Tara Mines temporarily lays off 650 staff, says business is cashflow negative

Parent company Boliden cited operational challenges, a decline in the price of zinc and high energy prices for the move

Tara Mines in Co Meath. Picture: Boliden

Boliden, the Swedish parent company of Tara Mines in Co Meath, will temporarily suspend production and exploration operations within the next four weeks. The move will result in its 650 staff being temporarily laid off.

In a statement, Boliden said the decision had been taken “to safeguard the long-term future of the company, in response to significant and unsustainable financial losses that the business is currently experiencing”.

It went on to say: “The business is currently cashflow negative and the losses have been brought about by a combination of factors that have made this decision unavoidable. These factors include operational challenges, a decline in the price of zinc, high energy prices, and general cost inflation.”

Gunnar Nyström, general manager of Boliden Tara Mines, said the firm was “acutely aware” of the difficulty the decision will cause for the firm’s employees, and the wider community in Navan, where the mine has been in operation since 1977.

“This was not a decision we made lightly, but we simply have to stem the unsustainable cash outflow that we are currently experiencing, in order to safeguard the long-term future of the mine,” Nyström said.

“We cannot be definitive about how long this period will last, but we believe that this situation is temporary and we will keep the situation under continuous review. We will remain in dialogue with our employees and stakeholders throughout this period.”

A small number of employees will continue to work on site during this period in order to care for and maintain the mine.

Shane Cassells, the Fianna Fáil senator, told RTÉ News that the decision was "extremely worrying for the town of Navan", and that some 3,000 other jobs are supported in the local economy through the mines.

"This is the largest zinc mine in Europe and it simply cannot fail," he said.

Tara is the eighth largest zinc mine in the world, producing 200,000 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 40,000 tonnes of lead concentrate each year. Zinc is used commercially to galvanise iron and steel against corrosion.