Thursday, May 30, 2024

Over 200 jobs to go at Tara Mines after workers vote to approve reopening deal

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Workers at Tara Mines have voted to approve a deal with owners which will see operations at the Co Meath site resume over the coming months but will leave over 200 people out of work.

The mines had been closed since June of last year leaving 650 people out of work with just essential maintenance taking place on the site.

On April 17, a deal was reached between a group of unions representing workers and Tara Mines-owner, Swedish mining company Boliden, to resume operations. Workers voted to approve the deal today.

The deal includes a restructuring of the operations at Tara Mines which will see the number of workers reduced to 400. An enhanced voluntary severance scheme is being put in place as part of this deal.

Boliden said that once-off “restructuring costs” of approximately €30m will negatively affect its results over the next few months. In addition to maintenance costs at the site, the company is projecting a total negative effect on operating profit for the period April to June of €43m.

The company also expects to lose €50m during the second half of this year.

The agreement seeks to optimise mining plans to reduce transportation distances as well as maximising output.

Plans to ramp up production

Boliden said it expects to ramp up production during the last three months of this year and hit full production from January next year.

In a statement, general manager of Tara Mines Gunnar Nyström said he was pleased the agreement had been accepted and they will now “begin the process of re-opening” with employees commencing their return to work on a phased basis.

Tara Mines had been struggling to keep itself afloat before its closure last summer. The mine lost over €67m during 2023 but directors believe losses could have been “significantly higher” if operations continued.

According to the company’s 2023 financial results, it generated revenue of €98m, down from €253m in 2022 — a drop of 61%. The company incurred a pre-tax loss of €67.5m in 2023 compared to a pre-tax profit of €24.4m in 2022.

The reasons for the mine’s financial difficulties include the fall in zinc and lead prices, higher energy costs, and inflation.

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