RTE 6.1 News coverage: http://www.rte.ie/news/player/six-one-news-web/2015/1202/
On December 2nd local T.D. and Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English officially launched iCRAG, the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences. The new Research Centre will focus on the discovery, de-risking and sourcing of raw materials, water and energy resources that are critical to our economy locally and nationally Minister English said.
The centre will receive funding of €18 million from Minister English’s Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Research Centres Programme, with an additional €8 million from 55 industry partners that include Tara Mines owner Boliden, as well as Geoscience Ireland, Tullow Oil and Petroleum Infrastructure Programme.
Speaking at the announcement, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD, said, “A key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to continue to build on the major achievements in scientific research with a focus on turning great ideas into good, sustainable jobs and keeping our recovery going. iCRAG is an exciting new research centre which will ultimately grow jobs and support further participation in the STEM sector.”
“Ireland has a 50 year history of zinc and lead mineral exploration and production. The industry has employed many people particularly in Meath – where Tara Mines is Europe’s largest zinc mine and the world’s ninth largest, it makes a major contribution to the economy of Navan and the wider county. We need to encourage and support industry in their efforts to find the next Navan, and extending the life of this important sector for our economy” Minister English said.
iCRAG will help companies de-risk the exploration for groundwater, hydrocarbons and minerals. This will ultimately help companies explore our natural resources for our benefit. At a time when 95% of our fossil fuels are imported, iCRAG research will help to decrease the risks of Irish exploration and attract more companies to invest in exploration. Security of access to energy is a critical issue for Ireland, given our huge dependence on imported fuels.
Security of access to clean water is a basic requirement for the people of Ireland. Surprisingly nearly 20% of that water comes from under the ground and has to be discovered by geologists. Modern industries are becoming more water hungry, e.g. the IT sector with Facebook’s location at Clonee in Co. Meath, and agri-business. Some of the main growth areas for Ireland are underpinned by the provision of secure supplies of water. iCRAG’s research will help to better discover and sustain these important sources of water.