Pension closure boosts mine profits to £40.3m
The Tara Mines operation in Co Meath owned by Swedish group Boliden saw its profits soar last year to €45.7m (£40.3m) as it recorded an exceptional gain related to the closure of its defined benefit pension scheme.
The closure of the scheme resulted in a €44.8m gain for the company behind the mine at Navan, which is the world's eighth-largest zinc mine.
It had a €24.2m (£21.3m) pension-related gain the year before.
Excluding the gain, the company's operating profit for 2016 was €1.3m (£1.1m). That compared to a €22.7m loss before exceptional gains in 2015.
The 2016 figure was despite turnover at the mine soaring 40% to €217.5m (£192m) as the operation benefited from higher prices for zinc and lead.
Accounts just filed for the operation show that the average price per tonne of zinc during 2016 rose 8.7% to $2,095 (£1,554).
The average price per tonne of lead was $1,872 (£1,388), which was 4.9% higher than in 2015.
The mine, which employs about 700 people, produced 2.6m tonnes of ore last year, which compared to 2.2m tonnes in 2015.
Tara, which opened in 1977, accounts for half of Boliden's total zinc concentrate output.
Earlier this year, Boliden said it will invest €44m (£38.8m) in the mine after finding additional reserves.
The new find - called Tara Deep - will also make Tara one of the world's deepest mines. In the summer, it received planning approval for a project to extend the mine's so-called tailings dam - used to store mining by-products after ore is separated from the material in which it's embedded.
It comes after Canadian mining giant Dalradian Resources announced it was lodging a planning permission for an underground goldmine in Curraghinalt in Co Tyrone.
The firm has said the mine would be worth $1bn (£0.7bn) over a 25-year lifespan.