The mining firm Vedanta Resources last week made their final shipment of zinc ore from their Lisheen Mine facility near Moyne, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
While extraction at the mine officially concluded last November 2015, milling of the mined ore did not ceased until December. At peak production some 400 associated individuals enjoyed secure employment at the site; providing an estimated €28 million in wages and salaries annually, much of which was spent in the local economy.
Lisheen Mine in the past was also a major source of support and funding to local clubs, amenities and charities in the Thurles and surrounding areas, most recently funding playground equipment in our new Thurles town Park.
Lisheen Mine first began in 1999, following partnerships between Minorco, Anglo American and Ivernia West. In 2011, Vedanta Limited, a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources, acquired the mine from Anglo American, who had taken full ownership of the site in 2003.
The overall Lisheen operation consisted of an underground mine, a concentrator and backfill plant, producing some 300,000 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 38,000 tonnes of lead concentrate each year, for the past 17 years of its overall operation. During the lifetime of the mine it is estimated that some 22.4m tonnes of ore was mined at this Lisheen plant.
The closure of the mine is now most likely to further tighten global supplies of zinc. Used in part to galvanise steel, the price of the metal globally had dropped to its lowest levels since 2009.
From a local future prospect will this now large, well-appointed and resourced site be left to decay and lie redundant?. Will this site be identified as one of the ‘site-ready’ locations identified at tonight’s ‘Invest Tipperary’ Launch?