Written Answers. - Mining Licences.

Séamus Hughes

Question:

654 Mr. Hughes asked the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications whether he has granted or renewed the prospecting licences to companies (details supplied); if not, the reason therefor; if he has given an undertaking to grant a mining lease under section 13 of the Minerals Development Act, 1940; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16241/96]

As indicated in my reply to the Deputy's Question No. 911 on Thursday, 23 July 1996 the six licences had been renewed and re-issued to Glencar Explorations and Andaman Resources on 27 May 1996.

I have not given an undertaking under section 13 of the Minerals Development Act, 1940, to grant a State mining lease over any of the areas in question and no such undertaking has been sought from me. I might add that it would be premature to give such an undertaking having regard to the fact that, while the existence of mineralisation has been confirmed, a considerable amount of work remains to be done to confirm its extent and the commercial viability of mining it.
If the holders of the prospecting licences continue to comply with the terms of their licence and have good grounds to make application to me for a State mining lease in due course, I would of course consider their application. No mining could proceed in any of the areas in question until after the necessary planning permission, Environmental Protection Agency licence and State mining lease had been granted.