Finland claims top spot on Fraser Survey of Mining

March 5, 2013

Finland has knocked off all Canadian jurisdictions to claim the top spot on the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining. It is the first time since 2006-2007 that the top spot has not been occupied by a Canadian jurisdiction. Last year’s winner, New Brunswick slipped to fourth in the survey that represents responses from 742 companies and evaluates 96 jurisdictions.

Finland had the highest Policy Potential Index (PPI) score of 95.5. Along with Finland, the top 10 ranked jurisdictions are Sweden, Alberta, New Brunswick, Wyoming, Ireland, Nevada, Yukon, Utah, and Norway. The 10 least attractive jurisdictions for investment based on the PPI rankings are (starting with the worst): Indonesia, Vietnam, Venezuela, DRC (Congo), Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Guatemala, Philippines, and Greece.

Despite losing hold of the top spot, Canada’s average Policy Potential Index score — which assesses the overall policy attractiveness of 96 jurisdictions worldwide — improved slightly, despite only taking three of the top 10 slots compared to five last year.

“Canada did really well in the survey and has three (Alberta, New Brunswick and Yukon) in the top 10, and we also saw a lot of movement up in the territories this year too, which was great to see,” the survey’s coauthor Alana Wilson says, noting while the country remains globally competitive, there were some concerns about disputed land claims and Aboriginal consultations.

Respondents included 742 executives from mining related companies, who were asked how 15 policy factors — such as environmental regulations, disputed land claims and taxation regime — affected their decision to invest in 96 jurisdictions, which now includes French Guiana, Greece and Serbia.

Other top 10 finalists include Wyoming, in fifth, followed by Ireland, Nevada, with Utah and Norway coming in ninth and tenth. All the finalists appeared in this category last year, except for Utah and Norway.

Norway jumped to 10 from 24 last year. The survey notes Sweden and Finland have been in the final 10 for the last three and four years, respectively.

“The Nordic countries especially their prominence in the top 10 shows the importance of sound policies in guiding mining investments,” Wilson says.

On the flip side, the least favorable region was Indonesia, followed by Vietnam, Venezuela, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Guatemala, Philippines and Greece.

The DRC and Zimbabwe weren’t in the bottom 10 last year, but have dropped considerably now, with the DRC falling from 76 to 93, and Zimbabwe from 74 to 91.

According to the report, Africa’s PPI score declined, continuing a five year losing streak, with Mali dropping the most, down 37 spots to 79, while Botswana remained the top African jurisdiction to invest in, ranking 17 on a global scale, right behind Ontario.

Jurisdictions that managed to climb out of the bottom 10 this year included: Honduras, moving from last place to 83 and India, advancing seven spots to 81

The report highlights miners are tightening their purse strings, with only 46 percent saying they expect to increase their exploration budgets this year, compared to 68 percent a year ago.

Miners also appear bearish on short term commodity prices, reporting they expect reduced prices for silver, copper, coal, nickel, platinum, potash and diamonds, with gold being the only exception and anticipated to climb in value.

However, when asked about long-term prices, miners were more optimistic, projecting stable or moderate price increases.


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