Mineral Exploration

You need a Prospecting Licence to undertake mineral exploration in Ireland. A licence holder has the exclusive right to explore for certain specified minerals. Applicants for a State Mining Facility to develop a mineral deposit must hold a current prospecting licence. We typically define licences by townland boundaries.

Application and Issue Procedures

Applicants for a licence must use the Application form, include the required fees, and provide:

  • Evidence of technical ability and financial viability
  • Reasons why you are applying for particular minerals, and an appropriate exploration programme
  • Commit to expenditure requirements and agree with standard licence terms
  • Insurance against third party claims or environmental damage, with the Minister indemnified.
We publish notices in local newspapers, informing the public where a Prospecting Licence will be granted. You can make submissions or objections within 21 days from publication of the notice.

Prohibition on exploration for certain minerals in Ireland

The Minister banned exploration for uranium in Ireland in 2007. Exploration for mercury is also prohibited under the Minamata Convention.