Essential was trading at AU$0.345 the day before the announcement, and it passed AU$0.50 to peak at AU$0.54 on February 1.
With regards to progress made at Pioneer Dome, on February 6 Essential Metals announced that a scoping study for the project’s Dome North area “demonstrates the potential viability of a standalone mining and processing operation,” which the company believes supports moving towards more detailed studies. Two weeks later, it was granted a 21 year mining license for the Dome North mineral resource.
3. Jindalee Resources (ASX:JRL)
Year-to-date gain: 29.97 percent; market cap: AU$141.15 million; current share price: AU$2.45
Jindalee Resources, previously an Australia- and US-focused explorer, has pivoted and repositioned as a pure-play US lithium company focused on its McDermitt lithium project in Oregon, which it describes as “one of the largest lithium deposits in the United States.” The company separated all of its Australian assets into Dynamic Metals (ASX:DYM), which began trading on the ASX on January 16.
On February 13, Jindalee signed a memorandum of understanding with POSCO (NYSE:PKX) for the latter company to undertake metallurgical testwork on ore from McDermitt using three different processes. According to the release, the two companies will “jointly evaluate the commercialisation of the Project following completion of the testwork.” The company’s share price, which was already trending upwards throughout the year, jumped to a year-to-date high of AU$2.70 following the news.
At the end of February, the company shared an updated resource estimate for McDermitt following its 2022 exploration. The project now has indicated and inferred resources that combine for a contained 21.5 million MT of lithium carbonate equivalent. According to Jindalee, this updated resource makes it “the largest Lithium deposit in the US by contained lithium in Mineral Resource.”
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: Brunswick Exploration and Jindalee Resources are clients of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.
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