The purpose of the study to which the Deputy is referring was to enable the then Minister for Energy to assess the extent of the compliance by Tara Mines Limited with the provisions of its agreement and lease dated 19 September 1975. The mine at Navan had then been in operation for about seven years.
The Minister deemed it appropriate to exercise his right to examine the accounts, financial statements and records of the company because it was a major project in which the State had a 25 per cent shareholding and was entitled to royalties, dividends and taxation therefrom. It was a matter of concern to the Minister that, at the date of commissioning of the report, no such royalties or dividends had been received by the State.
I am, as I have already indicated in this House, precluded by the confidentiality provisions of the agreement and lease from making public the contents of the report. Therefore, I am unable to comment meaningfully on any specific actions which may or may not have been taken following its receipt and consideration. However, it is a matter of public record that a demand for payment of £4,788,970 in royalties, based on the profits of the company as calculated by the Revenue Commissioners for Corporation Profits Tax purposes, was issued to Tara Mines Limited on 6 March 1987. While the company disputed this figure at the time, the matter was resolved amicably by virtue of an agreement of 30 June 1989 on foot of which Tara Mines Limited, inter alia, paid $16.1 million in full and final discharge of all past and future royalties due to the State.