It’s the next phase of Tellus, a mapping project which collects geochemical and geophysical data on rocks, soil and water across Ireland.
The resulting data can bring positive economic, environmental and agricultural benefits.
Previous phases of Tellus have prompted significant international interest in mineral exploration, and provided information for more detailed radon risk maps, for example.
The aim is to survey 50% of Ireland by the end of 2017 in Tellus, run by the Geological Survey of Ireland and funded by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR),
This latest airborne phase of the survey is a partnership between DCENR and Unicorn Mineral Resources Ltd, an Irish mineral exploration company.
Koen Verbruggen, Director of the Geological Survey of Ireland said: “This is an important and exciting project which is already paying dividends in terms of investment in mineral exploration.
“Earlier this year, the Tellus Programme announced it had identified more platinum, gold and precious metals in the streams and rivers of south east of Ireland than previously mapped.
“We are looking forward to unearthing more information from the airborne survey, particularly in an area prospective for metallic minerals that includes Waterford’s Copper Coast UNESCO Global Geopark, which has a rich mining heritage spanning centuries”.
To gather data, the Tellus project has commissioned an aircraft equipped with the latest geophysical technology, which surveys rural areas at a height of 60m, imately eight times the height of a two-storey house.
The aircraft is a white, twin-propeller plane operated by the specialist survey company, Sander Geophysics Ltd, and is easily identified by its red tail, black stripe and registration number C-GSGF.
The survey will operate safely within Irish Aviation Authority permits, however, the sound of the plane flying overhead is similar to that of a passing lorry, and could startle sensitive livestock, such as horses, pedigree cattle and lambing ewes.
The Tellus survey team is taking every precaution to ensure that the public is fully informed of the flight plans, a point highlighted by Tellus Project Manager, Mairéad Glennon: “We are in close contact with the local community in the area to make sure that people and animals on the ground are not disturbed by the low flying aircraft.
“We would like anyone who has concerns in relation to sensitive animals to get in touch through our information line on Freephone 1800 303 516”.
For more information on Tellus, including weekly flight plans, visit the www.tellus.ie website.