EMH Company Logo ASX

European Metals Holdings Limited

ASX:EMH

Last Price:

$0.750

Our Investment Summary

Date of
Initial Coverage

03-Mar-21

Initial
Entry Price

$1.100

Returns from
Initial Entry

-32%



Investment Memo: European Metals Holdings (ASX:EMH) - LIVE

Opened: 20-Jan-2022

Shares Held at Open: 261,000


What does EMH do?

European Metals Holding (ASX: EMH) is developing the largest hard rock lithium resource inside the European Union.
Located in the Czech Republic on the border with battery metal hungry Germany, EMH’s project is well advanced and is moving towards becoming the first local EU battery grade lithium producer to deliver to an emerging local industry.

What is the macro theme?

The EU is rapidly switching from fossil fuel powered transportation to Electric Vehicles (EVs), as part of the “European Green Deal” which should make Europe carbon neutral by 2050.

This transition towards green-energy has become a key driver of the need for a local source of lithium, especially as the EU currently has no local supply and requires imports from China and South America. As a result we expect domestic suppliers of the raw-materials that are critical for battery production to thrive.

Why did we invest in EMH?

Strategically important location

EMH’s Lithium project is ideally located in the heart of Europe in Czech Republic – very close proximity to Major Automakers who are all switching to Electric vehicle production.

Advanced development ready project

EMH’s project is arguably the most advanced near term lithium producer in the EU. The project is currently having a PFS (Pre-Feasibility-Study) updated & has already commenced works on a DFS (Definitive Feasibility Study).

EMH is yet to sign an offtake partner

With the lithium market currently a sellers market, projects that have lithium in the ground and close to being development ready are attractive offtake options for buyers looking to secure lithium supply. EMH is yet to sign an offtake partnership which we think is a key catalyst for this year.

What do we expect EMH to deliver in 2022?

Objective #1: DFS (Definitive Feasibility study)

We are hoping the FEED (Front-End Engineering Design) is completed and it forms the basis for a completed DFS which we hope to see before the end of 2022.

Objective #2: Progress on development financing

We also want to see EMH make meaningful progress on a funding plan for the construction of the project. This funding could be delivered in various forms – debt, grants, or even direct investment by new partners. By the end of 2022, we expect the financing strategy to be a lot clearer.

Objective #3: Offtake agreement

After the DFS is completed and a final-investment decision has been made we expect to see some progress made with respect to the signing of offtake agreements.

What could go wrong?

Regulatory risk

EMH’s lithium project is a fairly advanced stage project which means it is in the final stages of permitting before it is ready for a final investment decision. There is a risk that the project gets held up in the permitting process and the regulators reject the company’s mining license applications.

Financing risk

EMH’s asset is fairly advanced & is approaching a stage where a final investment decision needs to be made, deteriorating market conditions may deter financiers from making a large capital investment which will mean the project is unable to be put into production.

Commodity risk

EMH is a mining company, generally these businesses are price-takers for their product & lithium is no different. In the event that supply outstrips demand EMH’s project may be considered uneconomic (Stranded).

Processing Risk

EMH’s project is a mica hosted lithium resource. Mica lithium deposits can be difficult to process and more costly relative to other lithium resources. [New 1-Dec-2022]

Scale-up Risk

While EMH has been able to produce battery grade lithium products, its flowsheet has only been tested at a lab scale. There is always a risk that the flowsheet results produced in a lab can’t be scaled and/or the performance of the flowsheet is weaker once scaled up to a level that’s suitable for EMH’s resource. [New 1-Dec-2022]

What is our investment plan?

Our plan is to hold a position in EMH over a 5 to 7 year period, through the construction of the project.

We have held for almost one year and have taken a small amount of profit having sold down 13% of our total holding (as per our standard investment strategy). We may look to sell a further 7% during 2022, hopefully into a share price rerate on the back of the company delivering on the three key objectives for 2022 listed in this memo.


