The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

February 23, 2012 06:32 ET

The Fraser Institute: Quebec Losing Favour in Global Mining Industry, New Brunswick and Alberta Top Provinces for Investment

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Feb. 23, 2012) - Quebec continues to decline in the view of the international mining industry, with the province now ranked fifth in the world for mining investment, according to the annual global survey of mining executives released today by the Fraser Institute, Canada's leading public policy think-tank.

"Quebec used to be a mining powerhouse, having enjoyed a three-year run as the world's most attractive mining jurisdiction from 2007 to 2010," said Jean-François Minardi, associate director of the Fraser Institute's Global Resource Centre.

"Though still in the global top-five, Quebec's ranking slipped over the past two years due to uncertainty around royalty increases and proposed changes to the provincial mining act. Miners have instead put their confidence in New Brunswick and Alberta, where mining policy is clear and the government resource-friendly."

The Survey of Mining Companies: 2011/2012 ranked New Brunswick as the world's No. 1 spot for mineral exploration and development with Alberta ranked third overall.

The Fraser Institute's Survey of Mining Companies: 2011/2012 is based on the opinions of mining executives representing 802 mineral exploration and development companies on the investment climate of 93 jurisdictions around the world (new additions this year include Missouri, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Guyana, Laos, Mauritania, Morocco, Poland, Suriname, and eight provinces of Argentina). The companies participating in the survey reported exploration spending of $6.3 billion US in 2011 and $4.5 billion US in 2010. The complete survey is available as a free PDF download at www.fraserinstitute.org.

Canadian jurisdictions claimed five of the top 10 spots this year, with New Brunswick vaulting to first from 23rd, Alberta falling to third from first, Quebec sliding to fifth from fourth, and Saskatchewan dropping to sixth from third. The Yukon jumped to 10th from 15th last year, earning it the distinction of being the first of Canada's territories ever to achieve a top-10 ranking in the survey.

Survey respondents were mostly favourable towards the remaining provinces and territories, with Ontario placing 13th, Nova Scotia 15th, Newfoundland and Labrador 16th, Manitoba 20th, British Columbia 31st, Nunavut 36th, and the Northwest Territories 48th.

Worldwide, the top 10 jurisdictions are New Brunswick, Finland, Alberta, Wyoming, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Sweden, Nevada, Ireland, and the Yukon.

The bottom 10 scores went to Vietnam, Indonesia, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, India, Venezuela, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Honduras.

The report also notes that miners appear relatively pessimistic about future commodity prices, reporting that they expect level or reduced prices for silver, copper, diamonds, coal, zinc, nickel, potash, and platinum. The only exception was gold, where a vast majority of respondents expected increased prices.

Reduced optimism is also reflected in miners' investment intentions. This year, 68 per cent of respondents said they expected to increase their exploration budgets in 2012, compared to 82 per cent who planned to hike their exploration budgets in 2011.

"The key to establishing a positive investment climate is for governments to have a clear, sensible vision for mining policy and to stick to it," Minardi said.

"By upholding the rule of law, respecting negotiated contracts and property rights, and eliminating risk with regard to tax increases and red tape, nations can attract mining investment and reap the economic and social benefits of new jobs and increased prosperity."

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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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