Opinion: Uncertainty key factor discouraging mining investment in Canada – by Kenneth Green and Taylor Jackson (Vancouver Sun – March 13, 2017)


Kenneth P. Green is senior director and Taylor Jackson is a senior policy analyst in natural resource studies at the Fraser Institute.

In recent years, depressed commodity prices have plagued Canada’s mining industry. One recent report showed that spending on exploration — the lifeblood of the industry — dropped for the fourth consecutive year and is at its lowest point since 2005.

In conditions like these, when prices are low and profits are uncertain, onerous regulatory costs and uncompetitive policies can discourage investment in exploration, thereby diminishing the chances that a viable deposit will be found and eventually developed into a producing mine.

While Canada performs well as a whole in offering an attractive policy environment for mining exploration, a number of Canadian provinces and territories continue to fall behind. And policy uncertainty appears to be the main culprit.

Every year, the Fraser Institute surveys miners around the world to determine which jurisdictions are attractive — or unattractive — for investment, based on policies and geology.

Again, in general, Canada performs quite well. Saskatchewan and Manitoba rank number 1 and 2 this year in overall attractiveness for investment. Quebec also ranks in the global top 10, followed by Ontario (18) and British Columbia (27) — although both Ontario and B.C. dropped in the rankings compared to last year.

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