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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 14 Jun 2000

Vol. 521 No. 2

Written Answers. - Onshore Exploration.

Bernard J. Durkan


82 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources the most recent and satisfactory onshore mining or exploration results; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16934/00]

As I indicated in my statutory six monthly report to the Oireachtas for the period to 31 December 1999, as of 31 December 1999 there were three extant State mining licences, 12 extant State mining leases, and 463 extant prospecting licences; and in the period of six months ended 31 December 1999 there were 53 prospecting licences were granted, 42 prospecting licences were surrendered, andtotal receipts from leases, permissions and licences for mining and exploration amounted to £623,575.73.

The combined output from the zinc-lead mines at Tara, Galmoy and Lisheen brought Ireland to eighth largest in the world as a producer of zinc in concentrates. When Lisheen reaches full production we expect to be in sixth place. The opencast gypsum mine at Knocknacran, County Monaghan, continues to provide the raw material for plaster and board manufacture at nearby Kingscourt and to supply all cement manufacturers on the island.

In spite of a world wide downturn in investment in minerals exploration, Ireland has not only maintained the level of expenditure by explorationists but increased it to in excess of £10 million in 1999.