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Mining Licences

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 17 December 2013

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Ceisteanna (348)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

348. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the licensing arrangements for mining in Ireland; the requirements that are in place for public consultation and local opinion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54237/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The exclusive right to work minerals, regardless of ownership, vests in the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources under the Minerals Development Acts 1940 to 1999, with a few specific exceptions. The Acts cover a wide range of minerals but exclude stone, sand, gravel and clay, peat, and petroleum/ natural gas. Mineral exploration (prospecting) and mining are regulated under the Acts through prospecting licences, that allow the holder to search for minerals but not to mine, and State Mining Leases and Licences (collectively State Mining Facilities) which govern the extraction of identified mineral deposits. It is unlawful to work minerals without a State Mining Facility. The Minerals Development Act 1979 provides for a public notice procedure that must be undertaken before granting a State Mining Licence to work privately owned minerals, which affords the opportunity for mineral owners to make submissions to the Minister. The Act also provides for the payment of compensation to the mineral owner. is recouped from the Licensee as a condition of the licence.

In addition to State Mining Facilities, a mining operation requires two key permits before mining activities can start. These are:- planning permission under the Planning & Development Acts and Regulations; and an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Licence (IPPCL) issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. Environmental Impact Assessment regulations require the submission of an Environmental Impact Statement with every planning application for a mine. These processes provide for extensive rights of public consultation and opportunities for local opinion to be taken into account.

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