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Lithium junior Kali Metals soars on ASX debut

Shares in lithium explorer Kali Metals (ASX: KM1) jumped as much as 86% on its first day of trading on the Australian Stock Exchange, following an initial public offering in November that opened and closed in under 30 minutes.

The Western Australia-based junior entered the ASX on the right foot, having raised A$15 million ($10m) on a heavily oversubscribed IPO through the issue of 60 million shares at A$0.25 each ($0.17).

Kali attracted interest from some of the local mining sector heavyweights, including Mineral Resources’ managing director Chris Ellison through his private company, Wabelo.

The success of the company, a spin off of Kalamazoo Resources (ASX: KZR) and Karora Resources (TSX: KRR) lithium assets, contrasts with the struggles of other Australian juniors. 

Core Lithium (ASX: CXO) had to halt operations at its Finniss complex last week due to what it called “tough” market conditions. Other small players have been at the centre of a battle for controlling sources of the coveted battery metal. Albemarle (NYSE: ALB), the world’s largest lithium producer, agreed last year to buy Liontown Resources (ASX: LTR) for $4.3 billion. The takeover was blocked by Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman, who acquired a 19.9% stake in the target company. 

Rinehart also thwarted the takeover of Azure Minerals (ASX: AZS) by Chile’s SQM (NYSE: SQM) by buying an 18% blocking stake.

Australian lithium juniors are in a place of disadvantage compared to peers elsewhere, as several have high levels of Chinese ownership or processing. This would make them ineligible for US government subsidies, as the Biden Administration issued a draft guidance in early December that defined a “foreign entity of concern” any company with more than 25% owned by Chinese, North Korean, Iranian or Russian shareholders.

Ganfeng and Tianqi, two Chinese firms, were among the first foreign players to invest in Australia’s lithium sector. They still hold large stakes in major mines like Mt Marion and Greenbushes.

Kali Metals’ board comprises Sloan as MD, Kalamazoo chairperson and CEO Luke Reinehr as non-executive chairperson, supported by non-executive directors Paul Adams, John Leddy and Simon Coyle.

The stock closed up 74% at A$0.435 each, leaving Kali Metals with a market capitalization of A$33.2 million ($21.5m).

Source: MINING.COM – Read More