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Tara Mines

Enterprise Minister to meet Meath TDs over Tara Mines shutdown

650 workers at the zinc and lead mine in co Meath have been temporarily laid off.

ENTERPRISE MINISTER SIMON Coveney has agreed to meet Meath TDs over the closure of Tara Mines, according to Peadar Tóibín.

650 workers in the zinc and lead mine in Meath have been temporarily laid off, with the government pledging to put supports in place for impacted staff.

Aontú Leader and Meath West TD Tóibín met with the minister today. He said in a statement: “The situation at Tara Mines [is] spiralling at the moment and the government need to get hold of the situation to protect the workers and the future of business.

“Key to all of this is viability of Tara Mines and energy costs is one area that the government could help”.

He said the six Meath TDs “are now calling on the Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys to join this meeting to ensure that financial supports can be put in place ASAP”.

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

The company said 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”.

Gunnar Nyström, general manager of Tara Mines said: “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.

Trade union Unite, which represents some staff in the mine, has called for it to be taken into public ownership “in the absence of a firm commitment from the highly profitable parent company Boliden to an early resumption of operations”.

Unite regional secretary Susan Fitzgerald said: “Boliden’s decision to suspend operations at Tara Mines indefinitely would have a devastating impact on the workers concerned and the communities they support.

“Zinc has the potential to play a crucial role in a low-carbon economy. There is a very real possibility that, if and when Boliden decides to recommence operations at some unspecified future date, the highly skilled workers who built Tara Mines into Europe’s largest zinc mine may have taken their skills and expertise elsewhere.

“Immediate pressure must be put on Boliden to give a firm re-opening date, while also continuing to pay workers’ wages during this self-imposed shut-down – Boliden can well afford to do this.

“In the absence of such a commitment, the government should move immediately to take Tara Mines into public ownership.”

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