Nevada earns top spot on annual Fraser Institute survey

February 23, 2021

Nevada has claimed the top spot on the Fraser Institute’s annual survey of mining companies based on the institute’s Investment Attractiveness Index.

Nevada moved up from third place in 2019 and Arizona moved up from ninth place to claim the No. 2 spot on the 2020 survey.

Other big moves included Saskatchewan which climbed eight spots from 11th in 2019 to third in 2020. Western Australia dropped to fourth this year after topping the ranking last year, and Alaska dropped a spot from fourth in 2019 to fifth in 2020. Rounding out the top 10 are Quebec, South Australia, Newfoundland & Labrador, Idaho and Finland.

When considering both policy and mineral potential in the Investment Attractiveness Index, Venezuela ranks as the least attractive jurisdiction in the world for investment followed by Argentina: Chubut, and Tanzania. Also, in the bottom 10 (beginning with the worst) are Indonesia, Argentina: La Rioja, Bolivia, Argentina: Mendoza, Zimbabwe, Spain and Michigan.

The Annual Survey of Mining Companies includes the Policy Perception Index (PPI): A “report card” to governments on the attractiveness of their mining policies. While geologic and economic considerations are important factors in mineral exploration, a region’s policy climate is also an important investment consideration. The PPI, is a composite index that measures the overall policy attractiveness of the 77 jurisdictions in the survey. The index is composed of survey responses to policy factors that affect investment decisions. Policy factors examined include uncertainty concerning the administration of current regulations, environmental regulations, regulatory duplication, the legal system and taxation regime, uncertainty concerning protected areas and disputed land claims, infrastructure, socioeconomic and community development conditions, trade barriers, political stability, labor regulations, quality of the geological database, security, and labor and skills availability.

Idaho displaced Finland from the top spot this year with the highest PPI score of 100. Idaho was followed by Wyoming in the second place, which moved from 16th in the previous year. Along with Idaho and Wyoming the top 10 ranked jurisdictions are Finland, the Republic of Ireland, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Newfound-land & Labrador, Saskatchewan and New Mexico.

The 10 least attractive jurisdictions for investment based on the PPI rankings (starting with the worst) are Venezuela, Argentina: Chubut, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Argentina: Mendoza, Tanzania, Papua New Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Indonesia, and Argentina: La Rioja.

A total of 276 responses for the survey were received, providing sufficient data to evaluate 77 jurisdictions.The Investment Attractiveness Index takes both mineral and policy perception into consideration. 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 that 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. Indeed, as discussed below, respondents consistently indicate that approximately 40 percent of their investment decision is determined by policy factors.


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