Why did the Sayona Mining share price crash 32% in August?

The lithium junior started the month well but had lost a third of its value by the end of it.

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The Sayona Mining Ltd (ASX: SYA) share price lost a third of its value over the month of August.

Let's take a look at what happened with the lithium and graphite miner during the month.

Off to the races…

Sayona Mining started the month so well, announcing record production in its June quarter report.

A continuing operational ramp-up at its flagship North American Lithium (NAL) project in Québec, Canada, resulted in record spodumene concentrate production of 29,610 tonnes.

NAL is ahead of schedule with FY23 full-year production at 33,120 tonnes by 30 June. The average grade is 5.48% Li2O.

The Sayona Mining share price rose 6.9% on the day of the news to close to 15.5 cents.

The very next day, the ASX 200 lithium miner had more positive news for the market.

Sayona announced its first revenue and shipment from NAL. The shipment of approximately 20,500 tonnes went to an unnamed international buyer.

Sayona Mining managing director and CEO Brett Lynch said it was "another significant milestone as we fast‐track production at North America's key source of hard rock lithium".

The Sayona Mining share price rose initially to 16 cents on the news but finished lower at 15 cents.

Sayona Mining share price stumbles

A week later, the stock tumbled 16% on 8 August amid no news from the company but continuing weakness in the lithium price.

Another week later, and the Sayona Mining share price was resetting its 52-week low for the seventh time in August. The lithium stock rebounded but then came the news that none of us saw coming — the abrupt departure of the CEO.

Investors sure didn't like that.

They sent the Sayona Mining share price into a death spiral, totalling 27% in one day as punishment.

The next day, investors decided the ASX 200 lithium share had been oversold and piled back in.

Sayona Mining shares surged 26% and were the top risers of the ASX 200 on the day.

The ASX 200 lithium miner said Lynch resigned for personal reasons with immediate effect.

Lynch joined Sayona Mining in 2019. His interim successor is non-executive board director James Brown.

Brown has more than three decades of mining and management experience. This includes more than 10 years in lithium development and operations.

Foolish takeaway

In August, Sayona Mining provided a case study of the risks and rewards of small-cap shares investing.

ASX small caps are notorious for greater volatility than mid-cap or large-cap shares.

Sayona Mining has a market capitalisation of $1.13 billion.

The appeal of small-cap shares is the potential for outsized growth and returns. But with higher potential returns comes higher potential risk.

5-year snapshot of the Sayona Mining share price

Over the past five years, the Sayona Mining share price has risen by 283%.

This compares to a 118.5% rise for the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO).

Motley Fool contributor Bronwyn Allen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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