Piedmont Lithium is a best idea for 2023, according to Cowen. Analyst David Deckelbaum gave the emerging lithium producer an outperform rating, saying the stock could surge more than 60% next year on the back of strong commodity prices, and several North American projects. "PLL is positioned for a meaningful re-rate in our view in 2023 as ongoing lithium pricing strength intersects with PLL's first cash flows that we believe are under-appreciated with the restart of the NAL mine in Quebec," Deckelbaum wrote in a note Wednesday. "Several other catalysts including future offtake announcements, updates on Ghana and Carolina permitting will drive shares towards our $90/share price target in our view," Deckelbaum added. Piedmont Lithium beat the broader market this year as lithium prices surged more than 150%, according to data from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. Shares are up more than 4% in 2022, while the S & P 500 is down about 18%. However, investors are underappreciating other catalysts for the stock, according to the note. Piedmont's expected to benefit as the U.S. transitions its energy infrastructure away from fossil fuels, and automakers rush to produce electric vehicles. In September, Piedmont announced plans to build a new lithium refining plant in east Tennessee , which is expected to be one of the largest facilities of its kind in the country in 2025, according to the note. It's set to produce 30,000 metric tons of lithium per year, enough to supply roughly 500,000 electric vehicles annually. For now, though, the company has no active lithium mines in the U.S., relying instead on operations in Quebec and Ghana. Piedmont has a stake in the North American Lithium restart project in Quebec, Canada that's set to come online in the first half of 2023, a project investors are overlooking, according to the note. It also has a project in North Carolina, where the company's also headquartered. "PLL offers a pure-play emerging expression on the proliferation of the U.S. battery supply chain that is underappreciated in our view," read the note. Cowen's $90 price target is roughly 65% above where Piedmont shares closed Tuesday. —CNBC's Michael Bloom and Pippa Stevens contributed to this report.
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