As the Deputy may be aware, three comprehensive letters of information and clarification have been sent to the Cavan Mining Objection Group to date and all of the issues now raised have been addressed previously. In addition, a presentation was given to Cavan County Council by the Chief Geologist of the Exploration and Mining Division of my Department on April 9th at which members of the Cavan Mining Objection Group were present. For clarity, I will ask my officials to send a copy of all correspondence and of the presentation given to Cavan County Council directly to the Deputy.
In brief, in response to the points raised in the correspondence attached to the Deputy’s question, I can confirm:
- To date, where minerals have been found and companies have purchased land, this has been agreed with the landowner. There have been no instances to date where a landowner has been forced to sell their land. In addition, to date, there have been no compulsory acquisitions of land for mining development.
- The text of my Department’s letter to the Cavan Mining Objection Group, dated 28 September, identified the environmental safeguards that have been put in place to guard against the possibility of any potential significant environmental impacts arising. It is important to note that in the case of mining, the environmental assessments are carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- It is noted that Ireland ranks highly in the Policy Perception Index (PPI) because of its robust and transparent regulatory system. The transparency of the expectations with regard to adherence to licence conditions and protection of the environment provide clarity to any exploration company considering investment in this jurisdiction.
- The Directors of BMEx Ltd. carried out two site visits in the locality. Other than that, the data analysis and compilation has been desk-based.
- It should be noted that no application for mining has been made. I reiterate that prospecting and exploration activities are non-intrusive and temporary in nature and environmental impact is minimal.
The up-to-date position regarding these Prospecting Licences is that BMEx Ltd. have carried out data compilation and geological mapping in the Prospecting Licence Areas, and, as a result of this work, they have downgraded the prospectivity of the project and have decided to prioritise exploration elsewhere. The licences have been recently surrendered by the company.
I trust this and all of the previous correspondence clarifies matters for the Deputy.