Boliden to invest €44m in Tara Mines after finding new resources
Co Meath mine is Europe’s largest zinc mine with over 600 employed
Boliden says an extended tailings dam at Tara Mines will have sufficient capacity for production at current levels until 2026
The mine, which is just outside Navan, is Europe’s largest, and the world’s ninth largest zinc mine. It currently employs over 600. Production at Tara Mines began in 1977, and since then more than 80 million tonnes of ore have been mined.
Boliden Mines said a recent exploration has resulted in the discovery of a new mineralisation Tara Deep. An extension of the capacity of the tailings dam, which currently limits Tara’s lifespan, has also been decided.
The new tailings dam will have sufficient capacity for production at current levels until 2026, Boliden said.
The company’s planned investment totals €33 million, and is conditional upon obtaining official permits. The investment is based on mining until at least 2023, although the company said the new mineral resources may lead it to extend the life of the mine further.
“Tara’s exploration work in the last few years has been successful, and the capacity of the tailings dam is now limiting the life of mine to 2020. New exploration successes, increased productivity, and high zinc prices make extending the mine’s lifespan a profitable option, so we have decided to expand the tailings dam with a capacity until 2026,” said Mikael Staffas, president of Boliden.
The new Tara Deep deposit has inferred mineral resources totalling 10 million tonnes with a zinc grade of 8l5 per cent and a lead grade of 1.8 per cent. The mineralisation resembles Tara’s main ore body, but has a more complicated structure and is at a greater depth of between 1,200m and 1,900m, Boliden said.
Production at the mine for 2015 was 2.2 million tonnes of ore, down from 2.3 million tonnes a year earlier.