CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Feb. 28, 2013) - Finland, Sweden, and Canadian provinces Alberta and New Brunswick are the best places on Earth for mining investment, according to the annual global survey of mining executives released today by the Fraser Institute.
Finland, which ranked second overall last year, unseated New Brunswick at the top of the global rankings of 96 mining jurisdictions. Sweden climbed to second overall from seventh, while Norway vaulted to 10th from 24th, highlighting the international mining community's growing interest in the Nordic countries.
"This is the fourth consecutive year that Finland and Sweden have ranked among the global top 10 for mining investment. The confidence miners have shown in Finland and Sweden proves that it's possible to enact sound environmental protections and still maintain a successful mining industry," said Kenneth Green, Fraser Institute senior director of energy and natural resources and director of the Survey of Mining Companies: 2012/2013.
The Canadian provinces Alberta and New Brunswick placed third and fourth overall. Alberta ranked No. 1 worldwide in 2011 while New Brunswick last year climbed to first from 23rd overall.
"Alberta and New Brunswick offer competitive taxation regimes, sound legal systems, and relatively low uncertainty around land claims. That's what miners are looking for," Green said.
Wyoming was the top-ranked U.S. state at fifth overall, down from fourth last year, followed by Nevada in seventh, up from eighth. Rounding out the rest of the top 10 are: Ireland (sixth), Canada's Yukon Territory (eighth), Utah (ninth), and Norway (10th).
Eight of the same jurisdictions ranked among the top 10 last year; newcomers include Utah and Norway, replacing the Canadian provinces Saskatchewan and Quebec.
Chile, which was once the only jurisdiction outside North America to consistently rank among the top 10, continues its precipitous decline in the global rankings, falling to 23rd this year from 18th in 2012 and eighth in 2011.
The Fraser Institute's Survey of Mining Companies: 2012/2013 is based on the opinions of mining executives representing 742 mineral exploration and development companies on the investment climate of 96 jurisdictions around the world (new additions this year include French Guiana, Greece, Serbia, and the subnational jurisdictions of La Rioja and Neuquen in Argentina). The companies participating in the survey reported exploration spending of $6.2 billion US in 2012 and $5.4 billion US in 2011. The complete survey is available as a free PDF download at www.fraserinstitute.org.
Victoria was the only Australian jurisdiction to improve its international standing, vaulting to 24th from 44th in 2012, while Western Australia fell to 15th overall from 12th, South Australia slipped to 20th from 19th, the Northern Territory dropped to 22nd from 11th, Queensland slid to 32nd from 28th, New South Wales fell to 44th from 32nd, and Tasmania plummeted to 49th from 30th.
Ranking as the world's worst mining jurisdictions are Indonesia, Vietnam, Venezuela, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Guatemala, Philippines, and Greece.
The report also notes that miners are pessimistic about short term commodity prices, reporting that they expect nearly level or reduced prices for silver, copper, diamonds, coal, zinc, nickel, potash, and platinum with only gold expected to increase in value significantly. In the longer term, miners expect stable or moderate price increases.
Miners' investment intentions reflect a cautious outlook: 46 percent of respondents said they plan to increase their exploration budgets in 2013, compared to 68 percent in 2012.
"In order to compete for investment on the global mining stage, jurisdictions need not only stellar resource potential but also a stable, certain, straightforward mining policy framework," Green said.
"Reduce red tape, minimize risk with regard to policy changes and tax increases, respect negotiated contracts: that's how you woo the global mining sector."
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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 86 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.