The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

March 03, 2011 06:33 ET

The Fraser Institute: Mining Industry Rebukes Quebec, Preferring Alberta and Saskatchewan for Investment

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - March 3, 2011) - Miners no longer rate Quebec as the top jurisdiction in the world for exploration and development, with the province falling to fourth place in the annual international survey of mining executives released today by the Fraser Institute, Canada's leading public policy think-tank.

Alberta topped the rankings and is viewed as the world's most attractive jurisdiction for mineral investment, according to the Survey of Mining Companies: 2010/2011. Quebec, which enjoyed a three-year reign atop the global rankings, was also overtaken by Nevada and Saskatchewan, which ranked second and third overall.

"Quebec damaged its reputation when the government proposed tax increases last spring and tabled a bill amending the provincial mining act in December 2009. These variables rocked miners' confidence in the province, as evidenced by the drop in rankings," said Jean-François Minardi, associate director of the Fraser Institute's Global Resource Centre.

"The mining industry now prefers Alberta for its resource-friendly government, competitive taxation regime, and superior infrastructure. There's minimal uncertainty around mining in Alberta."

The Fraser Institute's Survey of Mining Companies: 2010/2011 is based on the opinions of mining executives representing 494 mineral exploration and development companies on the investment climate of 79 jurisdictions around the world. The companies participating in the survey reported exploration spending of US$2.43 billion in 2010 and US$1.86 billion in 2009. The complete survey is available as a free PDF download at www.fraserinstitute.org.

This year, Canadian provinces claimed four of the top 10 spots, with Alberta jumping to first from fourth, Saskatchewan climbing to third from sixth, Quebec falling to fourth from first, and Manitoba holding steady at ninth.

The other provinces and territories generally fared well, with Newfoundland and Labrador placing 13th, the Yukon 15th, Ontario 18th, Nova Scotia 19th, New Brunswick 23rd, BC 36th, Nunavut 44th, and Northwest Territories 52nd.

Overall, the top 10 jurisdictions are Alberta, Nevada, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Finland, Utah, Sweden, Chile, Manitoba, and Wyoming. Seven of the same jurisdictions ranked among the top 10 last year; the three exceptions are Utah, which rose to sixth place from 15th; Sweden, which climbed to seventh from 12th; and Wyoming, which jumped to 10th from 13th. Chile is the only jurisdiction outside of North America that consistently ranks among the top 10.

The bottom 10 scores went to Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Wisconsin, Madagascar, India, Guatemala, Bolivia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Venezuela, and Honduras.

The report also notes that the worldwide economic turnaround has created optimism in the mining industry, with more than three quarters of respondents saying they expect to increase their exploration budgets this year.

"In order to attract investment and compete globally, governments must offer sensible, stable mining policies which, above all, uphold the rule of law and respect negotiated contracts and property rights," Minardi said.

"Royalty increases and convoluted regulatory schemes create uncertainty in mining, which the industry will always actively avoid."

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of 80 think-tanks. 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.org.

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