U.S. tied for having worst permitting process – again

April 8, 2013

In the annual report of the global mining industry from the advisory firm of Behre Dolbear the United States again won the dubious distinction of ranking last in the world among 25 countries in the permitting criteria.

Tied with Papua New Guinea, the Behre Dolbear found that permitting delays, primarily from the federal government, have resulted in a 7- to 10-year waiting period before mine development can begin. The report stated, “this is the most significant risk to mining projects in the United States.”

The United States did rank sixth in overall stability, with the Australia earning the highest average score followed by Canada, Chile, Brazil and Mexico.

In the report, “2013 Ranking of Countries for Mining Investment: Where Not to Invest,” Behre Dolber considered the investment environment of 25 countries based on the following criteria:

• The country’s economic system
• The country’s political system
• The degree of social issues affecting mining in the country
• Delays in receiving permits due to bureaucratic and other issues
• The degree of corruption prevalent in the country
• The stability of the country’s currency
• The competitiveness of the country’s tax policy.

The fact that the U.S. tied for last with Papua New Guinea in permit delays should come as no surprise to the folks at the Rosemont Copper project south of Tucson, AZ which has been in the permitting process for more than seven years, but it does paint a disturbing picture of the U.S. system.

It gets even more troubling when the U.S. is compared to Australia which has a permitting process that runs between one-and-a-half and two years. By comparison, it now takes an average of seven to 10 years to earn all the necessary permits to mine in the United States.

American Resources Policy Network principal Daniel McGroarty’s said of Behre Dolbear’s latest findings: “Just four years ago, in 2009, the same study found that the U.S. permitting process took an average of 5 to 7 years. Today, it’s 7 to 10 years – a 40 percent increase in delays. Thanks to onerous federal rules on U.S. mine permitting, we are mired in last place with Papua New Guinea for the second year in a row. Meanwhile, other mining nations are leveraging their mineral resources to fuel manufacturing, drive economic growth, and create jobs without sacrificing environmental protections.”

Australia scored highly on economic and political stability and easily fought-off its closest competitor Canada, with Chile, Brazil and Mexico rounding out the top five.

Australia was the best country in the world for cutting down permit delays, with Tanzania and Mexico coming in at second and third.

According to Behre Dolbear, Australia also had the least mining corruption in the world, beating Canada and the United States to take out top spot.

The United States did rank in the top five for country’s economic system, political system, corruption and currency stability.
The 2013 Behre Dolbear report can be read in its entirety here:

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