Manitoba collapses in annual mining poll – by Martin Cash (Winnipeg Free Press – March 2, 2016)

MANITOBA was toppled from its lofty top-five ranking in last year’s Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies index for investment attractiveness down to 19th place.

No one denies the industry has struggled in Manitoba, but low commodity prices have hit the mining industry globally. Manitoba’s largest mineral producers, HudBay Minerals in Flin Flon and Snow Lake and Vale in Thompson did not have particularly bad years. However, the province did lose one of its relatively few operating mines when San Gold, a longtime gold producing mine in Bissett, was placed in bankruptcy.

Ken Green, one of the authors of the report, said Manitoba’s slippage in the index may be as much about other jurisdictions improving as it is an indication of Manitoba’s decline.

Three Australian states made it into the top 10 this year, whereas in the past no more than one had ever been ranked that high.

“It is a relative ranking,” Green said. “It could be that other jurisdictions have improved and Manitoba stayed the way it was.”

He said the Australian government is actively supporting the development of the mining industry there, with its close proximity to China and the Asian markets.

Mining as a share of Manitoba’s GDP has slipped over the past few years, and the province’s share of national exploration spending has also declined, an issue that has been a sore spot for the industry for several years.

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