Minerals Ireland

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Ireland has a long mining tradition, diverse geology with a wealth of mineral potential and a highly developed infrastructure.

The Geoscience Regulation Office of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications is responsible for regulating minerals exploration and development in Ireland.

This website contains information on the


Prospecting Licence Competition

Ground available for application under competition is offered every three months on 1 February, 1 May, 1 August and 1 November.

The 1 February 2024 Prospecting Licence Competition is open from 1 February to 31 March 2024.

A shapefile of Prospecting Licence Area Status as of 01 February 2024 is available for download (65MB).

01 November 2023 State Mining and Prospecting Areas Map

The State Mining and Prospecting Areas Map - 1 November 2023 is available for download. (A0 PDF 6MB).

A Social, Environmental and Economic Assessment of Galmoy and Lisheen Mines

27 May 2020: The AECOM report is an independent assessment of the Galmoy Mine in Co. Kilkenny and Lisheen Mine in Co. Tipperary which ceased operation in 2012 and 2015 respectively. Both mines are now at an advanced stage of rehabilitation or have entered aftercare (monitoring period after mine rehabilitation).

The mines are the first in Ireland to be opened, operated and closed under modern mining, planning and environmental regulation. The Exploration and Mining Division of the Department saw the opportunity to critically assess the effects of mining on the locality throughout the entire mine life cycle. The report assesses the impact of the mines on communities from a social, environmental and economic aspect. The report is available for download (pdf, 4.6MB)

Expert Environmental Guidance for Mineral Exploration

‚ÄčThe Department engaged environmental consultants to evaluate whether certain exploration methodologies are likely to have a significant effect on the environment.

A report for each of the main exploration methodologies was produced which outlines their likely significant effect on various Annex I habitats and Annex II species listed in the EU Birds and Habitats Directives.  The reports provide guidance on screening for Appropriate Assessment of the potential environmental impacts by the competent Public Authority (Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment) within the framework of relevant European and Irish legislation and other international conventions, based on best available scientific knowledge.

The mineral exploration methodologies evaluated are available on the Department's website.

Minerals Development Act 2017

The Minerals Development Act 2017 was enacted on the 26 July 2017 and is due to be commenced.

Exploration Drilling - Guidance on Discharge to Groundwater

August 2019: Exploration Drilling - Guidance on Discharge to Surface and Groundwater (2019) is available for download. 

Mine Data Release

March 2017: Data from Lisheen Mine and Galmoy Mine have been made publically available.  This data includes mine closure plans, geology, groundwater and mining data.   

For further information and to download data, please click here.

Seismic Data Release

March 2017: Seismic data acquired by mineral exploration companies in Ireland has become publically available.

For further information and to download data, please click here.

Seismic Surveying and Reporting

October 2016: The draft "Guidelines for Seismic Surveying and Submission of Seismic Data to EMD" are available.   

Recreational Gold Panning in Ireland

September 2014: Update of Recreational Gold Panning Frequently Asked Questions

Economic Contribution of Mineral Exploration and Mining in Ireland

September 2013: Report on the Economic Contribution of Mineral Exploration and Mining in Ireland        

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