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Buy or build your copper mine: Not a dilemma

Let's take two recent announcements as our baseline:
  • NGEx Resources wants you to buy and then build Los Helados in Chile. Still at PEA stage, you'd need to spend $4.3Bn as well as wait several years (five's absolute minimum, and it's more like ten) before you get your copper, which would come at a rate of 115kt/year.

This is not difficult mathematics people, even when you take into account the longer mine life that Los Helados would bring to the table. Los Helados today is a money pit, anyone buying it will have to commit $5Bn to its future and on top of that, pray the Chinese still want to buy plentybigstuff copper in 2025. Candelaria throws off free cash flow from the very moment you sign off on the deal and what with the streaming deal LUN has done on the precious metal credits, the commitment here is a billion. Same metal, roughly same production rate, same country.

Who in their right mind is buying exploration companies with big copper deposits when the tier 1 miners will accept offers on what they've already got?