The Department of Environment, Climate & Communications has granted prospecting licences to a mineral exploration company that plans to use them to explore primarily for zinc in south Tipperary.
The prospecting licences for base metals, barytes, gold and silver were granted to Raptor Resources Ltd of 53 Bayview Avenue, North Strand, Dublin on December 31 following a public consultation period.
The licences allow Raptor Resources to explore for mineral deposits in 159 south Tipperary townlands among them are Ballyclerahan, Lisronagh, Fethard and townlands in their hinterlands.
A Department of Environment, Climate & Communications spokesman said the prospecting licences have been granted for six years and the main focus of Raptor Resources’ exploration interest is base metals, primarily zinc.
He said Ireland is ranked first in the world in terms of zinc discovered per sq. km and second in the world for lead discovered per sq. km.
“Parts of the region are underlain by Lower Carboniferous rocks that elsewhere in the Irish midlands are host to significant zinc-lead mineralization.
“As a consequence, Ireland continues to attract significant exploration interest. There was considerable interest in base metal prospecting by various prospecting companies throughout the 1990s and 2000s in this area of south Tipperary.”
The Department spokesman outlined that over the past 50 years or so, several significant zinc-lead deposits have been discovered in Lower Carboniferous rocks in the Irish midlands.
A number of these deposits have been mined including two that occur within a few tens of kilometres of the south Tipperary area. They are Lisheen Mine, in north Tipperary, which closed in 2015 and Galmoy Mine in north Kilkenny, which closed in 2012.
The Department of Environment, Climate & Communications stressed the prospecting licences do not authorise the mining of any minerals.
And it added: “The activities permissible under a licence are, in general, non-invasive and of minimal environmental impact. The Minister has assessed the exploration programme proposed by the company and has determined that the activities are not likely to have a significant effect on the environment.”
The Department received no submissions from the public during the revent public consultation period in relation to Raptor Resources’ prospecting licences applications. The public were given 30 days to submit observations or objections to the granting of the licences from date of the publication of a notice about the Department’s intention to grant the licences in The Nationalist on November 19 last. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, maps and townland lists were put on public display on the Government of Ireland’s website. The Department said where possible they were made available at Cahir Garda Station, Tipperary County Council’s offices in Clonmel and the Geological Survey of Ireland in Dublin.
Check out the print edition of The Nationalist to find out the townlands the prospecting licences cover.