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Assess Wisconsin Opposition

 

New survey assesses mineral incentives



Monday, January 06, 2003
Local News - Kirkland Lake, Ontario


Ontario is only rated eighth in the Fraser Institute's annual survey of mining companies.

The Fraser Institute has conducted the annual survey of metal mining companies to assess how mineral incentives, and public policy factors, such as taxation and regulation affect exploration investment.

The current survey ask companies for their opinions about the investment attractiveness of 45 jurisdictions, including Canadian provinces, (excluding Prince Edward Island), selected U.S. states, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, Paupa New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

The Fraser Institute says the Policy Potential Index is a report card to governments on how attractive their policies are from the point of view of an exploration manager.

The Institute points out that in today's globally competitive economy, where mining companies may be examining properties located on different continents, a region's policy climate has taken on increased importance in attracting and winning investment.

The Policy Potential Index is a composite index that measures the effects on exploration of government policies, including taxation, environmental regulations, administration and duplication of regulations, uncertainty concerning native land claims, protected areas, labour issues, infrastructure, socio-economic agreements, and political stability. The highest possible score on the index is 100.

In the 2002/2003 survey, Nevada and Alberta tied for top place on the Policy Potential Index with a score of 87. This is the third straight year that Nevada has topped the ratings. It is a first for Alberta. Last year Nevada was tied with Chile for the top score. The other top rated jurisdictions are; Chile, 85, Manitoba, 81, New Brunswick, 79, Australia 78, Quebec, 77, Ontario 76, New Mexico, 75, and Saskatchewan, 74.

The worst performing jurisdictions include; Indonesia, 19, Zimbabwe, 20, British Columbia and Russia tied at 23, Kazakhstan, 24, Papua New Guinea, 25, Wisconsin and India tied at 26, and California, the Philippines and Washington all received a score of 29.

The Fraser Institute says it is worthy of note that this is the first time in the survey's six-year history that British Columbia has not been rated last for its mining policies.

 

Investment Attractiveness Index

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"The increasingly sophisticated political maneuvering by environmental special interest groups have made permitting a mine in Wisconsin an impossibility."
--From an editorial in North American Mining (a journal of the U.S.
and Canadian mining industry; Aug./Sept. 1998, p. 3)


Editorial Comment: Minerva
By Tracey Khanna
Mining Environmental Management,
May 2000 - vol. 8, no. 3
From www.mining-journal.com


The previous issue of MEM featured a case study in which Nicolet Minerals described how it has positively tackled the challenge of working with communities, special interest groups and environmental activists during the permitting process at its Crandon Mine in Wisconsin, US (MEM, March, p.19; see link above).

Nevertheless, the Wolf Watershed Educational Project (WWEP), a US-based alliance of environmental groups, Native American nations, local residents, unions and students, is still campaigning vigorously against the proposed mine. The WWEP claims to have the goal of educating and informing local communities about the "threat" of sulphide mining. In what it calls a grassroots 'people power' movement against "corporate power in Wisconsin", the WWEP held a student/youth rally at the State Capitol in Madison, on April 29, to demand a halt to the permitting of the Crandon mine. In addition, it is pushing for a blanket ban on the use of cyanide in Wisconsin, following the recent incidents in Romania.

This is just one example of what is becoming a very real threat to the global mining industry: global environmental activism and, increasingly, global anti-mining activism.

The British Columbia and Yukon Chamber of Mines has announced that in a recent public opinion poll, designed by Versus Group International, 96% of residents polled support an increase in mining in the province of British Columbia, provided that there is an economic benefit and it is conducted in an environmentally responsible way. The poll also indicated that support is wide spread across all regions of the province, urban and rural. Whilst this can not be taken as a representative international sample, it does show that there is public support for the industry out there. This support needs to be channelled effectively if the industry is to overcome the current threat posed by anti-mining activism.

The majority of international activist groups are based in wealthy industrialised societies. Questions they should ask themselves are these: should a successful service-orientated society (where standard of living and commercial success depend on natural resources) expect to maintain a balance between economic needs and social and environmental goals, without a domestic mining industry?. Is it reasonable to rely on less developed countries for their raw materials - countries where mining is often less regulated, and where greater social and environmental impact can occur?. Surely this is in direct conflict with the overall aims of the majority of environmentalists.

