Canada no longer in top 10 for investment in mining industry, record lows

Canada used to be home to 4 of the top 10 areas where mining investment was most attractive. The annual survey by Fraser Institute shows that Canada has dropped off.

Sam Edwards High Level Alberta

Canada used to be home to four of the top 10 areas where mining investment was most attractive. In the annual survey of mining companies by Fraser Institute, Canada's provinces and territories have dropped off.

Senior policy analyst at the institute, Ashley Stedman said that they "do this survey every year, but for the first time in a decade, no Canadian province or jurisdiction ranked in the global top 10.”

In the survey, mining executives were asked to share how they think policy affects the industry in over 80 mining regions throughout the world. Some of the policy they were asked about included labour, taxation, and environment according to CBC News.

The survey collects the responses and also gives an attractiveness index to the geological potential to the region out of 100.

Quebec, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and Yukon Were among the top 10 in the 2018 survey. Besides Alberta, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick—all Canadian regions broke the top 20.

Saskatchewan’s mining-related policy achieved the top spot in the world.

Everywhere in Canada besides Ontario, Nova Scotia and Alberta dropped to a lower spot on the list in 2019. All three territories in the North dropped over 10 places.

“Policy and regulatory uncertainty is escalating across the country,” noted Stedman. “This should be a serious concern for policymakers.”

New Brunswick saw the biggest drop on the index in the country—losing close to 20 points due to decreasing potential and trade uncertainty.

Every region in Canada suffered when it came to policy index which is a measure of how attractive the regions are for investments due to government policies. The NWT dropped 14 points while Manitoba dropped 22. Yukon also dropped over 10 points.

Uncertainty about consultation requirements and land claims were a big factor in the declining scores according to the survey.

Infrastructure was one of the concerns in Nunavut and the NWT. Nunavut was below Nicaragua in the ranks, while NWT was below Mali.

Everyone surveyed in Yukon noted that there was a lack of transparency in the permitting process which discouraged investment. About 80 percent of people surveyed in the NWT also noted that it was a concern.

Uncertainty about the regulations that will be enforced in the future are discouraging both there and in Nunavut.

In Yukon, Nunavut and the NWT nobody involved in the survey expected to be given their permits within three months. About 20 percent of respondents in the NWT expected the process to take at least two years.

“We want to see it as a report card on government policies. Investors are raising the red flag here that governments need to streamline regulations and provide certainty.” said Stedman

The findings are similar across the country.

Quebec dropped 12 points while BC dropped four. Mining executives were concerned about unsettled land claims in both provinces.

Executives were worried about tax policy as well as regulatory duplication in Saskatchewan, which dropped 10 points.

It was not all bad in Alberta which jumped 20 places to become the highest ranking jurisdiction in Canada.

But Stedman noted that the numbers in the 2019 survey do not reflect the Teck Resources Frontier Mine fallout. The project was deserted after the public showed significant opposition.


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