Survey shows Manitoba and Alberta considered most attractive in the world for mining investment



    TORONTO, March 5 /CNW/ - Manitoba and Alberta are considered by mining
executives as having the best policy environments in the world for mining
investment, according to the Survey of Mining Companies 2006/2007, released
today by independent research organization The Fraser Institute.
    Manitoba topped the survey for the first time, knocking off perennial
favourite, Nevada, which fell to number three after a six-year run on top.
Alberta retained its number two ranking for the third year in a row. British
Columbia, after years of improvement, has stalled and is the lowest ranked of
the Canadian provinces.
    "Manitoba has long been among the top jurisdictions and its number one
ranking this year is a result of having clear, consistent policies that are
applied evenly and fairly over the long term," said Fred McMahon, co-ordinator
of the survey and the Institute's Director of Trade and Globalization Studies.
    "Our experience with the survey has shown that above all, mineral
exploration companies value stability and certainty when it comes to
government policy."
    Other jurisdictions rounding out the top 10 are Utah, South Australia,
New Brunswick, Quebec, Queensland, Tasmania, and Saskatchewan. Six of these
jurisdictions were in the top 10 last year and only one, Queensland, was not
in the top 20. Full results of the survey are available at
www.fraserinstitute.ca
    The big international news in the survey is that Chile has for the first
time fallen out of the top 10 policy jurisdictions, dropping all the way to
the 27th spot.
    The Fraser Institute's annual survey asks mining company executives to
provide opinions about the investment attractiveness of 65 jurisdictions
around the world on every continent except Antarctica, including sub-national
jurisdictions in Canada, Australia, and the United States. This year, Colombia
was added to the survey.
    The overall rankings are based on the survey's Policy Potential Index, a
composite index that measures the effects on mining exploration of government
policies including uncertainty concerning the administration, interpretation,
and enforcement of existing regulations; environmental regulations; regulatory
duplication and inconsistencies; taxation; uncertainty concerning native land
claims and protected areas; infrastructure; socioeconomic agreements;
political stability; labour issues; geological database; and security.
    The bottom ranked jurisdiction was Zimbabwe, with the second-lowest score
ever recorded in the Policy Potential Index. Other low-ranking scorers were
Venezuela, Bolivia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Kazakhstan,
Russia, DRC Congo, and Indonesia.

    The Canadian picture

    This year's report represents the first time since the 2001/2002 survey
that British Columbia has not marked an improvement in its ranking. Its
ranking of 30th overall is down from the 23rd place it scored in 2005/2006.
This makes British Columbia the lowest ranked of the Canadian provinces,
although it is still ranked above the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
However, it's worth noting that Nunavut improved its ranking to 39th from 53rd
and the Northwest Territories rose to 41st from 52nd.
    The Atlantic Provinces also showed significant upward movement, with New
Brunswick moving to sixth overall from 18th, Nova Scotia improving to 17th
from 35th and Newfoundland and Labrador rising to 22nd from 39th. The Yukon
was the lone other Canadian territory to improve, rising to 11th from 21st
last year.
    The remaining Canadian provinces all saw their rankings decrease.
Although they remain in the top 10 overall, Quebec fell to seventh from fifth
while Saskatchewan dropped to 10th from seventh. Ontario fell out of the top
10 altogether, dropping to 20th from ninth last year.
    "The major movement in the top 10 shows three Australian jurisdictions
moving upward - South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, supplanting
Ontario, Mexico and Chile," McMahon said. "The rise of Australia again
reinforces how jurisdictions must be prepared to compete on an international
basis to attract mining investment."

    Significant international developments

    The main international development in this year's survey is the
significant decline of Chile in various rankings, as reflected in its drop to
27th after ranking third last year. Most worryingly, of the 12 policy areas
examined in the survey, Chile suffered its biggest declines in the areas of
political stability and security.
    The many negative responses towards Mongolia highlight problems in that
country as its ranking plummeted to 62nd from 33rd last year. As the president
of one producer company put it: "Mongolia has literally overnight changed
policy from one of openness to one that heavily penalizes foreign owned
mines."

    Media Contact:
    Fred McMahon, Director of Centre for Globalization Studies
    The Fraser Institute, Tel: (416) 363-6575 ext: 226
    Email: fredm@fraserinstitute.ca

    The Fraser Institute is an independent research and educational
organization based in Canada. Its mission is to measure, study, and
communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on
the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute's independence, it does
not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit
www.fraserinstitute.ca




For further information:

For further information: Dean Pelkey, Associate Director of
Communications, The Fraser Institute, Tel: (604) 714-4582, Email:
deanp@fraserinstitute.ca

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