Saskatchewan & Manitoba: World’s Most Attractive Mining Locations

Authors: Lynn Hnatick, Anna Beatch

Saskatchewan and Manitoba are now the two most attractive jurisdictions for mining investment in the world, according to the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2016 (the report).

The report, which was released this week, presents the results of the Fraser Institute’s annual survey of mining and exploration companies. Of the 104 regions the survey evaluated, Saskatchewan topped the world-wide ranking for investment – moving up from second place in the previous survey – based on the Fraser Institute’s “Investment Attractiveness Index.”

The Investment Attractiveness Index combines the Best Practices Mineral Potential Index and the Policy Perception Index. The Best Practices Mineral Index rates jurisdictions based on their geologic attractiveness and the Policy Perception Index is a composite index that measures the effects of government policy on attitudes toward exploration investment.

The report also found that Manitoba significantly improved its attractiveness to investors – it moved ahead 17 spots to second place. The two Prairie provinces displaced Western Australia from its previous first-place standing, dropping it to third.

According to Kenneth Green, the report’s co-author, “[c]ompetitive tax regimes, efficient permitting procedures and certainty surrounding environmental regulations and land-claims have vaulted Saskatchewan and Manitoba to the top in the eyes of miners looking to invest.”

On February 28, 2017, the Fraser Institute also released a separate study examining the mining exploration permitting process.

Specifically, it compares the efficiency, transparency and certainty of the mining exploration permitting process in Canada and other jurisdictions around the world. Permit Times for Mining Exploration in 2016 found that Saskatchewan appears to be performing well compared to other jurisdictions in Canada and its international competitors.

For example, Saskatchewan was the only jurisdiction where no survey respondents indicated that permit approval times had lengthened over the past 10 years. When asked to assess how long it takes to receive the necessary permits, 91% of respondents in Saskatchewan answered that they received the necessary permits within six months or less, compared to the survey average of 63%.

Survey Results Saskatchewan Mining Exploration Process

Moreover, when asked whether transparency in the permitting process was an encouragement or a deterrent to investment, 91% said that Saskatchewan’s level of transparency is either encouraging or not deterring investment, compared to the survey average of 69%.

MLT Aikins has offices throughout Western Canada, including in Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg, with experience in the Canadian and international mining and natural resources sectors. Learn more about our mining and natural resources practice area.