Disclosure: The authors of this memo and owners, S3 Consortium Pty Ltd, and associated entities, own 261,000 EMH shares at the time of publication. S3 Consortium Pty Ltd has been engaged by EMH to share our commentary on the progress of our investment in EMH over time.


Investment Milestones for EMH

Initial Investment: @$1.1
Top Slice
🔲 Free Carry
🔲 Take Profit
🔲 Price increases 300% from initial entry
🔲 Price increases 500% from initial entry
🔲 Price increases 1000% from initial entry
12 Month Capital Gain Discount
🔲 Hold remaining Position for next 2+ years


Our Past Commentary on European Metals Holdings

Date Title
21-Nov-2022 $ 0.765 IVZ reaches 10 bagger status, lithium day wrap and more...
22-Jan-2022 $ 1.500 Our Investment Approach, Energy Cold War, Ukraine, Supply Chain Crisis
27-Nov-2021 $ 1.490 New COVID strain, Santa Rally, Market Thoughts



Investor Presentation

Lithium DFS specialist appointed

ASX:EMH Nov 10, 2022 Announcement

Investment Memo: EMH IM-2022
Investment Thesis 1: Strategically important location
Objective 1: DFS (Definitive Feasibility study)


Our European lithium Investment European Metals Holdings (ASX: EMH) just appointed lithium specialist Marc Rowley, who brings extensive experience in delivering Definitive Feasibility Studies (DFS).

This comes as EMH works on putting together a DFS of its own at its Cinovec Lithium Project - Europe’s largest hard rock lithium resource.

EMH is looking to build on its pre-feasibility study (PFS) which showed:

  • Net Present Value (NPV) = US$1.9BN
  • Internal Rate of Return (IRR) = 36.3%
  • Payback period = 2.5 years
  • Capex = US$644M

Marc’s CV looks strong having worked on the following:

  1. Marc delivered a DFS for Leo Lithium (capped at $611M), after which a final investment decision was made, and the project was put into construction.
  2. Marc also worked for Altura Mining, where he delivered both the PFS and DFS for what is now the Pilgangoora mine (owned by Pilbara Minerals - capped at $16.5BN).

We hope Marc can apply this experience to EMH’s project and help it progress the three key objectives we want to see EMH achieve, per our 2022 EMH Investment Memo.

Click on the image below to read our full Investment Memo, where we detail why we Invested in EMH, what we want to see EMH achieve and the key risks to our Investment Thesis.


Brokers comparing LRS to $5.7BN capped Sigma Lithium

ASX:LRS Nov 02, 2022

Macro: Lithium

Investment Memo: LRS IM-2022
Investment Thesis 1: Favourable peer comparison


Late last week we saw both Bell Potter and PAC Partners initiate coverage and release research reports on our lithium exploration Investment Latin Resources (ASX: LRS).

Both reports made mention of LRS’s upcoming maiden mineral resource estimate, while also detailing how LRS’s project could grow into a project analogous to that of its $5.7BN neighbour, Sigma Lithium.

Bell Potter said that they “expect that the deposit could notionally support +200ktpa spodumene concentrate operation. A potential analogue of Salinas is Sigma Lithium’s project located around 100km to the southeast”.

An interesting point that we took from the PAC Partners report was a comparison of Sigma Lithium’s rise to where LRS finds itself today.

PAC speculated that LRS’s maiden mineral resource estimate “could be of size range 11Mt to 17Mt with a grade range 1.3% to 1.5%” and that, “For comparison, Brazil peer Sigma’s initial mineral resource estimate was 13Mt at 1.56% in 2018”.

When Sigma announced that resource estimate, its market cap was around the same as LRS’s is today.

Sigma has since defined a total of five different deposits.

In a similar fashion, LRS is now putting together its first JORC resource and has just announced a new discovery, just 500m from its first discovery.

The following chart showing Sigma’s share price and notable events puts LRS’s progress into perspective:

Sigma now trades with a $5.7BN market cap, or 25 times as much as LRS’s $230M market cap.

