Tara Mines owner gets go ahead for solar farm beside zinc mine

Boliden unit gets planning permission from Meath County Council

The owner of Tara Mines has secured planning permission to develop a €20 million 18MW solar farm on an 84-acre site adjacent to its zinc mine site in Co Meath.

Meath County Council granted planning permission to Boliden Tara Mines DAC for the solar farm to provide “a secure source of clean, renewably generated energy to the Tara Mines facility”.

The proposed development won’t connect to the national grid but will instead connect to the existing electricity substation, located within the Tara Mines site.

A spokesman for Boliden said: “As we look to safeguard the long-term future of the mine, we have been exploring ways to improve our sustainability performance and establish greater control over our energy costs.”


“We note the decision that has been made by Meath County Council, and a final decision on whether to construct a solar farm will be taken at a later date.”

A report on the socio-economic benefits of the development points out that Tara Mines is a large energy consumer.

It states that the solar farm providing power to Tara Mines would “insulate the site from large fluctuations in energy costs”.

The report states that as a consequence, “it is likely that the financial benefits (savings) to Tara Mines arising from the operation of the proposed development will allow for significant reinvestment of these funds into the site”.

The report states that this investment “is likely to support the existing workforce and create further employment opportunities in the future”.

The report states that capital spend on the solar farm is likely to be approximately €20 million “with a substantial proportion of this being spent in the local, county and regional supply chains”.

The planning permission for the solar farm comes only one week after Boliden reached a proposed deal with unions for the phased re-opening of Tara Mines.

Production at the Co Meath facility was suspended last July resulting in the lay-off of 650 workers after what the company said were “significant and unsustainable financial losses” amid falling zinc prices globally.

The planning permission also follows recently filed consolidated 2023 accounts for Tara Mines Holdings DAC where directors stated that energy costs were one of the drivers behind increased operating costs last year.

One objection was lodged against the proposal by local resident, Kieran O’Sullivan who said that the size of the solar farm “is totally inappropriate for a site so close to residential properties in the rural area of Liscarton”.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times