Fraser Institute has released its annual survey of mining industry executives that ranks mining jurisdictions worldwide for their government policies as they relate to mining, mineral potential and attractiveness for mineral investment. The latter category, investment attractiveness, is a composite ranking that takes both government policies and mineral potential into consideration.

The institute’s Survey of Mining Companies 2014 was conducted from August 26 to November 15, 2014, with a little more than half of the survey respondents representing exploration companies, 27% representing producer companies, and 22% representing consulting and other companies. The survey includes data on 122 jurisdictions, including subnational jurisdictions in Canada, Australia, the United States and Argentina.
Finland came first in the 2014 survey as the most attractive jurisdiction in the world for mining investment. Saskatchewan, Nevada, Manitoba, Western Australia, Quebec, Wyoming, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, and Alaska rounded out the top 10.

Finland displaced Western Australia, which dropped from first to fifth overall. Saskatchewan moved up five spots to second place, while Manitoba moved into the top 10, after ranking 13th last year. Greenland dropped all the way down to 41st after ranking ninth in 2013.

Looking at the bottom end of the scale, Malaysia was ranked as the least attractive jurisdiction in the world for mining investment in 2014, a significant drop from 70th (of 112) in 2013. Also in the bottom 10, beginning with the worst, were Hungary, Kenya, Honduras, Solomon Islands, Egypt, Guatemala, Bulgaria, Nigeria and Sudan.

The survey was released in late February and was based on 485 responses from representatives of companies that had exploration budgets totaling $2.7 billion. This represents a sharp decline over the past two years, from budgets of $3.4 billion reported in 2013 and $4.6 billion reported in 2012. The survey comments that this continuing year-to-year trend of decreases in exploration spending is likely due to challenges in attracting investment to the sector.

The Fraser Institute describes its survey as an informal attempt “to assess the perceptions of mining company executives about various areas of optimal and sub-optimal public policies that might affect the hospitality of a jurisdiction to mining investment. Given the survey’s very broad circulation, its extensive press coverage, and positive feedback about the survey’s utility from miners, investors, and policymakers, we believe that the survey captures, at least in broad strokes, the perceptions of those involved in both mining and the regulation of mining in the jurisdictions included in the survey.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, the survey stated that, “Miners indicated that increases in bureaucratic and regulatory requirements, lengthy ‘stakeholder’ consultations, and NGO (nongovernmental organization) pressure are driving up not only the time it takes to receive permit approval, but also the costs associated with investment.”

The Survey of Mining Companies, 2014 is available as a free download at www.fraserinstitute.org.

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