Finland has ousted Saskatchewan as the top international jurisdiction for mining investment, Canada’s Fraser Institute announced on Thursday.
Canada’s leading independent think-tank, the Fraser Institute, administers its Annual Survey of Mining Companies and ranks jurisdictions around the world based on a combination of their geological attractiveness for minerals and metals and their policy attractiveness.
“Rich mineral reserves, competitive taxes, efficient permitting procedures and certainty around environmental regulations will still attract significant investment – even with slumping commodity prices,” said senior director of energy and natural resource studies Kenneth Green.
The 2016 Investment Attractiveness Index report showed that Canada had both the best (Saskatchewan) and second-best (Manitoba) mining jurisdictions in the world, but this changed in 2017, with Finland jumping from fifth position in the 2016 survey, to the top of the most recent list, while Saskatchewan dropped to second place, followed by Nevada – up from fourth place in 2016.
The Republic of Ireland ranked fourth this year, and Western Australia dropped from third in 2016, to fifth in 2017. Rounding out the top ten were Quebec, Ontario, Chile, Arizona, and Alaska, the institute said.
Guatemala ranked as the least attractive jurisdiction in the world for investment on the same index, replacing the Argentinian province of Jujuy as the least attractive jurisdiction in the world. Also in the bottom ten were Kenya, Mendoza, Chubut, Mozambique, Bolivia, Venezuela, Romania, China and Nicaragua.
The Fraser Institute also derives its Policy Perception Index from the survey, which acts like a report card for governments on the attractiveness of their mining policies.
For the fifth year in a row, the Republic of Ireland had the highest PPI score of 100. Ireland was followed by Finland in second, which moved up from fourth position in the previous year. Along with Ireland and Finland the top ten ranked jurisdictions are Saskatchewan, Sweden, Nevada, Northern Ireland, Michigan, Wyoming, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.
At the bottom end of the PPI were Venezuela, Chubut, Zimbabwe, Guatemala, the Democratic Republic of Congo, China, Philippines, Indonesia, Bolivia and Ecuador. Venezuela, Chubut, Zimbabwe, Philippines, Indonesia and Ecuador were all in the bottom ten jurisdictions last year, the institute noted.
The institute noted that investment attractiveness fell slightly around the world.
In Australia, every jurisdiction received lower scores on policy this year, indicating increasingly unattractive government regulations across the country. Western Australia ranked fifth overall, followed by Queensland (12) and South Australia (14).
As a whole, Australia – which ranked as the most attractive region overall last year – has fallen to second place this year after Canada. The US is the third most attractive region overall, followed by Europe.
In South America, Chile (8) has jumped back into the top ten, after falling to thirty-ninth place last year. Peru, which ranked twenty-eighth last year, also rose to nineteenth in this year’s survey. Argentina is also much more attractive for mining investment this year, with the country’s overall score increasing by more than 50%, according to the institute.
In Africa, the median score on the PPI showed a decline this year. This was also the case for the region’s average investment attractiveness score. In terms of overall investment attractiveness, as a region, Africa ranks as the second least attractive jurisdiction for investment.
Two African countries – Zimbabwe (89) and the DRC (87) – ranked in the bottom ten of the survey rankings this year based on policy. Zimbabwe was also among the bottom ten in the previous five years. Kenya and Mozambique were the only two African jurisdictions in the global bottom ten based on their overall investment attractiveness.
According to the Fraser Institute, Botswana was again the highest-ranked jurisdiction in Africa on policy factors, ranking twenty-first in 2017, after ranking twelfth in 2016. Botswana’s decline in its PPI score this year reflected increased concerns over uncertainty concerning protected areas, political stability, and infrastructure. Namibia was the second most attractive jurisdiction when only policies were considered, ranking thirty-ninth this year.
Africa’s most industrialised economy, South Africa, moved up to the forty-eighth position for investments attractiveness, from seventy-fourth in the 2016 survey. On the PPI, the country ranked eighty-first out of 91, compared with eighty-fourth position out of 104 in the 2016 survey. Respondents cited perceived government corruption and incapacity as significant drawbacks.
“Capital is fluid and one jurisdiction’s loss can be another’s gain because mining investors will flock to jurisdictions that have attractive policies. Sound regulatory regimes are an absolute must for policymakers who want to attract increasingly precious commodity investments,” Green said.
This year, the institute received a total of 360 responses from mining executives for the survey, providing sufficient data to evaluate 91 jurisdictions, the lowest number since 2013, since the number of jurisdictions that can be included in the study tends to wax and wane owing to the cyclical nature of the mining industry, the institute advised.