Prospecting licences may be granted following environmental screening by my Department including screening for Appropriate Assessment. This screening takes into account designated sites including Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas, Natural Heritage Areas, Nature Reserves and National Parks.
An application for a mining licence is a separate and independent process from prospecting licensing. Mining licences are only issued after planning permission and an IPC licence has been granted by the Local Authority and the EPA respectively. If an applicant can demonstrate that the proposed mine will not have significant adverse effects on a Designated Site, or alternatively, should imperative reasons of overriding public interest exist in accordance with the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 (SI 477 of 2011), permission could be granted.