Market News & Headlines >> Argentine Crush Plant Back on Line after COVID-19 Halt

Operations are largely back online at a huge oilseed crushing and export plant operated by Chinese commodities giant COFCO in Timbues, Argentina, which shut down last week following an outbreak of COVID-19 among workers, a company spokesman told Reuters News Service on Monday. 

Twelve employees who tested positive last month are asymptomatic and 77 other workers had been tested as well, all coming up negative. The outbreak was in the plant's sampling station, where farm products are received at the Timbues port facility on the Parana River. 

The outage at the plant, which employs 350 workers and has an annual grains and oilseeds capacity of 6.5 million metric tons, started on July 27. The cases had thrown a scare into Argentina's grains sector, the country's top source of export dollars as the pandemic pushes the economy deeper into recession. 

Meanwhile, Bunge Ltd last week briefly halted operations at its export facility in Puerto General San Martin, Argentina, after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. A Bunge spokeswoman told Reuters on Monday that the plant "resumed operations on Friday and had no other case confirmed after more tests were done with employees."