Mine Site News (August 01, 2000)
Europe’s Newest Zinc-Lead Mine Opens
The Lisheen mine, the fifth largest zinc and lead mine in the world, opened officially in late June near Thurles, County Tipperary, in Ireland. The mine is expected to produce 4.83 million dry tonnes of zinc and lead concentrates during its 14-year lifespan. However, it is hoped that continuing exploration will uncover additional reserves to extend the mine’s life.
The Lisheen deposit was discovered by Ivernia West plc in 1990, and has been developed at a capital cost of US$280 million. At full production, the mine will employ over 300 people, about 80% of whom will be recruited locally.
The production plan calls for the mining and treatment of 1.5 million tonnes of ore per year, or 5,000 tonnes per working day over a six-day week. It commenced production in September 1999. At full production Lisheen is expected to produce an average of 300,000 tonnes of zinc concentrates and 40,000 tonnes of lead concentrates per year.
The opening of Lisheen secures Ireland’s position as the largest producer of zinc concentrates in Europe and the sixth largest in the world. Lisheen is an equal joint venture between the Irish miner Ivernia West plc and world miner and natural resources company Anglo American plc. The mine is operated by Anglo Base Metals (Ireland) Ltd., which is owned by Anglo American plc.
Lisheen operates under strict environmental standards. It will be the first mine in Ireland to obtain an IPC (Integrated Pollution Control) licence from the Environmental Protection Agency, and has a full restoration program at the end of the mine’s lifespan.