To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the extent to which any new indications of commercially viable finds of oil, gas or other minerals has been brought to his attention in each of the past three years to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Bernard J. Durkan.
* For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 17th July, 2014.
Minister of State (Mr. Joe McHugh T.D.)
While the number of active minerals prospecting licences indicate the buoyant state of mineral exploration in Ireland, no new commercially viable deposits of minerals have been discovered in the last three years although there have been some encouraging results, particularly in Counties Limerick and Clare. It is too early, however, to determine whether these results will lead to the identification of commercially viable deposits or to estimate the economic benefits that might accrue. An agreement was reached in December 2013 with Boliden Tara Mines Ltd on the terms for new State Mining Leases, allowing for the extension of operations at the mine.
There have been no commercial discoveries of oil or gas within the territory of the State in the last three years. Ireland, however, now has the highest number of petroleum exploration authorisations in place since exploration began in our offshore more than four decades ago. This demonstrates that exploration in the Irish offshore is moving in the right direction.