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Barrick (ABX) to Chile: “Please fine us U$16.4m”

The Pascua Lama high jinks drag on. Yesterday’s episode was a limit date to appeal against a recent ruling handed down by Chile’s environmental tribunal that Barrick (ABX) should not pay the U$16.4m fine slapped on the company by the country, but the whole process needs to be re-examined. With just a couple of hours left on the clock, the ABX lawyers did indeed appeal against the ruling and a decision is now expected on that next week.
Or in short: ABX wants to pay the U$16.4m fine imposed upon it and move on. That’s probably because it’d mean the current Enviro permit would not have to be scrapped in its entirety and the whole permitting process started again (that would take years to do), whereas if the ruling came under re-examination they might get a “started the EIA process again” nightmare directive. And that matters because ABX wants to get a green light on Pascua Lama again, even though it said in 2013 that it was deferring the project. And THAT in turn matters because ABX now has Chinese big money interested in buying into a minority part of Pascua Lama and providing the cash injection it needs to get the things going again and into production by 2016 (or 2017).
Did you follow all that? Me neither, but all you really need to know is that Citic will write a very large cheque if the Bachelet government allows the project to go ahead. So for ABX the sooner the green light comes the better, which means they want to pay the fine now.

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