The Government of Ireland expressed its commitment to responsible governance of the mining sector by joining the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF). The IGF is a voluntary partnership that welcomes member states of the United Nations. “We are pleased to welcome Ireland as the IGF’s 71st member state,” IGF Director Greg Radford said at an the annual convention of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) in Toronto last week at which Ireland formally joined IGF. At the signing in Toronto, Seán Canney TD, Ireland’s Minister of State for Natural Resources said  “The IGF  forum provides a very valuable opportunity to engage with over 70 fellow member countries on a broad range of important policy issues such as development, environment, gender, mine closure and responsible supply chains.  Through its membership, Ireland hopes to be able to share its own best practice policies and learn from the experience of others as we work together on ensuring that mining contributes fully in the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals”.

A long history of mining

Ireland has a rich geology and a long history of mining with a proven track record in zinc and lead production.  Ireland  as Europe’s 3rd largest producer of zinc metal in concentrate and the 15th largest producer in the world. Ireland is Europe’s 7th largest producer of lead metal in concentrate and 24nd in the world.  It has a very active exploration  sector with over 600 current prospecting licences and over 40 companies active in the area.   In addition to lead and zinc, the country has also been identified as a source of barium, copper, gold, gypsum, lithium, molybdenum, silver, as well as platinum group metals. Ireland recognises the challenges and contribution of sustainable management of metal and mineral resources for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and its mining policies reflect this recognition, for example in its development of a ‘best practice’ approach to mine closure. [caption id="attachment_49085" align="alignleft" width="225"]Minister Sean Canney Signs IGF Agreement at PDAC Minister Sean Canney Signs IGF Agreement at PDAC[/caption] In the last number of years, the closure of two mines at Galmoy and Lisheen has been successfully managed under new closure plan requirements.  Mining and post mining can contribute positively to a locality while at the same time provide the necessary raw materials for society as a whole. As a mining jurisdiction, Ireland has consistently been highly placed in the Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies. The country’s attractiveness as a destination for mining sector investment is enhanced by a number of factors, including modern mining and environmental legislation, an educated and skilled work force, experienced regulators, stable democratic government and EU membership. Ireland’s exploration and mining legislation was recently updated with the enactment of the Minerals Development Act 2017This legislation provides a robust, modern and transparent regulatory framework aimed at ensuring that all exploration and mining activities take place in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.  Ireland is active in the area of responsible supply chains and is currently engaging with the other EU Member States and the EU Commission on the necessary preparations for implementing the EU Regulation of responsible sourcing of tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold (3TG). The IGF supports more than 70 nations committed to leveraging mining for sustainable development to ensure that negative impacts are limited and financial benefits are shared. It is devoted to optimizing the benefits of mining to achieve poverty reduction, inclusive growth, social development and environmental stewardship. The International Institute for Sustainable Development has served as Secretariat for the IGF since October 2015. Core funding is provided by the Government of Canada.