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Tellus 'Takes Off' Over South East Ireland

5 May 2016

  • Aircraft will survey eastern Waterford, parts of southern Tipperary and Kilkenny, and western Wexford

  • Horse and livestock owners alerted to low-flying aircraft

The next phase of Tellus - a geological mapping project which collects geochemical and geophysical data on rocks, soil and water across Ireland - is ready for take-off over South East Ireland.  Due to fly over the next month (weather permitting), a small aircraft equipped with state-of-the-art technology will traverse the sky over eastern Waterford, parts of southern Tipperary and Kilkenny, and western Wexford collecting a host of geological information.    

The resulting data has the potential to deliver positive economic, environmental and agricultural benefits. Previous phases of Tellus have prompted significant international interest in mineral exploration and provided information for more detailed radon risk maps.  

The Tellus project, run by the Geological Survey of Ireland and funded by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR), aims to survey 50% of the country by end 2017. This latest airborne phase of the survey is a partnership between DCENR and Unicorn Mineral Resources Ltd, an Irish mineral exploration company.

Director of the Geological Survey of Ireland, Koen Verbruggen said:

"This is an important and exciting project which is already paying dividends in terms of investment in mineral exploration. Earlier this year, the Tellus Programme announced it had identified more platinum, gold and precious metals in the streams and rivers of south east of Ireland than previously mapped. We are looking forward to unearthing more information from the airborne survey, particularly in an area prospective for metallic minerals that includes Waterford's Copper Coast UNESCO Global Geopark, which has a rich mining heritage spanning centuries".

To gather data the Tellus project has commissioned an aircraft equipped with the latest geophysical technology, which surveys rural areas at a height of 60m – approximately eight times the height of a two storey house.  The aircraft is a white twin propeller plane operated by the specialist survey company, Sander Geophysics Ltd and is easily identified by its red tail, black stripe and registration number C-GSGF.

The survey will operate safely within Irish Aviation Authority permits, however, the sound of the plane flying overhead is similar to that of a passing lorry and could startle sensitive livestock, such as horses, pedigree cattle and lambing ewes. The Tellus survey team is taking every precaution to ensure that the public is fully informed of the flight plans, a point highlighted by Tellus Project Manager, Mairéad Glennon:

"We are in close contact with the local community in the area to make sure that people and animals on the ground are not disturbed by the low flying aircraft. We would like anyone who has concerns in relation to sensitive animals to get in touch through our information line on Freephone 1800 303 516".

For more information on Tellus, including weekly flight plans, please visit


For further information please contact the Press Office of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources at or 01 678 2441.


Notes for Editors

  • The Geological Survey of Ireland is the National Earth Science Agency. It is responsible for providing geological advice and information, and for the acquisition of data for this purpose. GSI produces a range of products including maps, reports and databases and acts as a knowledge centre and project partner in all aspects of Irish geology. GSI is a division of the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources (DCENR).
  • Findings from this new phase of the project will be merged with existing Tellus data to make seamless maps which will be available free of charge online to all at
  • Unicorn Mineral Resources Ltd is an Irish mineral exploration company which holds prospecting licences in Ireland including in the Waterford area, targeting economic deposits of copper, lead, zinc and silver mineralisation. More information from
  • The Copper Coast is a UNESCO Global Geopark located in southern Co. Waterford, designated for its diverse geology and rich metal-mining history, the legacies of which now constitute a tourist attraction. More information from
  • 'Tellus' was the Roman goddess of the earth, also called Terra Mater.

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