Boliden is planning to resume wage negotiations next month with around 650 employees at its Tara zinc operation in Ireland with a view to resuming output in the second quarter of 2024, the Swedish miner told Reuters.
Boliden put its Tara operations on care and maintenance in June due to negative cash flows after prices of the galvanizing metal hit a three-year low on Jun. 1 2023.
A restart would boost supplies of the world’s fourth most used metal and potentially add to surpluses of refined zinc expected by analysts for next year.
The Tara mine, which produced 198,000 tonnes of zinc concentrates in 2022, is the largest in Europe.
“We must address operational challenges at Tara Mines,” Boliden’s spokesman Klas Nilsson told Reuters in an email.
Nilsson said Boliden will present the plan to the unions in January and seek to reach an agreement with them.
“If we can reach an agreement by the first week in February, our ambition is to re-open the mine in the second quarter in 2024, assuming that there is no significant deterioration in market conditions.”
Tara zinc concentrates are mainly used as feedstock for Boliden’s Odda zinc smelter in southern Norway, where the company is aiming to increase its production capacity to 350,000 tons in the second half of next year from 200,000 tons, the spokesperson said.
“We will commence production in the new facilities during the second half of 2024, we have however not communicated the pace of the ramp up and there will of course be a period of ramp up,” Nilsson said.
Source: Market Screener