[Ontario] PC’s conclusions inaccurate: Fraser Institute – by Jonathan Migneault (Sudbury Star – October 3, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

The Tories said Ontario fell from the top mining jurisdiction in the world in 2000 to 17th in 2012, but that information isn’t accurate, according to the right-wing think tank that authored the survey the PCs cited.

In its white paper report on Northern jobs and resources, the Conservatives cited findings from the Fraser Institute’s Survey of Mining Companies 2012-13 to make the assessment of Ontario’s global status in mining. But Ken Green, the Fraser Institute’s senior director of natural resources studies, said in an email the Conservative white paper report “does not conform to the findings of our survey.”

The Fraser Institute survey contained two main indices: the Policy Potential Index and the Current Mineral Potential Index. It did not include an overall global mining ranking, as was implied in the Conservative white paper.

Norm Miller, Conservative MPP for Parry-Sound Muskoka, and the party’s critic for Northern Development and Mines, confirmed the party’s report was referring specifically to the Fraser Report’s Current Mineral Potential Index. Ontario was the first of 35 jurisdictions in the index in 2000, but fell to 17th out of 96 jurisdictions in 2012.

“Sadly, under the policies of the current government, Ontario has now fallen to number 17 globally and ranks seventh among Canadian provinces,” the Conservative white paper read.

To create the index, the Fraser Institute surveyed around 4,100 exploration, development and mining companies around the world. The Mineral Potential Index is based on respondents’ answers to a survey question about whether or not a jurisdiction’s mineral potential under the current policy environment encourages or discourages exploration.

Alana Wilson, a senior economist with the Fraser Institute’s Centre for Natural Resources, said in an email that long-term comparisons using the data would not be meaningful because the survey sample, and included jurisdictions, have changed significantly over a 12-year period.

Still, Miller said the province should repeal the Far North Act — which protects half the Far North from development — to encourage mine exploration.

The Conservatives have also set a target to open 10 mines in five years. “We think it’s import a nt to have an aggressive target to get the bureaucracy on track with opening new mines,” Miller said. “We think that isn’t happening now.”

Michael Gravelle, Ontario’s minister of Northern Development and Mines, told The Sudbury Star last month the province has already had a good track record for opening new mines in the last 10 years.

Gravelle said 23 new mines have opened in Ontario over the past decade and eight more are set to open in the next couple years. He said the Detour Gold Mine, north of Cochrane, is among the eight mines scheduled to open soon, and will be the largest gold mine in North America.

For the original version of this article, click here: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2013/10/03/pcs-conclusions-inaccurate-fraser-institute