The problem for the industry is that anti-mining activists are extremely good at disseminating information, whether it be reliable, accurate information or not. The use of the Internet has strengthened their already successful 'traditional' campaign tactics and the industry thus far is sadly lacking in the same drive. Referring again to the British Columbia opinion poll, which was undertaken this January, most residents polled stated that they lacked definitive information on the mining industry; severely underestimating the number of mines in the province, the amount of land impacted by mining operations over the past 140 years, and the economic return per hectare of land provided by the mining industry when compared with forestry or agriculture.

This should send out a clear signal to the mining industry that it should be more diligent in communicating information to the public and government. Scientific and engineering related information may not be enough (people tend not to trust scientists as much today as in the past), we need to add community-related information which directly addresses all the concerns and fears expressed by all sectors. Most importantly, we need to challenge the incorrect perceptions and unfounded fears that have been brought about by years of campaigning by anti-mining groups.

Convincing the public to accept a new mining development in their area and to cease campaigning for the closure of mines may not be easy, but it is a task that needs to be undertaken. To begin with, the mining industry must end its self-imposed silence and actively promote what it does throughout the media. Advertising its benefits to society will take time and money, but it is time and money that cannot be better spent.


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Nevada, Quebec tops spots for exploration

The Northern Miner
Jan 17 - 23, 2000

vol. 85 no. 47

Nevada and Quebec are the most attractive places to explore for minerals in the world, according to a study by the Fraser Institute.

The Vancouver-based research group based its findings on mineral potential, taxation, regulatory consistencies and land use policies.

"Exploration investment is a key indicator of the future health of the mining industry," says the study's co-ordinator, Laura Jones, who is the institute's director of environmental and regulatory studies.

Other regions favoured in the study include Chile, Australia, Manitoba, Peru, Ontario, Alaska, Argentina and Mexico.

At the opposite end of the scale, Maine and British Columbia were rated the least attractive place to explore for minerals. It was the third consecutive year B.C. received the lowest score of any jurisdiction for policy potential.

Other low-ranking regions include Wisconsin, Michigan, Texas and California.

"While many jurisdictions have favourable geology that could easily compete with other regions around the world to attract investment, unfavourable policies increasingly threaten new exploration," Jones says.

The survey was based on a poll of 111 mining companies, including 88 juniors, which are said to represent 43% of all mineral-related expenditures in Canada and 35% of those in the U.S.

 

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DIARY: Mining Companies Rate Investment Attractiveness Of Jurisdictions

Who Makes the Grade?


The Fraser Institute, Canada's leading "economic think tank", released the results of its 1999/2000 Annual Survey of Mining Companies. In the survey, companies accounting for a combined total of over US$857 million in exploration (in 1998) rated the investment attractiveness of mining jurisdictions in North America and internationally.

"Exploration investment is a key indicator of the future health of the mining industry," said Laura Jones, survey coordinator and The Fraser Institute's Director of Environmental and Regulatory Studies. "While many jurisdictions have favourable geology that could easily compete with other regions around the world to attract investment, unfavourable policies increasingly threaten new exploration."

[Project Underground notes that this belies one simple fact recently reported by the Times: "At the end of the day mineral extraction companies are just dinosaurs. The total worth of all such companies is about $300 billion; Microsoft on its own is valued at $500 billion."]

In the Fraser Institute study respondents rated the attractiveness of jurisdictions across North America for exploration investment based on mineral potential, as well as public policies such as taxation, regulatory consistencies, and land use policies. This year's survey was expanded to include Texas, Nunavut, Australia, Argentina, and Peru.

The Winners

The state of Nevada ranks highest for overall investment attractiveness with a score of 85 points out of a possible 100. This top ranking is a result of the state's high rating in policy potential (85) and its top mineral potential rating (100). Quebec is the second most attractive jurisdiction, based on ranking third on both the policy potential index (86) and the mineral potential index (94).

