Core Lithium share price leaps 9% as results catch short sellers by surprise

Short sellers will be feeling the pain from Core Lithium's share price surge on Monday.

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The Core Lithium Ltd (ASX: CXO) share price is soaring higher today.

Shares in the All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) lithium stock closed Friday trading for 9.1 cents. In morning trade on Monday, shares are swapping hands for 9.9 cents apiece, up 8.8%.

For some context, the All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) is down 0.2% at this time.

This outperformance follows the release of the lithium miner's preliminary results for FY 2024, which caught a raft of short sellers wrong-footed today.

Here's what the company just reported.

Why is the Core Lithium share price surging?

Investors are bidding up the Core Lithium share price on Monday after the company revealed it had exceeded its FY 2024 production guidance. Over the 12 months, Core produced 95,020 dry metric tonnes (dmt) of spodumene concentrate and shipped 97,423 dmt.

That tops management's revised guidance of 90,000dmt-95,000dmt of production. And the spodumene concentrate sales exceeded revised guidance of 80,000dmt-90,000dmt.

This was aided by the quarter just past, which saw record shipments of spodumene concentrate of 33,027 dmt, atop of 19,771 dmt of lithium fines.

Lithium fines sales in FY 2024 came in at 66,140 dmt.

And the balance sheets took a turn for the better, with Core Lithium reporting an unaudited cash balance of $87.6 million at 30 June, up from $80.4 million at the end of March. The company has no debt.

The miner said it will now pause its Finniss operations, with restart assessments currently underway. It will now prioritise the safe preservation of the Finniss assets in a restart ready state.

Core is also preparing to commence drilling programs at Shoobridge, Finniss and Napperby. Results of that drilling campaign are expected in the coming months.

What did management say?

Commenting on the results sending the Core Lithium share price soaring today, CEO Paul Brown said, "I would like to commend the team on the operational performance in FY24, particularly the safe and orderly cessation of production activities at Finniss while achieving record production and shipments."

Brown added:

Our commitment is to judiciously protect our balance sheet by reducing costs across the organisation and making prudent investments in our assets where we believe it can grow shareholder value.

Central to this is putting Finniss in a position where operations can rapidly resume with minimal capital. This would only occur when we are confident the lithium market conditions support such a decision.

Our strategic focus will be on making Finniss a more robust operation in the future, and exploration is a key enabler of this.

In FY 2025, we will be drill testing priority targets around Finniss, potentially adding meaningful life to future lithium mining operations. We will also be advancing earlier stage, low multi-commodity exploration activities within our Northern Territory landholding to demonstrate the value in these projects.

Our business will stay agile and prepared for future opportunities, both within the company and externally, as they arise.

Core Lithium share price snapshot

Despite today's bounce, the Core Lithium share price remains down 89% over 12 months.

Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben 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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