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Delays bog projects

A study for the World Bank by Boston's Charles River Associates shows that delays are the rule in most natural-resource projects. When it comes to mining and metals industries, financial projections are "literally, not to be believed" unless the delays are already accounted for in the projection.

Returns on investment will seldom achieve the targeted level because unforeseen problems, such as an uncharted underground stream flooding a mine shaft, a poorly designed furnac e, or variations in ore, often delay start-up.

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