Up to 30 people are to lose their jobs at a mineral testing facility in Loughrea, Co Galway.

ALS Minerals says a significant downturn in the global exploration market will lead to the redundancies at its Co Galway operation.

The layoffs will happen by the end of next month.

The Mayor of Loughrea, James Regan, said the loss of any job in the current economic environment was a "major loss" for the town.

He said the economic and social effects of the redundancies at ALS Minerals would be felt across the east Galway area.

The company, which operates in 55 countries, moved its geochemical testing laboratory to an upgraded premises in Loughrea earlier this year.

In a statement this evening, ALS said there had been a reduction in the number of samples to be processed there because of the cyclical nature of the market.

The company says it is committed to maintaining its Loughrea base and that it hopes to increase the workforce when the market recovers.

However, it is not forecasting an improvement until late 2014.

The laboratory in Loughrea is a hub for the processing of samples from across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.