Pre-tax profits at firm that operates Tara Mines fall 63 per cent
Mine is Europe’s largest and is the world’s fifth largest zinc mine, employing 717 people
Tara Mines in Navan, Co Meath. Production at the mine began in 1977 and since then over 70 million tonnes of ore have been mined. Photograph: Alan Betson
Pre-tax profits at the company that operates Tara Mines last year decreased by 63 per cent to €10.26 million.
The mine is Europe’s largest and the world’s fifth largest zinc mine and employs 717.
Accounts recently filed show revenues at the Swedish-owned Tara Mines Holdings Ltd and subsidiaries increased by 2 per cent from €190 million to €194.5 million in the 12 months to the end of December last.
Earlier this year the firm warned the Labour Court that without a reduction in labour costs 2013 would be loss-making for the mine, and that savings were necessary to secure additional capital investment for the operation.
Management and unions at the Labour Court reached an agreement on costs that will result in the company investing €110 million in the mine to maintain its operation to 2018 and beyond.
Production at the mine, located 2km west of Navan, began in 1977, and since then more than 70 million tonnes of ore have been mined.
Currently Tara produces between 2.4 million and 2.5 million tonnes of ore per annum resulting in 400,000 tonnes of zinc and lead concentrate. The mine was purchased by Swedish company Boliden in 2004.
According to the directors’ report, the mine has reserves until 2019, and confirmed that metal prices for both zinc and lead remained stable throughout 2012, though lower than 2011.
The directors state that cost of sale increases, driven by a €5.4 million asset write-down, were the main factors behind the drop in profits.
The directors state: “While the outlook for the mine’s future remains positive, current global economic and market conditions requires the group to remain focused on productivity improvements and controlling its cost base.”
The profits also take account of €35.8 million 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 €58.2 million to €62.9 million.
The accounts show that the firm incurred €6.2 million in exploration costs.