Tara Mine production to cease with 650 workers temporarily laid off

The owner of Tara Mines in County Meath has shut down production and temporarily laid off 650 workers.

“Due to a combination of factors, the Tara mine in Ireland will be placed under care and maintenance,” Swedish parent company Boliden said in a statement. “The decision means that production and exploration ceases temporarily at the mine.”

Staff are being informed of the company’s plans tonight, a spokesman for Boliden Tara Mines said.

While Boliden said it is working actively to extend the life of the mine in parallel with ensuring its competitiveness, it described the zinc mine as “high cost.”

“The business is currently cash flow negative, due to a combination of factors including operational challenges, a decline in the price of zinc, high energy prices and general cost inflation,” it said. Tara will therefore be placed under care and maintenance until further notice. The decision means that production at the mine ceases and that the workforce is temporarily laid off until conditions of the operation improve,” Boliden added.

Tara, which has been in operation since 1977 is the largest zinc mine in Europe, and one of the biggest in the world. It made an operating profit of 441 million Swedish krona (€38.2 million) in 2022, according to Boliden’s website. The company bought Tara in 2004.

Boliden began restricting overtime and reduced drilling time as well as cutting contractors in the past few days, the Meath Chronicle reported on Monday. Chief executive Gunnar Nystrom had warned of a deteriorating financial situation, it added.

Zinc prices have fallen on international markets in recent months, dropping to the lowest level since 2020. The price of the metal tends to increase and fall on the back of the international economy, and the global slowdown has fed through to the cost of most metals used in industry.


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