The Fraser Institute released its annual report of mining jurisdictions around the world and two Canadian provinces claimed the top two spots. Saskatchewan was ranked number one overall and Manitoba moved up 17 spots to claim the second spot. Western Australia, which ranked first in the previous report fell to third place of the 104 jurisdictions as determined by a poll of mining executives.
The survey was conducted from Aug. 30 to Nov. 18, 2016. It was sent to approximately 2,700 exploration, development and other mining-related companies around the world. The participating companies reported exploration spending of US$2.7 billion in 2016 and $3.2 billion in 2015.
The survey attempts to assess how mineral endowments and public policy factors such as taxation and regulatory uncertainty affect exploration investment.
An overall Investment Attractiveness Index is constructed by combining the Best Practices Mineral Potential index, which rates regions based on their geologic attractiveness, and the Policy Perception Index, a composite index that measures the effects of government policy on attitudes toward exploration investment. While it is useful to measure the attractiveness of a jurisdiction based on policy factors such as onerous regulations, taxation levels, the quality of infrastructure, and the other policy related questions respondents answered, the Policy Perception Index alone does not recognize the fact that investment decisions are often sizably based on the pure mineral potential of a jurisdiction.
“Competitive tax regimes, efficient permitting procedures and certainty surrounding environmental regulations and land-claims have vaulted Saskatchewan and Manitoba to the top in the eyes of miners looking to invest,” said Kenneth Green, senior director of the Fraser Institute’s energy and natural resource studies.
Saskatchewan’s policy of staged and set time periods for getting permits was viewed positively, as was Manitoba’s industry tax rate.
Quebec was Canada’s third most attractive region for miners and ranked sixth overall. Yukon ranked 15th overall. Ontario slipped to 18th from 15th in last year’s survey while British Columbia fell further, from 18th last year to 27th in the most recent survey.
Rounding out the top ten are Nevada, Finland, Quebec, Arizona, Sweden, the Republic of Ireland and Queensland.
When considering both policy and mineral potential in the Investment Attractiveness Index, the Argentinian province of Jujuy ranks as the least attractive jurisdiction in the world for investment.
This year, Jujuy replaced another Argentinian province—La Rioja—as the least attractive jurisdiction in the world. Also in the bottom 10 (beginning with the worst) are Neuquen, Venezuela, Chubut, Afghanistan, La Rioja, Mendoza, India, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.
The United States’ median investment attractiveness score improved slightly this year. The most attractive state to pursue exploration investment in, based on policy factors and mineral potential, is Nevada, which this year ranked as the fourth most attractive jurisdiction in the world.
Based on the region’s median investment attractiveness score, the United States is now the third most attractive region in the world for investment, only slightly behind Canada and Australia. The median PPI score for the United States increased again in 2016. The state with the most attractive policy environment alone is Nevada, which ranked 5th in the world. Wyoming (7th) was the only other American state in the top 10.
Idaho and New Mexico were the two US jurisdictions that saw the greatest improvement in their PPI scores.