To see the two broker reports click on the following links:

  1. PAC Partners research report
  2. Bell Potter research report

What’s next:

We want to see LRS’s maiden mineral resource estimate, for which we previously set our expectations as follows:

  • Bull case (exceptional) = >15Mt JORC resource
  • Base case = 5-15Mt JORC resource
  • Bear case = <5Mt JORC resource

Read our latest LRS article to see the reasoning behind our expectations: Lithium deposit getting bigger - plenty more drilling to come


McKinsey on Battery Materials Demand

Oct 21, 2022

Macro: Lithium


There’s a really interesting article here from McKinsey on the huge demand EVs will create AND how the battery materials supply chain can meet this demand.

Key takeaways:

  • Lithium and nickel - “the battery industry’s demand for lithium is expected to grow at an annual compound growth rate of 25 percent from 2020 to 2030, while demand for nickel could multiply as battery demand shifts to nickel-rich products”
  • Asia making the batteries and Europe buying - “70 percent of the key equipment suppliers, for both coating and general cell assembly equipment, are based in Asia…companies in North America and Europe may need to consider developing strong international sourcing relationships.”
  • Geopolitics a major factor - lithium is widely abundant, but ~70 percent of current global production is in Australia and Chile, meanwhile the majority of global cobalt production is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - which has faced criticism over its mining practices

There’s a great chart here too, which shows the demand growth from EVs and the geography and battery chemistry breakdown:

We’re Invested in a broad spectrum of battery materials companies as part of a decade long investment thesis.

To find out what what battery materials companies we hold in our Portfolio click the button below:


Lithium supply shortage to continue

Sep 26, 2022

Macro: Lithium


The lithium supply shortage is set to continue for at least the rest of this decade and into the 2030s, says a key adviser to the London Metals Exchange and LME lithium committee inaugural chairman Ron Mitchell.

As reported in the AFR this morning, Mitchell said that for lithium production to come anywhere near meeting upcoming demand, a lot of new mines would be needed and that “a lot is going to have to go right if we’re going to get the tonnes we need in the market”.

The increasing demand from European car makers has driven a steep rise in prices for the key battery ingredient since 2020.

Yet the market still has a lack of price transparency, which was largely behind the reason that the LME joined forces with reporting agency Fastmarkets in mid-2021 to launch a futures contract for lithium hydroxide.

But even with this lithium futures contract, it remains hard to compare lithium to other commodities. Because it is a nuanced specialty chemical, every lithium product is different, making it difficult to trade off a futures index and apply discounts or premiums based on quality.

Mitchell also highlighted the challenges around the shelf-life of the material that make it hard for physical trading as well, explaining that “you can’t just store it in a shed and leave it there for two or three months and then as the price increases bring it to market. There’s risk in doing that.”

Mitchell also commented on the trend of car makers taking equity positions in lithium producers and explorers, such as Toyota with Allkem, Ford with Liontown and Great Wall with Pilbara Minerals. We’d add Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX: VUL) to that list which last year received a A$76M (€50M) equity investment from Stellantis N.V.

Looking ahead, Mitchell expects that trend to continue and it to also extend to producers and explorers of other battery minerals

.


Critical minerals quickly becoming a priority in the EU

Sep 20, 2022

Macro: Commodities


Readers who follow our Investment Portfolios will know that we have been making strategic Investments in commodities that have made critical minerals lists for the EU, USA, Japan, India and Australia.

These minerals are considered critical to the digitisation and decarbonisation macro thematic and include lithium, graphite, cobalt, nickel and PGE’s, to name a few.

Over the weekend, the following speech from the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, gave a speech announcing that the EU would look to pass a “European Critical Minerals Act”.

The aim is to avoid the position Europe finds itself in with oil and gas, where it relies on a single trading partner like Russia.

The act would see the EU put in place:

  1. Agreements with partners like Chile, New Zealand, Mexico, India and Australia for the supply of critical minerals.
  2. Identification of strategic projects across all along the supply chain from mine sites to processing/refining projects.
  3. The act would also see the setting up of strategic reserves of these critical minerals.

All of this bodes well for our Investments across commodities identified as “critical minerals” giving these projects strategic importance on the world stage.

