I propose to take Questions Nos. 1490 and 1550 together.
A Prospecting Licence application was made to my Department by MOAG Copper Gold Resources on 27 November, 2018. The application requests consent to prospect in a number of townlands in County Galway. This application was published in the Connacht Tribune on 6 June 2019 and was open for public consultation for a period of 30 days.
The application remains under consideration as the Department is assessing the submissions received by members of the public and is also awaiting additional information requested from the Company. It is expected that it will be a number of weeks before all of the issues raised have been fully considered and the additional information from the company is assessed. Following on from this, a final decision will be made on the application.
I am satisfied with the standards of ecological assessments applied to Prospecting Licence applications, including the assessments undertaken in regard to this application.
All applications for prospecting licences are subject to screening for Appropriate Assessment by my Department in compliance with the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 (SI 477 of 2011). Should a licensee propose to undertake prospecting activities within or near a designated Natura 2000 site, it is a requirement that an Appropriate Assessment Screening Report, which would include an ecological assessment, shall be carried out and submitted as part of any application for approval to undertake such works. My Department also consults with the National Parks and Wildlife Service before any such proposed works are approved.