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July 27th, 2023 | 08:05 CEST

Plenty of upside potential: Plug Power, Standard Lithium, Defense Metals

  • Mining
  • RareEarths
  • Lithium
  • renewableenergies
Photo credits: Lanxess

After Nel ASA exceeded sales expectations in the second quarter, Goldman Sachs recommended the stock as a buy. The price target is NOK 20, offering almost 50% upside potential. Now Plug Power is also recommended as a buy, and analysts see a significantly higher price potential. Experts see nearly 200% price potential for Standard Lithium after the Company published convincing drilling results. Not yet on the screen of analysts is Defense Metals. But this could change soon. The Company is developing an exciting rare earths project in North America, and the preliminary economic valuation of over CAD 500 million gives the stock plenty of upside.

time to read: 3 minutes | Author: Fabian Lorenz
ISIN: PLUG POWER INC. DL-_01 | US72919P2020 , STANDARD LITHIUM LTD | CA8536061010 , DEFENSE METALS CORP. | CA2446331035 , NEL ASA NK-_20 | NO0010081235

Table of contents:


    Defense Metals: CAD 517 million enterprise value and CAD 60 million market capitalization

    "China has basically weaponized rare earths, which has always been a fear, but I am hoping this will get governments to put more money into the sector, Craig Taylor, CEO of Defense Metals, said in an interview with kitco.com. Defense Metals is developing the Wicheeda rare earths project in the Canadian state of British Columbia. Excitingly for shareholders, last year's preliminary economic valuation showed an after-tax net present value of CAD 517 million and an after-tax internal rate of return of 18%. Defense Metals is currently valued at approximately CAD 60 million on the stock market.

    A preliminary feasibility study is underway, and a pilot plant is expected to be completed this year. After converting the project into a mine, Defense Metals could achieve a 10% market share of global rare earth metals production. "We should be ready in the first quarter of 2024, and then we will be one of the few rare earths projects in North America and globally that has reached the pre-feasibility stage and then the feasibility stage," Taylor continued in the interview with kitco.com.

    Standard Lithium: Strong drill results, strong price target

    Standard Lithium has again reported strong drill results - this time at the project in the US state of Arkansas. One sample assayed 581 mg/L lithium, which the Company understands represents the "highest confirmed grade" in Arkansas brines. The lithium grade is as high as at the Texas project. There, the Company reported a sample grading 634 mg/L lithium as part of a resource expansion.

    Standard COO Andy Robinson: "We continue to be pleasantly surprised by the lithium grades measured at our Arkansas and Texas projects." Further, the Company announced that the preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for the Arkansas project, using a conservative assessment of lithium brine grades across the project area, resulted in an after-tax net present value of USD 1.97 billion (using an 8% discount rate).

    The lithium brine resource of the Arkansas Project, last updated in 2021 to reflect the potential unitary production area, contains a total of 1,195,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent in the inferred category. Mining an average of 30,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate per year would provide a 20-year mine life. Lanxess has secured a stake in the Arkansas Project, enabling the German company to acquire up to 49% of the project company once the final feasibility study is available.

    Analysts at Eight Capital are very positive about the development at Standard Lithium. They say the study results are positive, and a positive definitive feasibility study is foreseeable. Even if Lanxess does not participate, they say there are enough potential partners. For the analysts, the Standard Lithium share is a "buy". The price target is USD 12. Currently, the stock is trading at around USD 4.40.

    Plug Power: Target price USD 22 or USD 14?

    Analysts also see significant upside potential for Plug Power. Northland Capital Markets considers a price for the share of the hydrogen pureplay of 22 USD possible and recommends it as "Outperform ". Currently, Plug's stock is trading below USD 12. Analysts are confident that Plug will get a handle on cash flow generation and loss reduction. Therefore, they say reaching break-even by the end of 2023 is realistic. It should then be possible to generate positive cash flow in the coming year.

    JPMorgan is somewhat more cautious about the share price potential. Although their analysts rate the Plug Power share as "Overweight" in the context of a clean-tech study, the price target of USD 14 is significantly more conservative. They say political support under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of the US continues to provide a tailwind. However, the exact support measures are not yet foreseeable. It will likely take until the fall for clarity on this matter.


    The energy transition is creating additional demand for rare earths. This increasing demand is being exploited increasingly by the current main producer and makes companies like Defense Metals intriguing. When looking at the preliminary economic assessment, the current valuation seems anything but high. In the lithium sector, Standard Lithium appears to have overcome price weakness. For Plug Power, uncertainty remains as to whether the Company will finally get its losses under control.


    Conflict of interest

    Pursuant to §85 of the German Securities Trading Act (WpHG), we point out that Apaton Finance GmbH as well as partners, authors or employees of Apaton Finance GmbH (hereinafter referred to as "Relevant Persons") may hold shares or other financial instruments of the aforementioned companies in the future or may bet on rising or falling prices and thus a conflict of interest may arise in the future. The Relevant Persons reserve the right to buy or sell shares or other financial instruments of the Company at any time (hereinafter each a "Transaction"). Transactions may, under certain circumstances, influence the respective price of the shares or other financial instruments of the Company.

    In addition, Apaton Finance GmbH is active in the context of the preparation and publication of the reporting in paid contractual relationships.

    For this reason, there is a concrete conflict of interest.

    The above information on existing conflicts of interest applies to all types and forms of publication used by Apaton Finance GmbH for publications on companies.

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    Der Autor

    Fabian Lorenz

    For more than twenty years, the Cologne native has been intensively involved with the stock market, both professionally and privately. He is particularly passionate about national and international small and micro caps.

    About the author



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