Ireland-based exploration company Arkle Resources has received three licences, covering an area of 163ha, with a prospect for lithium in Zimbabwe.

Located in the Insiza District of the Matabeleland South Province, the licences cover a small area.

Following identification of the free ground, Arkle pegged the area and submitted an application for the licences.

In the late 1960s, the ground was subject to limited mining of lepidolite, a lithium-bearing mineral associated with spodumene.

The company said that the licences represent a ‘low-cost entry’ into Zimbabwe, one of the globe’s biggest lithium producers.

Arkle chairman John Teeling said: “The directors have long experience in Zimbabwe and are aware of the extensive history and potential for hard rock lithium in the country. The lithium is contained in spodumene/pegmatites.

“It is only recently that rising lithium prices and the potential of a massive supply gap to meet battery demand have made the extraction of hard rock lithium viable.

“We have examined what ground was available and been granted three licences, one of which was a small lepidolite producer – a lithium-associated mineral. We continue to examine additional opportunities in battery metals.”

Earlier this year, Arkle and its joint venture partner Group Eleven Resources started drilling on the Stonepark group of licences in Limerick, Ireland.

Group Eleven Resources has a 76.56% stake in the Stonepark project while Arkle owns the remaining 23.44% holding.

The property is located adjacent to Glencore’s Pallas Green deposit, which is said to be one of the world’s largest undeveloped zinc projects.