Lithium Americas (LAC) stock rebounded sharply in July and carried its momentum through August, gaining 15.7% in the month, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Shares of the lithium miner rallied 42% between just July and August. That's how wild commodity stocks can be.
Forget about revenues and profits -- Lithium Americas is yet to start production. Yet although investors are pumping big money into lithium stocks, Lithium Americas has become a hot favorite for a reason, with the stock rising another 9% so far in September as of this writing.
Two things are attracting investor attention in Lithium Americas stock: a lithium boom and the miner's path to first revenue.
Lithium carbonate prices rallied in August and continue to inch higher -- they're now within striking distance of their all-time highs hit in March, according to data from Trading Economics.
While a boom in electric vehicle (EV) sales continues to drive demand, the war between Russia and Ukraine and a drought-driven power crisis in China that has forced lithium producers to suspend operations have thrown lithium supply out of gear.
Just this week, in an interview with Yahoo! Finance, CEO Keith Phillips of Piedmont Lithium warned that there's not enough lithium in the world to meet the Biden administration's goal of increasing the share of EVs to 50% of all new car sales by 2030. Most EVs today run on lithium-ion batteries.
Lithium Americas is setting itself up to play the EV boom by advancing its Cauchari-Olaroz mine in Argentina toward its first production. The company owns a 44.8% stake in the mine, with China's Ganfeng Lithium owning 46.7% and the Argentinian firm Jujuy Energía y Minería Sociedad del Estado (JEMSE) accounting for 8.5%. As of July 28, Lithium Americas had completed 90% of construction at the mine and expects early-stage production by 2023. The company also owns another advanced-development stage mine in Argentina.
Meanwhile, Lithium Americas expects to start early construction works at its Thacker Pass project in the U.S. this year. The mine is known to have the largest lithium resource in the U.S. but has been embroiled in legal hurdles for several years now.
With Lithium Americas closer to production at a time when lithium prices are hitting record highs, it's not surprising to see the stock rally.
There's something else that's caught investor attention: Lithium Americas' plans to separate U.S. and Argentina operations, which investors believe could help it unlock greater value, given Argentina's progress toward production.
In September so far, another overhang on lithium stocks, including Lithium Americas, has been lifted after the Chileans rejected a proposed new constitution that considered new royalties and taxes on mining companies and was feared to throttle growth in the sector. Chile has the world's second-highest lithium reserves, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
With so much happening in the industry and within Lithium Americas, investor interest in the stock is unlikely to wane anytime soon.
Correction: The original version of this report misstated Lithium Americas' stake in the Cauchari-Olaroz mine in Argentina.