New Brunswick is the new world's top mining jurisdiction

Eastern Canada’s New Brunswick claimed the top spot at the world’s most attractive jurisdiction for mineral exploration and development list, released by the Fraser Institute today.

The Canadian think tank's annual survey of mining company executives, who are asked to rank mining investment opportunities by province, state, and nation, put New Brunswick in first place from 23rd last year, trumping Alberta as world’s number one.

“New Brunswick shot to the top of the rankings as miners lauded the province for its fair, transparent, and efficient legal system and consistency in the enforcement and interpretation of existing environmental regulations,” said Fred McMahon, Fraser Institute vice-president of international policy research and co-author of the report.

“Combine that with a competitive taxation regime and minimal uncertainty around disputed land claims and New Brunswick has emerged as a superstar in the view of the global mining community,” he added.

Canadian provinces still dominate the list of the world's most attractive mining jurisdictions published in the “Survey of Mining Companies: 2011/2012.” While Alberta is now third, Quebec fell to fifth place from fourth in 2011 as it continued to lose support among mining executives.

“Quebec’s reputation floundered over the past two years due to uncertainty around royalty increases and proposed changes to the provincial mining act,” the survey says. It adds that miners prefer to do business in places such as New Brunswick and Alberta, where mining policy is clear and the government is seen as resource-friendly.

Falling stars

This year, Saskatchewan fell to sixth place from third, while Manitoba dropped out of the top 10 altogether, plummeting to 20th position after ranking ninth last year.

“Respondents blasted Manitoba for its mishandling of First Nations consultations, which they say creates excessive delays in processing permits and licenses. That’s damaged the province’s reputation and is reflected in the rankings,” McMahon said.

Worldwide, the top 10 jurisdictions are New Brunswick, Finland, Alberta, Wyoming, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Sweden, Nevada, Ireland, and the Yukon.

Chile, which had been the only jurisdiction outside of North America to consistently rank among the top 10 since the beginning of the survey, dropped to the 18th place from eighth.

The South American place has been replaced by Sweden and Finland, which have now been in the top 10 for the past three years.

AmeBC

The Association for Mineral Exploration BC (AME BC) wasn't very happy with the Fraser Institute’s rankings of mining companies’ perceptions of British Columbia. In a statement released later this morning, AME BC said that policy improvements were not fully recognized in the survey results announced this year.
“British Columbia’s government worked throughout 2011 to provide further resources to agencies responsible for the industry, improve consultation timelines with aboriginal communities and address permitting efficiency,” said Gavin C. Dirom, President & CEO of AME BC.
He acknowledged that "some very important challenges still need be addressed, particularly in land access and use matters." However, Dirom added that the BC government took a number of coordinated and strategic measures to tackle many of the challenges identified by AME BC during the past year."