Business Irish

Sunday 19 November 2017

Company that runs Tara Mines hit by a two-thirds slump in profits last year

Tara Mines in Co Meath
Tara Mines in Co Meath

Gordon Deegan

Pre-tax profits at the company that operates Tara Mines decreased 63pc to €10.26m last year.

The largest zinc mine in Europe, located near Navan, Co Meath, employs 717 people.

Filings just lodged with the Companies Office show that revenues at Swedish-owned Tara Mines Holdings and subsidiaries increased 2pc to €194.5m last year.

Earlier this year, the firm warned the Labour Court that without reducing labour costs, 2013 would be loss-making for the mine and savings were necessary to secure additional capital investment.

Management and unions at the Labour Court reached an agreement on costs that will result in the company investing €110m to maintain the mine's operation to 2018 and beyond. Production at the mine began in 1977, since producing more than 70 million tonnes of ore.

Currently, Tara produces between 2.4 and 2.5 million tonnes of ore per annum, resulting in 400,000 tonnes of zinc and lead concentrate.

Swedish company Boliden bought the mine in 2004.

According to the directors' report, the mine has reserves until 2019 and confirmed that metal prices for zinc and lead remained stable throughout 2012, though lower than 2011.

The directors said cost of sale increases, driven by a €5.4m asset writedown, were the main reason for the drop in profits.

"While the outlook for the mine's future remains positive, current global economic and market conditions require the group to remain focused on productivity improvements and controlling its cost base," the directors said.

The profits also account for €35.8m in the non-cash depreciation cost last year.

The numbers employed at the mine last year increased from 714 to 717 with staff costs for 2012 increasing from €58.2m to €62.9m.

The 2012 figures also show that emoluments for directors increased from €414,000 to €457,000 last year.

Irish Independent

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