Legislation and Policy
Government policy is to support the development of Ireland's mineral resources in an environmentally and socially responsible way. The economic contribution of mineral exploration and extraction is recognised through the provision of well-paid secure jobs in rural areas that often have relatively limited employment opportunities.
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment has statutory responsibility for regulation of the exploration for and development of all minerals, other than stone, clay, sand and gravel.
Mineral exploration and mining are regulated under the Minerals Development Acts 1940 to 1999. The Minerals Development Act 2017 was enacted on 26 July 2017 and is due to be commenced. There were also a number of Regulations covering fees, information to be provided with licence applications, procedures for claiming compensation etc.
The Exploration and Mining Division (EMD) is responsible for the administration of regulatory aspects of Ireland’s minerals industry by means of a system of a Prospecting Licences, and Mining Leases and Licences.
EMD promotes responsible investment in mineral exploration in Ireland through provision of information on a specialist web-site, attendance at trade shows and by industry contacts.
At the EU level, the Commission has recently launched an initiative aimed at securing secure supplies of raw material for European industry, following on from a study on the competitiveness of the non-energy extractive industry. Sustainable Development Indices have been developed to give a picture of the industry's progress in this area. The Directive on the Management of Waste from the Extractive Industry sets minimum standards for the management of this important waste stream across the EU.