What Saskatchewan is doing right to attract mining investment – by Ravina Bains and Taylor Jackson (National Post – March 18, 2015)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

“Furthermore, Saskatchewan has taken ownership of the consultation process; the provincial government
makes it very clear that it, not project proponents, is “responsible and ultimately accountable for
managing and implementing the duty to consult.” Saskatchewan is also home to innovative mining
partnerships between First Nations and resources companies. For example, Muskowekwan First Nation
and Encanto are undertaking a joint venture to develop the first on-reserve potash mine in Canada
that will generate 2.8 million tons of potash annually and create approximately 1,000 jobs.”
(Ravina Bains and Taylor Jackson)

The mining industry contributes mightily to Canada’s economic prosperity, adding $54 billion to Canada’s GDP and employing roughly 383,000 Canadians at an average annual salary of more than $110,000 in 2013.

But Canada has a serious problem with land-use certainty that may threaten future investment in the sector. Across the country, uncertainty surrounding disputed land claims remains a significant barrier to investment in the development of natural resources, particularly investment in the mining sector.

For example, every year the Fraser Institute surveys miners around the world to determine what makes a jurisdiction attractive — or unattractive — to investment. According to the most recent survey, in eight out of 12 Canadian provinces and territories in 2014, uncertainty over disputed land claims was the top barrier to investment.

The situation is worst in Ontario and British Columbia.

For the past four years, an increasing share of survey respondents in Ontario, including 66% of miners in 2014, said that disputed land claims deter investment. Of Ontario’s respondents, nearly 40% said that land claims uncertainty was either a strong deterrent or a reason to not invest at all. There are currently 50 active land claims in Ontario being negotiated, with the largest claim covering more than 36,000 square kilometres of land in eastern Ontario.

The survey results for B.C. are even more dramatic. In 2014, 50% of survey respondents indicated that uncertainty created by disputed land claims was either a strong deterrent to investment or a reason to simply not invest — up from 32% in 2013. And the lack of treaties, combined with recent court rulings such as the Tsilhqot’in decision, have only increased uncertainty in the province.

However, not all provinces in Canada are plagued with uncertainty and decreased investor confidence. In fact, Saskatchewan was ranked the most attractive jurisdiction for mining investment in Canada in 2014, and second in the world out of 122 jurisdictions worldwide. Only four per cent of survey respondents cite disputed land claims as a strong deterrent to investment in Saskatchewan.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://business.financialpost.com/2015/03/18/what-saskatchewan-is-doing-right-to-attract-mining-investment/