I don't think many people on this board understand the reality of mining these days, in terms of economics, or politics.
100-150 mil can get the mine running at the old rate (500 tons REOs per year) for sure, but that is not optimal from an economic stand point. Inflation for everything is everywhere in the mining industry. Yes, Stans is in Kyrgyzstan where cheap labour is abundant and power costs are low, but, that doesn't mean the capex will be so dirt cheap.
The capex costs, for a 1500-2000 ton REO operation, that must be accounted for are: mine striping, a new mill, mill tailings dam, a new facility for plants 1 and 2 based on VNIIHT's new cracking method, plus an addition talings pond for this plant, and possibly some infrastructure upgrades. This will surely cost > 250 mil, and I think a more realistic figure is 325 mil all in, with contingency.
This figure is very small relative to other RE companies, and it gives Stans a strategic advantage. There is far less execution risk, which in my humble opinion, is more important than politcal risk.
And.... why do you think Stans is teaming up with the Russian government research institute for chemical technologies (VNIIHT)? Yes they have done great work for us, but rare earths are strategic for Russia's emerging high tech industry, and their national security. If VNIIHT verifies that Kutessay II is a good investment, who do you think will be putting up the money for the project? I think it just makes sense for the Russians to get K2 back in production. I think it's less likely that multinationals from Japan, Korea, China, Germany or the US fund the project. I think this is why Robert and Boris are in Moscow so often. 325 mil is a peanut price for Russian national security. I think that the Kygyz government will think twice about impeding the progress of this project for extortion-like practises if the Russian government has an interest.
Be realistic, while seeing the big picture. K2 is still the only immediate option for HREs outside of China. Someone is going to pay up for our little mine, it's just a matter of time. Stans has more RE experts on their side than anyone else, and the company is moving forward spending about 1/3 less per month than any other potential HRE producer, so we're not in a financing death spiral. All signs lead to K2 being the first into production.