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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Area reports: international 1971
Year 1971, Volume 3 (1971)

West, J. M.
Ireland,   pp. 427-433 ff. PDF (675.1 KB)


Page 427

  427The Mineral Industry of Ireland 
By J. M. West 1 
 Among the important events in the Irish minerals industry during 1971 were
the discovery of natural gas in offshore exploration drilling and confirming
large reserves at the zinc-lead discovery of Tara Exploration and Development
Co., Ltd., potentially worth nearly $2 billion 2 in the ground. Generally,
Ireland's metal mining industry produced at lower rates in 1971 owing to
the depressed economic activity of its prime consumer, the United Kingdom.
Conversely, the nonmetals producing industry showed greater activity than
in 1970 when operations were curtailed because of strikes, and cement output
was considerably higher in 1971. Imports of crude oil and consumption of
petroleum products were sharply higher in 1971 as a result of industrial
demands. Petroleum refining continued to rise. Consideration was given to
establishing an alumina plant to treat imported bauxite. A plant to treat
manganese dioxide for batteries was in the planning stage, pending approval
of plans for construction of a lead-zinc smelter. 
 Underlying problems in the Irish econ 
omy continued to be inflation, economic stagnation, and unemployment. Growth
in the real gross national product (GNP) was estimated at about 3 percent
in 1971, a little higher than in 1970. The 1971 GNP amounted to $4.8 billion
at current prices, or $3.7 billion at constant 1968 prices. The country's
trade deficit, partly due to oil imports, rose slightly during 1971 to a
yearend figure of about $0.56 billion. The prospects of Ireland's entry into
the European Communities in 1972—73 appeared favorable, and such entry
was expected to have a marked stimulus on Irish economic growth, including
anticipated growth in the minerals producing and consuming industries. Ireland
continued to offer generous grants to finance new plants and equipment through
its Industrial Development Authority. Also, the Government allowed a 15-year
tax holiday on all profits derived from exports as an incentive for establishing
mineral processing and other industrial plants. Ireland's labor costs, although
rising, continued to be comparatively low for a relatively developed country.
PRODUCTION 
 Lead, zinc, and silver production declined in 1971, but outputs of most
other mineral products were higher. Copper and mercury production rose despite
declining world prices. Mercury was produced as a byproduct at the Gortdrum
copper mine. Output of construction materials rose in 
accordance with higher levels of construction activities. Output of refined
petroleum products were greater than in 1970. 
 1 Physical scientist, Division of Nonferrous Metals. 
 2 Where necessary values have been converted from the Irish pound to U.S.
dollars at the rate of 
£1 = US$2.55. 


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