I propose to take Questions Nos, 152 and 153 together.
I would refer the Deputy to the six-monthly report to the Oireachtas by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, compiled under the relevant provisions of the Minerals Development Acts 1940 to 1999. The report sets out details of the State Mining Leases, State Mining Licences and Prospecting Licences current as of 31 December 2012, and the total amount of all moneys collected by the Minister under or by virtue of any such Lease or Licence or otherwise in connection with the Minerals Development Acts for the twelve months ended 31 December 2012. The next such report will be for the six months ending on 30th June 2013. It will be presented to the Oireachtas as soon as possible thereafter. Information on all current licences, including maps of locations, is accessible on the Department’s website.
As regards environmental considerations for extraction of minerals, I am precluded by the Environmental Protection Agency legislation from including conditions in a State Mining Lease or License which relate to control of environmental emissions. These matters are regulated by the Agency under an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Licence which is a requirement for all operating mines. In addition, any new mining development requires planning permission. Planning applications for mines are subject to Environmental Impact Assessment, which involves preparation by the developer of a detailed Environmental Impact Statement. This must entail consideration of the potential impacts of the project on population, fauna, flora, soil, water, air, climatic factors, material assets, including the architectural and archaeological heritage, landscape and the inter-relationship between the above factors, and will include a properly costed closure plan. It is a requirement of all three permits that a financial surety or bond is in place from the outset to guarantee the availability of funding to implement the closure plan, whether at the end of life of the mine or in the event of premature closure.