Keep in mind that this can be an open pit operation, at least to start.  As well, ore is near surface, not down 500m.  The ore can be leached, can be high-graded and there are mills 'in the area' that could process it as well.

Doe the contract say how many tons per day must be processed?  I don't think so.     A modest throughput would get NOT's case thrown out , if it got that far.

IMHO, EAG could even have a BFS on time, if they choose to, for a smaller operation.  Studies always have a contingency percentage in them - the more unknowns, the larger the percentage.  30 % is often used for firms to commit to capital expenditure as long as a reputabe enegineering firm is used.