To see a list of all the critical minerals in the Australian Critical Minerals strategy document, check out the following link.

Here is a snippet from that speech:


Lithium prices now trading at all time highs

Sep 20, 2022

Macro: Lithium


The following Bloomberg article touches on the structural supply shortages experienced across the lithium supply chain.

This comes as the lithium price traded at a record high on Friday at US$71,315 per tonne.

For us, it points to just how important it is for the mining industry to make new lithium discoveries match the exponentially increasing demand for lithium.

Without massive investment in new exploration, we simply won’t have enough lithium to catch up with the demand from battery makers.

Last week, we saw a presentation from Benchmark Minerals Intelligence senior lithium analyst Dr Cameron Perks, who touched on the timing differential between building upstream (new lithium mines) and downstream demand (battery manufacturing facilities).

Whilst it could take ~25 years for a new discovery to be put into production, downstream facilities can be built as quickly as <24 months.

As a result, we see the shortage lasting for at least the next five years.

Read the full article here.

Our key takeaways:

  • Lithium carbonate traded at all time highs on Friday (US$71,315/ tonne) - almost 3x higher than this time last year.
  • Price increases coming from higher electric vehicle (EV) sales forecasts which are expected to hit a record 6 million this year, double the 2021 total.
  • Soc. Quimica & Minera de Chile SA (SQM), the world’s No. 2 lithium producer, predicted a “very tight market” in the years ahead.
  • Battery-makers and automakers are rushing to lock in reliable and stable lithium supplies. Still, the lithium price continues to remain extremely high.

We hold investments from the exploration stage up to development ready projects in the lithium space.

Below is a list of our lithium Investments:

Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX: VUL) - Next Investors Portfolio

  • Zero Carbon Lithium, development stage, Germany (European Union)

European Metals Holdings (ASX: EMH) - Wise Owl Portfolio

  • Lithium, development stage, Czech Republic (European Union)

Tyranna Resources (ASX: TYX) - Catalyst Hunter Portfolio

  • Lithium, exploration stage, Angola

Latin Resources (ASX: LRS) - Catalyst Hunter Portfolio

  • Lithium, exploration stage, Brazil

Ragusa Minerals (ASX: RAS) - Catalyst Hunter Portfolio

  • Lithium, exploration stage, Northern Territory


Battery materials demand will need more than 300 new mine

Sep 16, 2022

Macro: Lithium


The battery materials thematic is a major part of our Portfolio.

After a nasty down day for the market two days ago driven by inflation fears emanating from the US, we remain confident that this theme will be part of a decade long trend.

A recent Benchmark Mineral Intelligence report highlights just how much battery materials are needed for the world to reach its ambitious decarbonisation goals.

The report notes that, “At least 384 new mines for graphite, lithium, nickel and cobalt are required to meet demand by 2035.

Here are the companies in our Portfolio that we hold as exposure to each of the four battery materials referred to in the report (click the company name to see our Investment Memo):

Graphite:

Sarytogan Graphite (ASX:SGA) - early stage development, Kazakhstan

Evolution Energy Minerals (ASX:EV1) - late stage development, Tanzania

Lithium:

Tyranna Resources (ASX:TYX) - exploration, Angola

Latin Resources (ASX:LRS) - resource definition, Brazil

Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX:VUL) - development, Europe

Ragusa Minerals (ASX:RAS) - exploration, Northern Territory (recently acquired)

European Metals Holdings (ASX:EMH) - development, Europe

Nickel:

Galileo Mining (ASX:GAL) - exploration, Western Australia (currently in resource definition mode on PGE project)

Cobalt:

Kuniko (ASX:KNI) - exploration, Europe (KNI also has a nickel project)

The report also had a great infographic outlining the required tonnages of the various materials which can be found below:

We note that one Barrenjoey analyst recently upgraded their forecasts for the lithium prices for 2023 and 2024 by 36% to and 86% respectively.

As a bellwether of the battery materials space, the lithium price remains strong:

We remain confident in our battery materials Investments now, as well as over a long term +3 year timeframe.


