Mineral Development Act

The Mineral Development Act (Northern Ireland) 1969 (“the 1969 Act”) vested most minerals in the Department of Commerce (now the Department for the Economy). This enabled the Department to grant prospecting licences and mining licences for the exploration and development of minerals. This licensing system is based on the provisions of the 1969 Act and on subsequent subordinate legislation. The provisions relating to prospecting for minerals are quite separate and distinct from those relating to the development of minerals. There is no automatic continuity between exploration and development work.

Exceptions to 1969 Act

The legislation covers all minerals with three main exceptions (the scheduled substances):

  1. Gold and Silver belong to the Crown Estate and were not vested in the Department,
  2. The few mineral deposits (mainly salt) which were being worked at the time of the 1969 Act were not vested in the Department, and,
  3. ‘Common’ substances including crushed rock, sand and gravel and brick clays are excluded.

Visit the Department for the Economy Website for further documents and information.

Last Updated: 16th May 2019