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Argentina quarantine forces Canadian miners to reduce activity, idle workers

Vancouver-based Lithium Americas Corp. says it has suspended construction activities at its US$565-million lithium project in Argentina in accordance with government-mandated restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CEO Jon Evans says the company is in the process of "demobilizing" its construction workforce of more than 1,000 people.

He says the 40,000-tonne-per-annum project is well advanced and construction will resume when the suspension is lifted. The government has ordered a mandatory quarantine from March 20 until March 31.

The Cauchari-Olaroz project is a 50/50 joint venture between Lithium Americas and Ganfeng Lithium Co. Ltd. and is expected to begin producing in early 2021.

Meanwhile, Toronto-based Yamana Gold Inc. says it is sending home local employees and contractors at its gold-silver Cerro Moro mine in Argentina but will keep non-local staff working.

It says underground operations will be reduced but a limited workforce will continue to operate largely from its open pit operations and from stockpiled material.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 20, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:LAC, TSX:YRI)

The Canadian Press

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