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About Us

About Us

This website is designed to provide an overview of the regulatory regimes governing the exploration and extraction of minerals in Ireland and Northern Ireland. In Ireland, the relevant regulatory authority is the Exploration and Mining Division of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. In Northern Ireland two agencies, the Minerals Branch of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Northern Ireland and the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, are responsible for regulating mineral exploration and mining. 

The Exploration and Mining Division's remit includes:

  • Regulation and permitting of exploration for and extraction of minerals (excluding petroleum, stone, sand, gravel and clay);
  • Promoting inward investment in minerals exploration;
  • Policy development in the area of minerals exploration and extraction;
  • Representing and protecting the State‚Äôs interests as mineral owner. The State owns an estimated 60% of all minerals and the exclusive right to work all minerals regardless of ownership (with a few minor exceptions) is vested in the Minister; and
  • Rehabilitation of former mine sites where the Minister has an acknowledged role.


The Geological Survey of Northern Ireland's remit includes supporting and advising the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment Minerals Branch in:

  • Regulation and permitting of exploration for and extraction of minerals and petroleum.
  • Promoting inward investment in minerals exploration.
  • Policy development in the areas of minerals and petroleum exploration and extraction and geothermal energy.
  • Representing and protecting the Department's interest as mineral owner. All minerals in Northern Ireland (except those mentioned in Schedule 1 of the Mineral Development Act (Northern Ireland) 1969) are vested in the Department.
  • Monitoring and rehabilitation of abandoned mine sites