Tara Mine

Coordinates: 53°39′19″N 06°42′54″W / 53.65528°N 6.71500°W / 53.65528; -6.71500
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Tara Mine
Tara Mine is located in Ireland
Tara Mine
Tara Mine
County Meath
CountryRepublic of Ireland
Coordinates53°39′19″N 06°42′54″W / 53.65528°N 6.71500°W / 53.65528; -6.71500
Productslead, zinc
Typecarbonate-hosted lead-zinc ore deposits
Greatest depth1,000 metres (3,300 ft)
Opened1977 (1977)
Iarnród Éireann 071 Class Shunting a train of ore at the terminal on Alexandra Road, Dublin Port.

Tara Mines is a zinc and lead mine near Navan, County Meath, Ireland. Tara is an underground mine where the orebody lies between 50 and 900 metres below the surface. The orebody is within the carbonate-hosted lead-zinc ore deposits of the Navan Deposit.[1]

The deposit was discovered in 1970 by Brian Byrne in conjunction with Derek Michael Romer while working for Pat Hughes' Northgate Exploration. Development started in 1973 and production began in 1977. Tara Mine is operated by Boliden. It is the largest zinc mine in Europe and the eighth largest in the world producing 200,000 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 40,000 tonnes of lead concentrate annually.

The planning conditions for the Tara mines included:

  • The mining site was to be screened by trees to reduce visual impact.
  • Noise and air pollution were closely monitored.
  • Large quantities of mining waste or tailings were carefully managed.
  • Water used in the operation was purified before being released into the Blackwater River.

Broken ore is delivered to one of five underground crushers and reduced in size to less than 150mm before being carried by conveyor to a 3,600t capacity storage bin at the base of the production shaft. Skip loading and hoisting are automatic. Ore is supplied, at an hourly rate of 570 tonnes, to the surface coarse ore storage building, with a 30,000t capacity, known as the Tepee. The concentrates are shipped via Dublin Port to Boliden's smelters in Kokkola, Finland and Odda, Norway and to other smelters throughout Europe. Tara Mines is connected by railway to Drogheda via Navan, where daily loads of ore are sent to Dublin Port.

Due to low zinc prices, production was halted between 2001 and 2003. In 2009 production was again threatened as demand for zinc, used to galvanise steel for the car and construction industries, declined sharply due to the slowdown in the global economy. Zinc and lead prices maintained their strength throughout 2011 due to continued demand from China and India. Ore production from Tara Mines continued strongly throughout 2011. The mine was temporarily closed again in July 2023 due to factors including a fall in zinc prices and increased energy costs, with Boliden aiming to reopen the facility in the second quarter of 2024.[2]

A brand new Autogenous Grinding mill, which replaces large sections of the original crushing and grinding plant, became operational in October 2009.[3]


  1. ^ Drummond, Drew; Blakeman, Robert; Ashton, John H.; Farrelly, Ian; Cloutier, Jonathan; Yesares, Lola; Boyce, Adrian (11 September 2023). "Ore depositional processes at the carbonate-hosted Tara Deep Zn-Pb deposit, Navan, Ireland". Irish-type Zn-Pb deposits around the world. Irish Association for Economic Geology. doi:10.61153/dpcd8412.
  2. ^ O'Regan, Ellen (30 November 2023). "Tara Mines owner aims to reopen by second quarter of next year". The Irish Times. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  3. ^ "Swedish Boliden says unions accept Tara mine deal". Reuters. Archived from the original on 29 April 2023.

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