Saskatchewan is the most attractive jurisdiction for mining investment in Canada, and the second best worldwide, according to the latest annual global survey of mining executives released Tuesday by the Fraser Institute.
Canada’s policy think-tank’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2014, rates 122 jurisdictions around the world based on their geologic appeal and the extent to which government policies encourage exploration and investment.
This year, the potash and oil-rich prairie province was placed at the top by executives surveyed between August 26 and November 15, 2014.
But what is it that makes Saskatchewan such a magnet to mining investors? According to Kenneth Green, Fraser Institute senior director of energy and natural resources and the survey’s leader, there are two key reasons: the province’s abundance of mineral potential, and Saskatchewan’s government transparent and productive approach to mining policy.
“The province offers a competitive taxation regime, good scientific support, efficient permitting procedures and clarity around land claims. That’s what miners look for,” said Green.
Canada as a country did fairly well, as four jurisdictions — besides Saskatchewan —finished in the top 10 worldwide: Manitoba (4), Quebec (6), Newfoundland and Labrador (8) and Yukon (9).
Quebec rebounds, B.C. falls
Quebec, which had got poor reviews in the last three years, climbed back up, which suggests the period of increased red tape, higher royalties and regulatory uncertainty may be coming to and end, the report shows.
Two of Canada’s other geographically large jurisdictions — Ontario and British Columbia — didn’t fare as well. Internationally, Ontario was placed 23rd and B.C. ranked 28th, falling nine and 12 spots, respectively, compared to the 2013 survey.
“In Ontario, the New Mining Act amendments regarding First Nations consultation have resulted in complete incomprehensibility of rights on all sides,” Green said.
“Similarly in British Columbia, uncertainty concerning disputed land claims and ambiguity about what regions will be protected are deterrents to investment and exploration,” he added.
The latest survey included responses of 485 mineral exploration and development company executives from around the world. Exploration budgets reported by companies that participated in the study totalled US$2.7 billion in 2014 and US$3.2 billion in 2013, the Fraser Institute said.
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