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Minister of State Sean Canney T.D. gives keynote address at the Mining Ireland 2019 Conference

Minister of State Sean Canney T.D. gives keynote address at the Mining Ireland 2019 Conference


Minister Canney today (Tuesday 8 October) noted the critical role of minerals in developing sustainable, green economies and in the global movement towards renewable-energy infrastructures.


Both the World Bank [i] and the World Economic Forum [ii] have recognised the growing role of minerals and metals in a low-carbon world. Wind and solar infrastructure, batteries and electric vehicles all require vast amounts of mined resources. 

While Ireland is in a strong position to attract investment to explore and develop these critical resources, more must be done, by all of us, in communicating the role of the industry as one of a provider of solutions rather than a contributor to problems.

Minister Canney said:

"Relying on distant resources is becoming untenable given the climate impact of the supply chain when transporting raw materials over significant distances.

It is important to ensure that, where possible, we have a reliable and sustainable supply of metals and minerals to support Europe's industry and societal needs.  Ireland recognises the important role it plays in this regard."

Minister Canney also praised the Irish minerals sector and the contribution it makes to the Irish economy. The production of zinc and lead is a significant economic sector in Ireland and supports the employment of 1,262 jobs (fte) and has an output of over €550m [iii]. These figures contribute to Ireland's wider geoscience sector which is worth over €3.2 billion and supports almost 25,000 jobs. The Geoscience Ireland business cluster, comprising 39 geoscience companies generated over 1 Billion euros in 2018 [iii], €300 million of which was generated by SMEs, while over one-third of this figure was generated in overseas markets. There were also 253 net new jobs last year in this highly-skilled sector.

Minister Canney, noting Ireland's robust regulatory and environmental regime, said:

"Our excellence in mine closure is seen at Galmoy and Lisheen, whose Tailings Management Facilities have been returned to an agriculture end-point, along with measures which encourage real biodiversity.

 Lundin's remediation of the Galmoy Tailings Management Facility was awarded the International Green Apple Award for Environmental Best Practice.  This is the type of closure practice that will win the trust of communities, which is key for the future."

Notes to the Editor

Geological Survey Ireland is the National Earth Science Centre. It is responsible for providing geological advice and information, and for the acquisition of data for this purpose.

It 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. It is a division of the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment and has about 70 multi-disciplinary staff.

 Geoscience Ireland is a business cluster of 39 companies, delivering integrated expertise in water, minerals, environmental and infrastructure development to clients in over 75 countries.

It was formed in 2012 and is supported by Geological Survey Ireland and Enterprise Ireland. The cluster provides design, consultancy and contracting services to multilateral agencies, governments and the private sector.

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[i] 2017; World Bank: The Growing Role of Minerals and Metals for a Low Carbon Future

[ii] 2019; World Economic Forum: Strategic Intelligence Mining and Metals