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Western Australia drops to fourth in Fraser Institute global mining investment rankings

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By Colin Hay - 
Fraser Institute mining survey 2023

After sitting proudly at number one in 2021 and number two for 2022, Western Australia has slid to 4th in the 2023 survey of mining investment destinations produced by the Fraser Institute.

The Canadian policy think-tank has named Utah as the most attractive jurisdiction in the world for mining investment, with Nevada and Saskatchewan also moving above WA in the annual rankings.

The least-attractive jurisdiction for mining investment overall is Niger, with four of the ten least-attractive jurisdictions located in Africa.

Extensive survey

Elmira Aliakbari, director of the Fraser Institute’s Centre for Natural Resource Studies and co-author of the report, said this year’s report used responses from 293 mining company participants to rank 86 jurisdictions around the world based on their geologic attractiveness (minerals and metals) and government policies that encourage or deter exploration and investment.

“A sound regulatory regime coupled with competitive taxes makes a jurisdiction attractive to investors,” Ms Aliakbari said.

“Policymakers across the globe should understand that mineral deposits alone are not enough to attract investment.”

After ranking 17th in 2022, Utah leads the policy perception index with the rest of the top ten in order being Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Botswana, Nevada, Quebec, Arizona, Finland, Wyoming and Alberta.

Largely due to its policy perception, WA’s ranking fell to 17th.

Canada: the good and not so good

Canada dominated this year’s rankings with five in the top ten.

The remaining five are in the United States (three) and Australia (two), with the Northern Territory coming in 8th.

The survey did however find that some Canadian jurisdictions have failed to capitalise on their strong mineral potential due to a lack of a solid policy environment.

Despite being among the top ten most attractive jurisdictions for mineral endowment, Yukon and the Northwest Territories rank 28th and 45th respectively when considering policy factors alone.

Uncertainty surrounding protected areas, land claims disputes and environmental regulations continues to hinder mining investment in various Canadian jurisdictions.