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Word on the Southern Cone jungledrums is that Chinese mining bigboy Citic is in negotiations to partner Barrick (ABX) on its troubled Pascua Lama gold project on the Chile/Argentina border. The source, who to the amazement of all readers prefers to remain anonymous, says that ABX will retain operator status but the negotiations are now more about the size of percentage to flip out to Citic than whether or not there's a deal to be done. This news comes after Chile's parliament recently sided with ABX on whether it needed to completely re-start the environmental permitting process from scratch or not, a decision that's expected to influence the decision of the key EIA committee on Pascua Lama, who opened their case investigation yesterday. Assuming ABX doesn't need to start the permitting process from scratch, the Chinese cash will flow. So now you know as much as I do. Decent source, by the way.