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The New Boliden Tara Mines in Navan, Co Meath. Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

650 workers at Tara Mines in Co Meath temporarily laid off

Parent company Boliden confirmed that production and exploration at the mine will cease temporarily due to “a combination of factors”.

LAST UPDATE | 13 Jun 2023

650 WORKERS AT Tara Mines in County Meath have been temporarily laid off, with the government pledging to put supports in place for impacted staff.

In a statement this afternoon, Swedish parent company Boliden confirmed that production and exploration at the mine will cease temporarily and it will be placed “under care and maintenance” within the next four weeks. 

Following a meeting this evening, the company issued a further statement stating that 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”.

“The business is currently cash-flow negative and the losses have been brought about by a combination of factors that have made this decision unavoidable,” the statement continued.

“These factors include operational challenges, a decline in the price of zinc, high energy prices, and general cost inflation.”

Gunnar Nyström, general manager of Tara Mines said: “We are acutely aware of the difficulty and disruption that this decision will cause for our employees, and the wider community in Navan, where the mine has been operating 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,” he said.

Nyström said the company “cannot be definitive” about how long the closure will last, but that it believes that it is temporary, adding that the situation will be kept under continuous review.

“We will remain in dialogue with our employees and stakeholders throughout this period.”

Boliden said the management team will review further supports available to employees during the temporary layoff and will update employees accordingly.

The company said it will “also work with the local social welfare authorities and other relevant state agencies to assist employees regarding the supports that are available”.

A small number of employees will continue to work at the mine, which is the largest zinc mine in Europe, during this period in order to care for and maintain it.

The Journal understands that those affected could be unpaid for a number of months.

The Journal also understands that those affected the decision could impact thousands of jobs in relation to other companies that also service the mines.

The Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys told The Journal that the Department will now be on standby to assist those affected by the temporary layoffs. 

“A dedicated team is being put in place and will be out on the ground with the company to  provides information on income, redundancy entitlements and employment supports for their impacted employees,” said Humphreys. 

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney said: “Tonight’s decision of the board in Sweden is a shock and my thoughts are with all of the workers affected.

“The company has tonight told me the board is convinced this is a temporary closure.”

Coveney added: “My department will immediately send in state agencies to assist workers, especially apprentices who are in the middle of their training. Enterprise Ireland has told me it can have a team there on Wednesday.

“Meanwhile the government will continue to engage with Irish management and the parent company to try reverse this closure.”

Siptu divisional organiser Adrian Kane said workers at Tara mines are “deeply disappointed” at the “manner by which it was communicated to them this evening”. 

“Our members are also concerned that they were not informed in advance of this announcement of temporary lay-offs, without pay, by the company,” added Kane.

“Tara Mines is a critical part of both the local and national economy and we will be engaging with management to discuss how the effects of these lay-offs can be mitigated.”

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