A Conference in Loughrea, Co. Galway on 30th January 2016, celebrated the opening of the Tynagh Mine over 50 years ago in October 1965.
The Tynagh mine operated from 1965 to 1981 by Northgate Group subsidiary Irish Base Metals Ltd., and was the start of a new mining era in Ireland, leading to the development of base metal mines at Silvermines, Gortdrum, Avoca, Navan, Galmoy and Lisheen, which in turn allowed Ireland to become a leading producer of zinc and lead concentrate.
Several geoscience related businesses have emerged from the Irish mining sector; Mining Contractors QME and LTMS; Drilling companies Irish Drilling, Priority Drilling and OMAC Laboratories (now part of ALS Group), together with firms of consulting geologists CSA (now SLR) and BRG. In addition, the sector has seen the development of over 20 mineral exploration and mining companies which have been active across the globe.
Over 130 people attended the Tynagh commemoration which heard presentations from John Colthurst on geology; Robin Oram on mining; John Teeling on economic impacts; John Kearney on the impact on Irish mining and Dan Shields on post closure socio-economic issues. The opening address was by Koen Verbruggen, Director of the Geological Survey of Ireland.
The Conference was preceded by a visit to Priority Drilling Ltd.’s premises near Tynagh, which included examination of drill core and drilling equipment.