Exploration and Mining

Historically Ireland has been internationally renowned as a major zinc-lead mining centre, making it the largest zinc producer in Europe and the second largest producer of lead.

William Fry is one of a small number of leading Irish law firms with a thorough knowledge and understanding of the exploration and mining industry.

Dating back to the early 1960’s William Fry has been involved in advising most of the big lead and zinc operations and sites at various levels e.g. site re-development/clean up, licencing and legal due diligence for prospective purchasers etc.

With a large portfolio of clients in the mineral development sector, we deliver a fully integrated legal service, from exploration to the mine development, and bring a deep understanding of the legal and practical challenges that these industry players face.


William Fry has considerable current and historic expertise in its Projects, Energy and Natural Resources Team, and across the Firm, to help bring any minerals exploration and/or development Project in Ireland to a successful conclusion.

We can draw on the following:

  • Our knowledge of mining administration and of the regulatory/licensing framework in Ireland including of conditions typically contained in prospecting licenses and mining leases/licences e.g. concerning exploration programming and minimum expenditure requirements.
  • An unrivalled knowledge of all of the other legal and regulatory regimes that are an inherent part of a full mining development project here: in particular:
  • Land use planning permission – required for full mining activity: we are vastly experienced at all stages of the process: the pre-planning process; stakeholder consultation, environmental impact assessment ect.
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Licensing: An Integrated Prevention Pollution and Control Licence is required for full project development (subject to thresholds) and few firms have our level of knowledge of working within the EPA regime
  • Our experience of working with the full range of financial provisions and underwriting and bond requirements that apply to minerals development including: licence application fees; development contributions for roads and other infrastructure servicing a mining project (these are levied as part of the planning permission); financial underwriting to cover environmental risk; the very specific environmental insurance cover that the EPA will require. We are closely acquainted with the EPA’s requirements and expectations
  • The fiscal/tax regime relating to prospecting and minerals development in Ireland: including the capital allowance regime relating to exploration, plant, buildings and mine closure expenditure
  • Other “added value” elements/industry knowledge expertise we provide include:
  • Ensuring all related property and access rights are secured by agreement/way leave or via the statutory compulsory acquisition system, with which we are hugely experienced
  • Access to and close working relationships with the top geological and hydrogeological experts in Ireland
  • Experience of the site rehabilitation requirements/expectations of the EPA
  • Unrivalled knowledge of worker/occupational health and safety requirements at project development stage
  • Waste/tailings management: our knowledge of the specific Irish regime relating to the management of waste from the extractive industries


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  • One client notes that "William Fry have been our-go to lawyers for over 20 years and are an integral part of our team. We demand a lot from our legal advisers and the team at William Fry consistently deliver. They really understand the complexities of our business and have an in-depth legal and commercial understanding of the Irish energy sector." Another source notes that "William Fry has represented the largest global energy players active in the Irish market, They have experience advising all players in the market" Legal 500 2020
  • A client describes the firm’s performance as “very impressive,” noting in particular that the team’s “client service and commercial awareness are both excellent.” Chambers Europe, 2020
  • "William Fry’s broad practice advises domestic and international clients such as utilities, lenders and developers in the gas, water and commodities space, as well as the renewable energy sector." Legal 500, 2019
  • ‘Business acumen is excellent’ at William Fry, where the team’s growing client base includes oil, gas and manufacturing companies, utilities, independent project developers and commercial banks. Legal 500, 2018
  • The firm's "depth and versatility to provide the entire range of legal requirements" is often praised, with clients saying: "It is invaluable to have it all under one roof." 
    Sources also remark that the team is "very responsive and knows the sector well." Chambers Europe, 2017
  • William Fry excels at electricity and gas work, where its advice is ‘always focused on the key issues’Legal 500, 2017

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