New lease terms have been agreed by Tara Mines’ Swedish owners and the Government.
The agreement — which coincided with a site visit by Fergus O’Dowd, the minister of state for natural resources — will retain current staffing levels, which amount to 650 jobs, and will ensure mining operations at the zinc and lead mine can continue for another 10 years.
The lease will also allow for a major underground extension of the mine to the south-west.
Tara — currently owned by Swedish miners Boliden — has been producing since the late 1970s, and its continued operations will see the State receive royalties of up to 3.75% of annual revenue. Boliden also pays corporation tax at a rate of 25% to the State each year.
Mr O’Dowd acknowledged the economic importance of the mining and exploration sector to the economy, noting combined annual contribution of over €800m and 1,300 full-time jobs.
“Ireland needs strong, competitive industries that punch above their weight in the international arena,” he said. “The Irish mining industry, as a significant global player in terms of zinc and lead output, is clearly one of those, and Boliden’s contribution is central.”
Boliden Tara Mines Ltd’s general manager, Stefan Romedahl, said: “Boliden is pleased that negotiations have been concluded. A stable platform has been established and we need to continue to reduce costs to make Tara profitable.
“It is hoped that Boliden Tara Mines will be able to take full advantage of the new 10-year leases. Exploration is continuing around the mine to identify further mineral resources that we hope will become mineable ore reserves.”
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