Surprisingly, both jurisdictions beat Chile (76) and Australia (66), even though the latter two countries have reputations of attracting high levels of exploration investment based on mineral potential and favourable investment environments.

Also placing in the top ten jurisdictions for overall investment appeal: Manitoba (69), Peru (59), Ontario (58), Alaska (55), Argentina (55), and Mexico (54). (See Figure 1 for complete rankings).

Losers

Floundering at the other end of the scale are: Maine, British Columbia, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Missouri. All rank among the least attractive areas for new mining investment.

British Columbia's low rating on the investment attractiveness index (3) is due mainly to its abysmal performance on the policy potential index where it received the lowest score of any jurisdiction (6) for the third year in a row. According to one mining company executive responding to the survey,

"B.C. must reverse its position and policies on land use. Miners, loggers, ranchers, etc. must be allowed to use the land instead of being legislated and regulated off of it."

Wisconsin's low investment attractiveness score (3) suggests the impact of that state's moratorium on mining, and a well-publicized aversion to mining. One vice president of exploration complains that in Wisconsin, you "can't get anything done that is meaningful."

 


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Excerpted from Fraser Institute 1999/2000 Annual Survey of Mining Companies: The full survey can be found at: http://www.fraserinstitute.ca/publications/surveys/1999_12_mining/

Survey Background


The idea to survey mining companies about how government policies and mineral potential affect new exploration investment came from a Fraser Institute conference on mining held in Vancouver in the fall of 1996. At that conference, many industry representatives who had privately been critical of how government policy was deterring investment in the mineral rich province of British Columbia were reluctant to express those same views publicly. Any public criticism of government policy may have negative effects on projects already under way in a region. As a result, governments remain largely unaccountable for the impact of their actions, which can encourage, discourage, or in some cases virtually eliminate new exploration. To add to this problem, new exploration is an indicator of the future, not present health of the mining industry in a region. The effects of increasingly onerous, seemingly capricious regulations, uncertainty about land use, higher levels of taxation, and other policies will rarely be felt immediately as they are far more likely to deter companies looking for new projects than they are to shut down existing operations. The lack of accountability that stems from 1) the lag time between when policy changes are implemented and when economic activity is impeded and job losses occur and 2) industry's reluctance to be publicly critical of governments, is a cause of concern for those who would like to see a healthy future for the mining industry in their jurisdictions.

In order to address this problem and assess how various public policy factors influence companies' decisions to invest in different regions, The Fraser Institute began conducting an anonymous survey of senior and junior mining companies in 1997. The first survey included all Canadian provinces and territories. The second survey, conducted in 1998, included 17 US states, Mexico, and, for comparison with North American jurisdictions, Chile. This year's survey has been further expanded to include Argentina, Australia, Peru, Texas, and Nunavut.

 


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Smart Mining Companies Emphasize Local Partnerships



North American Mining, Nov. 1997 vol.1 no.9

"The old paternalistic concept of mining acting as a surrogate government is dying. No one wants to live in a company town any more. Providing jobs simply isn't enough because many indigenous peoples don't want to become miners. Newly decentralized governments are shifting from a top-down approach to bottom-up decision-making, which emphasizes negotiation and defining and achieving local community objectives. ....

Mining's public awareness skills and understanding of participatory approaches remain woefully weak in comparison to other natural resource industries such as forestry and oil and gas. Even recent socio-economic agreements between mining companies and aboriginal communities seem somewhat less than visionary in achieving true partnership between the parties involved. Meanwhile, conflicts are still brewing between mining companies and local peoples in the state of Wisconsin in the United States, Irian Jaya in Indonesia, the provinces and territories of Canada, and states and territories in Australia....."

 


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Troubled Times; Brighter Future



North American Mining,
Aug.t/Sept. 1998, vol.2 no.4


"Native title claims cloud mining's future on several continents, particularly in Australia and Canada. As the economy collapses in various nations, such as Indonesia, expectations of mining company paternalism is running rampant among aboriginal communities and local governments who expect mining to ante up more money to ease individual pain and suffering. Provincial governments are holding permits hostage until demands for jobs and services are met. Churches and charitable trusts are encouraging anti-mining activism through teh awarding of so-called "environmental justice" grants. Mining and exploration companies which balk at outrageous demands are accused of environmental racism. These comnpanies then wind up buried in an avalanche of appeals and litigation which, in turn, discourages project financing.

