Speaking at the Irish mining and Quarrying Society dinner and dance held at the Burlington Hotel in Dublin on the 23rd of November; Minister of State for Natural Resources at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Fergus O’Dowd commended the Irish mining Industry. Citing the Indecon Report, he said the mining industry has 3.300 fulltime employees and an economy wide impact of €802,7million.
Minister O’Dowd noted that 650 exploration licences were issued in 2013 with an annual expenditure of €35million.
“I am delighted to say that 2013 has turned out to be a very good year for exploration, with the number of licences granted at the highest level since the late 1980s”
he said. Mr O’Dowd felt that this was testament to his Department’s commitment to the mining industry. According to the Fraser institute of Canada, Ireland is ranked 6th out of 96 jurisdictions on the Policy Index.
“This compares favourably with previous years, so we, and you, must be doing many things right”
said Minister O’Dowd.
Despite stabilization and growth of the mining sector in 2013, Minister O’Dowd was concerned about the construction industry which is just six percent of GDP. He reiterated the government’s commitment to projects such as the N11, N18 and Irish Water. Another project he was proud of is Geoscience Ireland. Geoscience Ireland is supported by the Department through Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland. It now has 19 companies employing 1,100 people with a turnover of €150million. Last year member companies added 85 net new jobs. These companies operate in 50 countries around the world.
Minister O’Dowd was delighted that Geoscience Ireland has now commenced the creation of a Panel Individual Experts with skills in Geology, Minerals, Mining and Environmental Services. He also spoke glowingly about the TELUS Border; an EU funded mapping project, which is scheduled to be completed next month. He said this project was important particularly for the border counties as it will help manage the environment and support sustainable development of natural resources.
The IMQS dinner and dance is an annual event for the Irish mining industry. This year it was headed by its President Sean Finlay who is also the Business Development Director of Geoscience Ireland.