Murray Hitzman – Social side of the Lisheen discovery, Ireland

1iCRAG, O’Brien Centre for Science (East), University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4 , Ireland

The Lisheen deposit, discovered by the Ivernia West-Chevron joint venture in the spring of 1990, occurs in rural Ireland in County Tipperary on the border with County Kilkenny. The primary period of exploration extended from 1990 through 1993. The project pioneered techniques, rare at the time, to engage the local community [1]. This work helped with the project moving swiftly through the planning process. The joint venture also worked closely with the national government to ensure a thorough pre-feasibility study that focused on sustainable closure. The mine which opened in 1999 operated successfully through 2015.

Fig 1. Drilling in a farmer’s yard at Lisheen, 1992.


[1] Hitzman, M. W., 1994, Successful mineral exploration and project development in Ireland: the necessity of pre- and early-project government and stakeholder education and transparent public dialogue (abs.): Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, p. A-106.


Murray Hitzman is Science Foundation Ireland Professorship in the School of Earth Sciences, University College Dublin and Director of the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences. He served as Associate Director for Energy and Minerals at the U.S. Geological Survey, Charles Fogarty Professor of Economic Geology at Colorado School of Mines, policy analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Senate, and exploration geologist conducting mineral exploration worldwide. Hitzman has B.A. degrees in geology and anthropology from Dartmouth College, an M.S. in geology from University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in geology from Stanford University.