Structural shortage in lithium supply now a bigger problem

Aug 24, 2022

Macro: Lithium


The following Bloomberg article is more proof of how fragile the lithium industry's supply-demand situation is.

A shutdown in a particular part of China can quickly cascade into supply shortages, leading to increased prices and scenarios where end users cannot purchase the amount of lithium they need.

Read the full article here.

Our key takeaways:

  • Sichuan, a city home to more than a fifth of China's lithium production, is experiencing industrial power cuts. This means the already tight lithium market is experiencing more by way of supply shocks.
  • Supply disruptions are expected to lead to increased lithium prices.
  • Rystad Energy analyst (Susan Zou) said the following - "We are estimating the lithium price momentum will last for a while, and the spot price for lithium carbonate will climb to 500,000 yuan per ton (US$73,000 per tonne) shortly,"

Another article highlighting the structural supply shortages in the lithium industry.

For us, it points to just how important it is for the mining industry to make new lithium discoveries match the exponentially increasing demand for lithium.

Without massive investment in new exploration, we won't have enough lithium to catch up with the demand from battery makers.

We hold investments from the exploration stage up to development ready projects in the lithium space.

Below is a list of our lithium Investments:

Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX: VUL) - Next Investors Portfolio

  • Zero Carbon Lithium development stage, Germany (European Union)

European Metals Holdings (ASX: EMH) - Wise Owl Portfolio

  • Lithium, development stage, Czech Republic (European Union)

Latin Resources (ASX: LRS) - Catalyst Hunter Portfolio

  • Lithium, exploration stage, Brazil

Ragusa Minerals (ASX: RAS) - Catalyst Hunter Portfolio

  • Lithium, exploration stage, Northern Territory


Noosa Mining Investor Conference round-up

Jul 22, 2022

Macro: Commodities


Spanning three days on the pristine Sunshine Coast of Queensland, the Noosa Mining Investor Conference kicked off its 12th year on Wednesday. Attracting a diverse and large spread of corporates, brokers, retail and institutional investors, this year’s event featured over 60 companies presenting and over 1,000 people in attendance, all hosted within the coastal town's Peppers Resort.

At the event, we caught up with a number of executives from our Investment companies (including AKN, AOU, BPM and PFE) as well as companies of interest, either as potential additions to one of our Portfolios, or to gain expert insight to macro and regional headwinds impacting the markets.

The conference is held in the ideal location to mix work with pleasure, and meet a host of CEOs of ASX juniors. Each day ends with a short ‘business at the bar’ session that quickly morphs into talking tactics about where to eat and drink. On Thursday and Friday nights, many head to the Noosa Surf Club for its networking sessions, enjoying its glassed indoor area and open deck to the beach.

We look forward to providing updates on companies we met with down the road.


Tesla profit jumps, ASX lithium stocks jump

Jul 22, 2022

Macro: Lithium


Yesterday, Elon Musk’s Tesla notched a 57 per cent jump in adjusted earnings per share (EPS) in its latest quarter, a 42% rise in revenue on this time last year and forecasted annual sales growth of 50 for the foreseeable future:

The good numbers out of Tesla were enough to see a number of ASX listed lithium stocks jump on the news, including three of our lithium Investments.

These include the following (with yesterday’s moves):

Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX:VUL) - +8.76%

Latin Resources (ASX:LRS) - +8.33%

European Metals Holdings - +5.33%

What we think is playing out here is perhaps a bit of market pushback against bearish lithium narratives - which in part originated out of Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse in mid-June.

This, despite the lithium price holding steady at a very elevated level for the last three months:

After tax loss selling in June slowly ground to an end - we’re seeing a bit of life coming back into the market - with potentially a bit of bargain hunting going on.

We remain bullish on lithium’s prospects as part of a decade-long battery metals boom and remain long-term holders of the three companies listed above.

