Informed sources have told Meath Live that Tara Mines is likely to be closed for a minimum of four months.

One revealed, ‘Winding down a mining facility to place it under a care and maintenance set up is not something that can be done quickly, it is a slow process and in order for it to be done safely it needs to be done over a period of four to eight weeks.

‘Then when they decide to restart it, and there is no guarantee they will, it takes the same amount of time to get it up and running again, so you are looking at a minimum time scale of around four months before the plant could be operating again.

Meanwhile Enterprise Minister Simon Coveney has urged management to engage with the unions to resolve the current impasse.

He said yesterday ‘This is a company that is under significant  financial pressure, I have spent time speaking to both sides, unions and management, what I have asked the company to do is to talk to the unions, talk through the numbers and try and agree a way forward.