This is all only my opinion of course, but I think the BFS is taking a long time because Elmer might have had to break it up into functional phases where each in itself could be the equivalent of a 15-20 year mine. It's a big project - I'm expecting a complicated, multiphased, maybe 30 or 40 year project plan.
1.2B tonnes of resource takes over 27 years to process at 120ktpd. Counting inferred, 1.8B tonnes takes over 40 years.
One of the challenges in letting a nice deposit like SC go (selling) is articulating the value of the resource outside the scope of what can be physically mined in 20+ years. Since discounting dynamics break down over long time horizons maybe it made sense to supply a potential buyer with a two phased study - one comprehending an initial startup/payback phase within the bounds of reasonable discounting and a second, 'phase two' to express the terms of the back half of the project using a renewed discounting period -- that is, a separate and second additional NPV view for phase two at yr0 20 years out.
If approached in phases, a foothold/startup SC#1 mine plan could be done for yrs1-20 to calc payback, IRR, etc in order to provide short-to-mid term business justification for an initial production decision. In theory, the mine might be calculated and deemed economic long before the resource is exhausted so you could readily cap a phase 1 at a given year to put a stake in the ground. For the mine still sitting there in the ground after, say, yr20 - value is discounted to nothing today but shouldn't be ignored. SC#2 would have infrastructure and after 20 years of mining Paramount would be sitting there exposed at 600 or 700 masl (or wherever) where CuEq is richest and 1%+. A mine phase#2 with a discounting year0 resetting could express -- one of the 'real options' -- what the next phase NPV might look like starting fresh at, for instance, 2035. Phase 2 would probably be very complicated as the pit would be getting very large (chop off the whole mountain?) and they are looking at a huge amount of waste by then.
It's pure speculation and only a nonqualified armchair idea but it sure would be interesting to see a BFS drop with a xxB NPV8 on SC Phase1 which is how everyone is trying to value us, then a whole other Phase2 (the equivalent of an entire second mine) showing another xxB NPV8 for yr20 onward (ie - yr0 reset/view from 2035 for NPV). Optics would be good for Teck being able to say, "we have a profitable phase1 worth xxB, but in twenty years we will have a phase2 equivalent of a second fresh mine projected to be worth a further xxB at that time". Remember, most projects are mined x years, maybe get lucky and expand/extend, then closedown. We are dealing with what appears to me to be a multi-generational deposit/distict instead that may only be half done (as we know it) by year20 when NPV calcs breakdown.
I have confidence Elmer is doing this right.
I think we'll see the BFS soon but it will take as long as it takes -- I think it will be phased and it will demonstrate the value of the project well. I also think we are worth more to Teck than anyone else since our 25% makes their 75% work better and we will be able to reach a fair deal with relative ease.
Good luck everyone.