There’s an easy way to see these companies on our portfolio page, along with our other portfolio filters (click the image to see our lithium companies all in one place):


China considering US$1.1 trillion infrastructure stimulus

Jul 15, 2022

Macro: Commodities


China plans to make up to US$1.1 trillion in financing available for infrastructure spending, which we think will increase commodity demand. Read the following Bloomberg article for details.

Read the full article here.

Below are our key takeaways:

  • China is making 7.2 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) in funds available for infrastructure spending.
  • According to Citigroup, infrastructure investment in 2022 is likely to rise by 7.7% versus 2021.
  • President Xi Jinping has called for an “all out” effort to increase infrastructure spending this year to fuel economic growth and meet a GDP growth target of around 5.5%.

The Bloomberg article touches on the impacts of China’s COVID induced lockdowns on the domestic economy.

With economic growth tipped to slow, the Chinese government is getting ready to lean on fiscal stimulus through infrastructure investment to spur economic growth.

We think this type of fiscal stimulus is likely to become a common theme in China and the West, with macro themes like decarbonisation requiring massive CAPEX.

This infrastructure spending forms part of our “commodities supercycle” investment thesis, where we see increased fiscal stimulus and CAPEX investment spurring higher demand for commodities already facing supply shortages.


China considering US$220Bn in infrastructure stimulus

Jul 08, 2022

Macro: Commodities


The following Bloomberg article highlights China’s plan to spend up to US$220 billion to spur economic growth through infrastructure spending.

All of this new infrastructure will require more commodities.

Read the full article here.

Below are our key takeaways:

  • China’s Ministry of Finance is considering US$220 billion of infrastructure funding aimed at shoring up the country’s beleaguered economy.

  • The funding is to be brought forward from next year’s quota, marking the first time the issuance has been brought forward due to concerns around the dire state of the world’s second largest economy.

  • The funding would primarily be used on infrastructure spending to boost an economy hit by Covid lockdowns and a housing downturn.

  • Commodities rallied in European trading hours following the news, with copper moving 3.6% higher on the London Metal Exchange.

For over two years, we have been writing about an upcoming commodities supercycle brought about by infrastructure spending, following decades of underinvestment in the “real economy”.

All this investment in the “real economy” requires raw materials, which is why we think the macro backdrop for commodities over the next decade is strong.

The Bloomberg article highlights the readiness of the Chinese government to lean on fiscal stimulus to spur economic growth at a time when the Chinese economy is slowing down.

Generally, governments would try to respond to slowdowns in economic growth by cutting interest rates. With this tool exhausted after the COVID pandemic, we think infrastructure spending will become the new policy of choice for governments worldwide.

Again, this infrastructure spending will increase demand for commodities which we expect will take commodity prices higher.


VW CEO breaks down batteries and supply chain issues

Jul 08, 2022

Macro: Commodities


The following Bloomberg article showcases the moves major carmaker Volkswagen is making in the batteries industry.

Read the full article here.

Below are our key takeaways:

  • VW is pressing forward with investments along its battery supply chain, commencing construction at a new cell factory in Salzgitter, Germany, one of five facilities in Europe under the carmaker’s PowerCo subsidiary.
  • Salzgitter is home to VW’s main motor factory, and it is where the company last year opened an $80 million facility to research, develop and test EV batteries.
  • Roughly $2 billion will be invested in the new cell factory, where production is scheduled to begin in 2025.
  • VW expects its battery business to generate €20 billion in revenue by the end of this decade.
  • VW CEO Herbert Diess said, “We are invested in some startups and we are looking forward to a joint venture together with Bosch for the machine tools and equipment for those plants, so we’re really gearing up to become one of the bigger battery cell producers”.

The news is just another sign that downstream investment in battery supply chains is showing no signs of slowing down.

VW is one of the world's largest carmakers and is heavily investing in downstream production capacity. It expects this part of its business to generate over €20 billion in revenues by the end of the decade.

This is a situation where investment in midstream/downstream (manufacturing/battery industry) is far ahead of upstream investment (mining), this leads to the supply/demand imbalances for the raw materials required to produce batteries only becoming worse.

