Blog Entry

Discredited Fraser Institute Mining Survey Resurfaces

Jamie Kneen

National Program Co-Lead

Wow. We asked ourselves how the Fraser Institute could bring back its annual global mining survey after Press Progress’ devastating exposé "Now ordinary Canadians can skew Fraser Institute's data from home”. Apparently the answer is simple -- pretend that nothing is wrong with the methodology (or that there actually is a methodology), just as they always have. Really, it’s nothing more than a content-free exercise in leveraging industry pressure for deregulation and government support. It clearly has little to do with actual mining investment or activity if companies keep investing in places at the bottom of the ranking, like Guatemala.

So here we go again. Quick decoder: 

  • "Competitive taxation" = least possible contribution to the public good; net subsidies for making off with mineral resources would be even better
  • "Good scientific support" = public support for geoscience that facilitates prospecting (that we don’t pay for, see above) 
  • "Efficient permitting processes" = deregulation; quick approvals with no possibility of rejection or “onerous” requirements
  • "Clarity around land claims" = not having to consult landowners or Treaty partners; quick approvals with no possibility of rejection or “onerous” requirements
  • "Complete incomprehensibility of rights" = we'll pretend we don’t understand the Constitutional requirement for meaningful consultation until someone makes us
  • "Ambiguity about what regions will be protected" = we’ll keep trying to mine in sacred and protected areas until someone stops us

The report is available (free!) online. Here's their news release. Enjoy.

Fraser Institute News Release: Saskatchewan ranks first in Canada and second worldwide in annual global mining survey; Ontario and B.C. slipping

MEDIA CONTACT: Dr. Kenneth P. Green Senior Director, Energy and Natural Resources, Fraser Institute, (403) 216-7175 ext. 426, [email protected]

CALGARY—Saskatchewan is the most attractive jurisdiction for mining investment in Canada, according to an annual global survey of mining executives released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian policy think-tank.

The Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies, 2014, rates 122 jurisdictions around the world based on their geologic attractiveness and the extent to which government policies encourage exploration and investment. Saskatchewan ranks as the top jurisdiction in Canada and finishes second worldwide behind Finland.

“In addition to being blessed with an abundance of mineral potential, Saskatchewan gets credit for having a government with a transparent and productive approach to mining policy,” said Kenneth Green, Fraser Institute senior director of energy and natural resources and director of the Survey of Mining Companies.

“The province offers a competitive taxation regime, good scientific support, efficient permitting procedures and clarity around land claims. That’s what miners look for.”

In total, five Canadian jurisdictions finished in the top 10 worldwide: Saskatchewan (2), Manitoba (4), Quebec (6), Newfoundland and Labrador (8) and Yukon (9). Of note is Quebec whose placement suggests that the province’s reputation for mining investment has rebounded after a three-year period of increased red tape, higher royalties and regulatory uncertainty.

Two of Canada’s other geographically large jurisdictions — Ontario and British Columbia — didn’t fare as well. Internationally, Ontario places 23rd and B.C. ranks 28th falling nine and 12 spots, respectively, from the 2013 survey.

“In Ontario, the New Mining Act amendments regarding First Nations consultation have resulted in complete incomprehensibility of rights on all sides,” Green said.

“Similarly in British Columbia, uncertainty concerning disputed land claims and ambiguity about what regions will be protected are deterrents to investment and exploration.”

The survey was conducted between August 26 and November 15, 2014 and includes the responses of 485 mineral exploration and development company executives from around the world. Exploration budgets reported by companies participating in the survey totalled US$2.7 billion in 2014 and US$3.2 billion in 2013.

The complete survey is available as free PDF download at

Canadian rankings:

  1. Saskatchewan
  2. Manitoba
  3. Quebec
  4. Newfoundland and Labrador
  5. Yukon
  6. Northwest Territories
  7. New Brunswick
  8. Alberta
  9. Ontario
  10. British Columbia
  11. Nunavut
  12. Nova Scotia

Worldwide rankings (Top 10):

  1. Finland
  2. Saskatchewan
  3. Nevada
  4. Manitoba
  5. Western Australia
  6. Quebec
  7. Wyoming
  8. Newfoundland and Labrador
  9. Yukon
  10. Alaska