Canada scaring mining investors with long, unclear permit processes

Mining investors are losing confidence in the mineral exploration permit process in most Canadian provinces with applications taking longer to be approved and a lack of transparency, a new study released Tuesday shows.

According to the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian policy think-tank, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec are the three main provinces where exploration requests have grown longer and less transparent over the past 10 years.

In fact, 50% of the mining executives that participated in Fraser’s latest “Mining Survey”, indicated a lack of transparency in Ontario deters investment, followed by 48% of respondents in B.C. and 40% in Quebec.

Canada scaring mining investors with long, unclear permit processIn 2017, 83% of companies with projects in Ontario said that permit times had lengthened over the last ten years compared to 73% in B.C. and 50% in Quebec. On average, more respondents in the Canadian jurisdictions indicated that permit times were getting considerably longer compared to respondents in Australia and Scandinavia.

Canada scaring mining investors with long, unclear permit process

Kenneth Green, Fraser Institute resident scholar and co-author of “Permit Times for Mining Exploration in 2017” says the situation no only deters investment, but also “hinders Canada’s ability to realize its considerable resource potential.”

“Ultimately, uncompetitive mining policies send valuable investment dollars — and the jobs and prosperity they create —elsewhere,” he says.

The survey’s results were broken into three areas: the length of time it takes to be approved for the necessary permits, the transparency of the permitting process, and the certainty of the permitting process.

Canada scaring mining investors with long, unclear permit process

As a conclusion, Green says, we don’t suggest that regulations should be lessened in order to reduce the risks and costs to industry; rather we argue that regulations should be as efficient and cost effective as possible while trying to address concerns like externalities that can result from exploration activities.