Geological mapping survey plane is ready for take-ff

Published 14/05/2016 | 00:00

The Tellus survey aircraft.
The Tellus survey aircraft.

The next phase of Tellus - a geological mapping project which collects geochemical and geophysical data on rocks, soil and water across Ireland - is ready for take-off over the South East.

Due to fly over the next month, a small aircraft equipped with state-of-the-art technology will traverse the sky over western Wexford, eastern Waterford, parts of southern Tipperary and Kilkenny, collecting geological information underpinning research already carried out which shows more platinum, gold and other precious metals across parts of the region. The resulting data has the potential to deliver 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. The Tellus project, run by the Geological Survey of Ireland and funded by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR), aims to survey 50 per cent of the country by end 2017. This latest airborne phase of the survey is a partnership between DCENR and Unicorn Mineral Resources Ltd, an Irish mineral exploration company.

'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 - approximately 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, please visit

Wexford People

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