Goldcorp evacuates Eleonore project in Quebec due to forest fire

Thu Jul 4, 2013 1:22pm EDT
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TORONTO, July 4 (Reuters) - Goldcorp Inc said on Thursday it has halted all construction work at its Eleonore gold project in northern Quebec and started evacuating staff from the site due to forest fires in the region.

The Vancouver-based company said that a fire, now about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the development-stage project in the James Bay region of the province, is advancing toward the site with prevailing winds.

It was not immediately clear what impact the halt and evacuation would have on the project, which Goldcorp has expected to start producing gold in late 2014.

"The situation is dynamic so we can't speculate as to the scope of the impact on construction schedules or infrastructure," spokeswoman Christine Marks told Reuters. "At this point, our concern is for the safety of our people."

Marks said about 500 people were working at the site and that some were evacuated on Wednesday night, with the rest leaving on Thursday. A small crew will remain on site to manage preventive measures.