Tanaiste Leo Varadkar with ministers Helen McEntee and Damien English and Bolidern Tara Mines general manager, General Manager, Gunnar Nyström. PHOTO: SEAMUS FARRELLY

Tanaiste visits Tara Mines for update on flooding

Varadkar gets briefing from management on situation

Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, tonight visited Tara Mines to be briefed on the flooding problem at the zinc and lead facility in Navan.

Efforts are continuing at Tara Mines to stem the flood of water into the mine, which has halted production for the past three days.

While drilling a pilot raise bore hole for a ventilation shaft, a high flow of water was encountered, which caused production to be stopped. Inflow volumes are exceeding the capacity of the dewatering infrastructure.

“The production has been stopped to focus on protecting infrastructure and equipment, whilst also eliminating unnecessary addition of water into the mine,” according to a statement from the company.

Mr Varadkar was visiting a number of agri-food and other businesses in the county with Ministers Helen McEntee and Damien English, when he made the unscheduled stop at the Navan mine to get a briefing on the seriousness of the situation there.

Speaking on Morning Ireland on RTE Radio yesterday, General Manager, Gunnar Nyström, said everyone was at work at the mine.

“We have a very skilled workforce here at Tara and all employees are needed.”

He said he could not imagine there would be any lay-offs for workers and said that safety was a major priority.

“All risk assessments have been done,” he said.

“We have a solution and we have a plan and we hope to stop the flow within days,” he said.

It is understood specialist machines are being brought in from the UK to help pump the water out.

This evening, Meath County Council said it is engaging with Tara Mines and the relevant statutory agencies in response to this situation.

“The chief executive, Jackie Maguire, has been briefed by senior management of Tara Mines and the council has an on-going dialogue with the Tara Mines team. The council will continue to engage with Tara Mines and the other stakeholders in the days ahead as the situation stabilises.”