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Lithium Americas halts Argentina construction

The Cauchari-Olaroz project in Argentina. Image courtesy of Lithium Americas Corp

Lithium Americas (TSX: LAC, NYSE: LAC) announced on Friday that construction activities at the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project in Jujuy, Argentina, are temporarily suspended, in accordance with government-mandated restrictions in response to covid-19.

On March 19, the government of Argentina enacted the Urgency Decree, ordering, among other provisions, a national mandatory quarantine effective from March 20 until March 31.

The project will be placed on care and maintenance. No employees are currently identified as infected with covid-19, the company said.  

“We are in the process of safely demobilizing the over 1,000 person construction workforce in support of the government of Argentina’s measures to control the spread of covid-19,” said chief executive Jon Evans.

“Our development of this world-class lithium project is well advanced and we would expect to be able to resume construction once the suspension is lifted,” he added.

The suspension of construction may impact the company’s previous estimate for completion of construction by early 2021, it said. At the end of February, construction of the 40 000 t/d battery-quality lithium carbonate project was about 36% complete.