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Mining report card shows Ontario has room for improvement

Province drops to 18th globally in Fraser Institute mining company survey
Treasury Metals geologists 2
Treasury Metals geologists (Photo supplied)

Saskatchewan and Manitoba are the two most attractive jurisdictions for mining investment in the world, according to the Fraser Institute’s annual survey of mining companies, released Feb. 28.

The two provinces topped Western Australia, which fell from 1st to 3rd this year. Internationally, Ontario placed 18th, down three spots last year’s rankings, and British Columbia finishes at 27th, falling from 18th last year.

The Calgary-based policy think-tank annually ranks 104 global jurisdictions based on policy and geologic attractiveness for minerals and metals.

"Competitive tax regimes, efficient permitting procedures and certainty surrounding environmental regulations and land-claims have vaulted Saskatchewan and Manitoba to the top in the eyes of miners looking to invest," said survey co-author Kenneth Green in a news release.

"While other jurisdictions in Canada and around the world have improved their attractiveness to investors, Ontario and B.C. fell this year because these provinces continue to be hampered by uncertainty surrounding land claims," added co-author Taylor Jackson.

In the comments section, the vice-president of a producer company called amendments to Ontario’s Mining Act involving a switch to map staking and a new requirement for exploration permits “deterrents to investment in the province.”

A president of a producer company said: “Building a road or rail to the Ring of Fire would help to encourage investment in the province.”

Another exploration company vice-president said requirements for companies to clean up legacy environmental issues with old fuel caches, camps and debris “without assuming liability or responsibility for those sites is a positive step. Other jurisdictions should take note of this.”

On government exploration permitting processes, the Fraser Institute called B.C. and the Territories “laggards” in permitting times, performing worse than Ontario and Quebec when comes to approval times for permitting, the transparency of the process, and the confidence expressed by the companies.

"Time is money, and if permit approval times are unnecessarily long or lack transparency, confidence plummets, overall costs increase and investors will take their money elsewhere," Green said.