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Canada, Ontario still a good place to dig

Fraser Institute releases annual ranking of best global, national mining jurisdictions
Detour Gold mill construction
Construction of the Detour Gold mill, north of Cochrane, in 2011.

Ontario is the seventh most attractive mining jurisdiction in the world for financiers to plant their money.

The Fraser Institute released its Annual Survey of Mining Companies on Feb. 22.

Each year, the public policy think-tank surveys mining executives and releases a ranking of 91 jurisdictions around the world. It’s based on geologic attractiveness and what policies governments put in place to encourage or deter exploration and investment.

“Rich mineral reserves, competitive taxes, efficient permitting procedures and certainty around environmental regulations will still attract significant investment—even with slumping commodity prices,” said Kenneth Green, the Fraser’s senior director of energy and natural resource studies, in a news release.

Saskatchewan finished second in the world ranking for attracting mining investment, behind Finland.

Investors wagged their fingers at British Columbia (20th) and Alberta (49th) for regulatory uncertainty and concerns regarding disputed land claims.

Nationally, Ontario ranked third behind Saskatchewan and Quebec, but still had its detractors in the report’s comment section.

“Ontario’s high electricity rates are a deterrent to investing in the province,” wrote a consultant for an exploration company.

“Ontario’s Ring of Fire delays create uncertainty for investors and ultimately deter investment,” said the president of a mining company with more than US$50 million.

Globally, based on the combined rankings, Canada is the most attractive region for investment in the world, beating out Australia for the top spot.

“Capital is fluid and one province’s loss can be another province’s gain because mining investors will flock to jurisdictions that have attractive policies,” Green said.

“Sound regulatory regimes are an absolute must for policymakers who want to attract increasingly precious commodity investments.”