Northern Ireland as a Place to Explore

The potential of Northern Ireland has become apparent in recent years and large areas of prospective terrain remain under-explored and unlicensed. Geological models are being used to re-evaluate areas previously considered less prospective. Although Northern Ireland is one of the smallest countries in Europe, it has a mineral potential to rival any of its near neighbours.

Government, administration and culture

Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, operating in the same time zone and sharing a similar regulatory environment and culture. Many aspects of government have been devolved to the power sharing Northern Ireland Executive with the advantage of local streamlined administrative procedures. Northern Ireland has a strong pro-business ethos with regulation kept to a minimum and a well established minerals licensing system in operation. The Executive has put sustainable development at the heart of their growth strategy and recognises the benefits that responsible development of its indigenous mineral resources can bring to Northern Ireland’s economy.

Northern Ireland offers great opportunities for mineral exploration. It combines all the convenience of working in a developed country with a tremendously diverse geological, mineral and mining heritage.

Competitive costs, financial assistance and support

Northern Ireland’s operating costs are highly competitive and lower than the rest of the UK and much of Europe. Invest NI can provide advice on the attractive and competitive package of financial incentives, training, R&D, and other development support available to companies operating in Northern Ireland.

Smart talent and skills

Northern Ireland is readily accessible from Europe, North America and other parts of the world. Its airports have daily direct flights to London and many other European business centres, with onward flights to worldwide destinations via these and Dublin airport. London is only an hour away by air and Dublin is less than two hours away by rail or road. Northern Ireland is also served by four deep-water ports ensuring ease of access to international markets.

Northern Ireland has a well developed telecommunications network with 100% broadband access throughout. A new high speed 40Gbit/sec transatlantic and terrestrial telecommunications link between Northern Ireland, North America and Europe will provide secure reliable and competitive next generation services.

Exploration logistics

Northern Ireland enjoys a mild temperate climate which allows active exploration all year round. The country is compact, approximately 5500 sq. miles/14,000 km2 in area and 90 miles wide by 110 miles long (140km by 175km), and you can drive from Belfast to anywhere in Northern Ireland within two hours. The population of 1.7 million is concentrated in Belfast and the eastern counties but even the more sparsely populated west is well served by the extensive network of minor roads.

Published: 8th December 2009
Last Updated: 25th November 2011