The imbalance comes from the timing of these mega projects. Building a downstream / midstream facility could take 1-4 years whereas it takes around 7 years on average to bring a new resource discovery into the production stage.

As a result, we think that raw materials prices will remain high for at least the next decade whilst the mining industry catches up to demand.


Superfund now a major shareholder of our lithium Investment

ASX:EMH Jun 17, 2022 Announcement


Investment Memo: EMH 2022

General: New major shareholder


Yesterday afternoon we noticed that our battery metals investment European Metals Holdings Ltd (ASX: EMH) welcomed a new substantial shareholder to its register.

United Super put out a “substantial shareholder notice” confirming that they now own 5.44% of the company.

On the second page of the notice we saw that a large part of the buying on market happened between the 4th of March and the 10th of June, purchasing a total of ~$7.9M in shares at an average price of $1.06 per share.

EMH is now trading well below that level at ~70.5c per share which tells us that institutional investors clearly see value in EMH shares even above the current trading price.


Interview with Exec-Chair at the RIU conference in Sydney

ASX:EMH May 10, 2022 Announcement


Here’s a short interview done EMH Executive Chairman Keith Coughlan from the RIU conference in Sydney.

A key takeaway for us was Keith’s emphasis on the changing macro environment in the EU as a result of the Russia/Ukraine conflict.

Keith mentioned that the EU is focusing on mineral security and energy security. Effectively making mention of the fact that there is now urgency to secure supply chains of all critical minerals.

We think that the significance of this and the whole “critical minerals” investment thematic is seriously underappreciated by markets.

This is where the macro tailwinds for EMH have become stronger.

Our battery metals investment European Metals Holdings Ltd (ASX: EMH) is developing the largest hard rock lithium resource in the EU.

EMH’s advanced stage lithium project is ideally located in the Czech Republic, on the border with battery-metal-hungry Germany and in close proximity to the continent’s largest automobile manufacturers.

We first invested in EMH in March 2021 well before “critical minerals” became mainstream and the Russia/Ukraine war put an emphasis on the need to secure domestic supplies of these critical raw materials.

Lithium sits on the critical minerals list of almost every developed economy and, most importantly, is on the EU list.

We expect all of these macro tailwinds to eventually translate into heightened interest inside the EU for projects like EMH’s.

Earlier in the year we launched our 2022 EMH Investment Memo where we detail the reasons why we continue to hold EMH in our portfolio, what we want to see the company achieve, and the key risks to our investment thesis.

Click here to check out our 2022 EMH Investment Memo.


Elon Musk talks up lithium during Tesla earnings call

ASX:EMH Apr 22, 2022


Tesla’s Q1 earnings conference call saw Elon Musk again talk up the lithium supply shortage.

His view on the lithium business was clear: “I’d encourage entrepreneurs out there looking for opportunities to get into the lithium business. The (profit) margins right now are practically software margins”.

“Do you like minting money? Well the lithium business is for you”.

The supply shortage Elon Musk is referencing is largely a result of battery manufacturing facilities coming online much quicker than the world's ability to discover and extract new lithium supplies.

Tesla isn't the only OEM (original equipment manufacturer) that is making investments in battery manufacturing facilities either. Other major OEMs, including VW and Daimler, are making large capital investments with an aim of electrifying their car fleets.

Just yesterday, Honda was the latest OEM to join this list. You can see our coverage of that in this previous Quick Take.

Almost on a daily basis the markets are being reminded of the global lithium supply shortage. Fortunately for our investments in the lithium sector, it isn't easy to make new lithium discoveries, let alone get them developed.

Building out new downstream facilities can be done in one to two years, whereas getting a new resource into production can take as long as seven years. As a result, we can’t see the shortage being addressed in the near term.

We hold the following lithium companies across our portfolios, which gives us exposure to this market. Click on the company names below to read our 2022 Investment Memos where we detail what we want to see the company achieve this year.

Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX:VUL) - Next Investors portfolio

  • Zero Carbon Lithium, development stage, European Union (Germany)

European Metals Holdings (ASX: EMH) - Wise Owl portfolio

  • Development stage, European Union (Czech Republic)

Latin Resources (ASX:LRS) - Catalyst Hunter Portfolio

  • Exploration Stage WA (Brazil)


Honda to spend $40 billion on electric vehicle fleet

ASX:EMH Apr 21, 2022


Long time readers will know we have been investing in companies that will provide the raw materials that are critical for the electrification of the global economy.

We have particularly emphasised the shift away from internal combustion engines towards electric vehicles (EV’s) as one of the main demand drivers in the medium term for these raw materials.

This morning, we saw one of the world's biggest carmakers Honda also commit to fully electrifying its car fleet by 2040 with $40 billion in investment into its electric vehicles manufacturing capabilities.

All of these vehicles will require even more lithium supply to be able to produce the lithium-ion batteries which feeds directly through to the prospects of our lithium investments across our Next Investors, Catalyst Hunter, and Wise Owl portfolios.

With other major OEM’s including Tesla, VW, Daimler all making large capital investments in developing large scale battery manufacturing facilities with commitments to electrifying their car fleets, we expect demand for lithium to remain strong over the next 5-10 years.

In a previous Quick Take we went through a presentation by Pilbara Minerals CEO Ken Brinsden, where he highlighted that it takes 1-2 years to build out these facilities whereas it takes ~7 years to bring a new resource discovery into the production stage.

More investment by another OEM as large as Honda will mean there is even more pressure on the demand side of the lithium market.

With lithium carbonate prices trading at ~US$78,000/t, up from ~US$13,000/t this time last year, Ken’s comments clearly highlight the structural supply/demand issues behind this move.

We hold the following lithium companies across our portfolios, which gives us exposure to this market. Click on the company names below to read our 2022 Investment Memos where we detail what we want to see the company achieve this year.

Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX:VUL) - Next Investors portfolio

  • Zero Carbon Lithium, development stage, European Union (Germany)

European Metals Holdings (ASX: EMH) - Wise Owl portfolio

  • Development stage, European Union (Czech Republic)

Latin Resources (ASX:LRS) - Catalyst Hunter Portfolio

  • Exploration Stage WA (Brazil)


Elon Musk weighs in on lithium prices

ASX:EMH Apr 11, 2022


Elon Musk had something to say about sky-high lithium prices over the weekend.

Musk dropped a comment in on Twitter:

All of this feeds directly through to the prospects of our lithium investments across our Next Investors, Catalyst Hunter, and Wise Owl portfolios, more specifically:

Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX:EMH)

Latin Resources (ASX:LRS)

European Metals Holdings (ASX:EMH)

Each of these three companies is at a different stage in their life cycle. Vulcan has multiple offtakes secured, Latin Resources is an exploration stage company hunting a JORC resource in Brazil and EMH is working on a DFS and offtake negotiations.

Which means different styles of advancing the company’s business.

For example, we note that Vulcan CEO Francis Wedin also took the Musk comment as an opportunity to make a pitch.

Below is the lithium price chart, which is starting to level off after a meteoric rise:

This run up in price has raised the spectre of demand destruction, and the potential for a 25% increase in the cost of an EV according to Morgan Stanley.

In this context, we think Musk’s comments indicate that Tesla and other EV manufacturers may look to take equity stakes in lithium companies to secure their access to the battery metal supply chain.

We also note that EMH in particular could stand to benefit from consistently elevated lithium prices as it makes their deposit more economic.

The EMH share price is in a consolidation phase and we think this is indicative of market sentiment towards lower grade lithium deposits - no matter how ideal their location (EMH is based in the Czech Republic).

Musk made a follow up comment regarding lithium processing as well, saying “We have some cool ideas for sustainable lithium extraction & refinement.

If Tesla or other companies can make a breakthrough in processing technology or alternatively, lithium prices go even higher, we expect companies with well-defined resources (like EMH) to garner additional attention.

What’s next: We expect more EV battery makers to consider taking stakes in lithium companies, and with regards to EMH we’re looking forward to the completed DFS, progress on financing and potentially a positive surprise in the form of offtake agreement.