Meanhile, regulators chip away at mining's fiscal health by enacting policies eliminating tax deductions for exploration costs in Australia. The increasingly sophisticated political maneuvering by environmental special interest groups have made permitting a mine in Wisconsin an impossibility. Anti-mining initiatives have become an annual sporting event in Montana."

 

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BARBARIANS AT THE GATES OF CYBERSPACE: Inside the Internet battle over the proposed Crandon Mine in Wisconsin



by Bob Webster
MINING VOICE, The magazine of
the National Mining Association Jan./Feb. 1998 v.4 no.1


Wisconsin, home to Harry Houdini, the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and those ubiquitous "cheeseheads," has emerged as ground-zero for Internet activists intent on preventing a company from brining a new mine to life.

The permitting process for a mine is never easy, given the massive amounts of paperwork and numerous public hearings required before final approval of a mine's plan of operation is granted. The process is taking a new twist in Wisconsin where Internet activists have launched an all-out campaign to stop the proposed Crandon Mine.

The battle over the mine proposed near the tiny northern Wisconsin town of Crandon offers one of the first examples of how armchair activists are using the Internet to try to influence the permitting process and how a mining company can use the Internet in a positive, proactive manner.

When the Crandon permitting process began in 1993, the Internet had not caught fire with the general public. Although the Internet has been around since the late 1960s, it has largely been the domain of academics and government researchers. But all that changed just three short years ago when the first commercial service was offered to subscribers. Today, it is impossible not to see a "dot-com" whenever you pick up a newspaper or turn on a television.

Activists were quick to adapt their outreach programs to the power of the Internet, and it has become a favored tool--internationally, nationally, and locally--to infuriate, motivate, and invigorate individuals into action. A single e-mail message can be flashed to millions of readers worldwide urging "Immediate Action!!!".

Taking a page from the activist playbook, corporations are now beginning to learn how to use this new technology to showcase their positions and to answer incorrect statements made by their opponents....

...If all goes according to plan, the Crandon mine will begin construction in 2000. The proposed mine would encompass 550 acres, including the mine, mill, and all related facilities. The orebody contains 55 million tons of recoverable ore, primarily zinc and copper, with some small amounts of lead, silver, and gold. At an extraction rate of 5,500 tons of ore per day, the mine would be in operation for 28 years, with four years of reclamation. Long-term care is projected at more than 40 years. Company officials say the mine will employ 550 construction workers and 400 full-time mine operators.....

To Jay Vosters, the Crandon Mine means something else altogether. Vosters attends the University of Wisconsin's Stevens Point campus, where he has handed out postcards opposing the mine. He's set up booths and distributed petitions, too. Last October, he leaped into cyberspace and became an Internet activist by launching a simple Web page opposing the mine, which he believes will threaten the health of his children and the fish in nearby Lake Winnebago where he fished for walleye in the summer.

A quick search of the Internet shows that Vosters is not alone. There are nearly a dozen Web sites that have been launched by groups opposing the proposed mine, including such anti-mining activists as EarthWINS, the Menominee Nation and Wisconsin Stewardship Network. The Web pages posted by these groups share many of the same features and rhetoric, and all urge visitors to contact their legislators to oppose the mine. To make this contact easier, the activist groups have posted simple letters and even e-mail links that make the state house, Congress, or even the White House just a click away.

Vosters' site, simple called the Crandon Mine Issue, features a map of Wisconsin marked with a skull and crossbones and the words "Crandon Mine." His site is one of the featured links on the home page of the Menominee Nation, a Wisconsin-based Indian tribe actively protesting the proposed mine.

Like the members of the Menominee Nation and other Internet activists, Vosters says he wants to participate in the Crandon debate any way he can. "You'd be surprised at how many people don't know squat about the mine," Vosters says.....

Activists say the Internet has been useful in the Crandon debate because it allows activists in Madison and Milwaukee, both quite a distance from the proposed mine, to work closely with local residents near the proposed mine site to improve grassroots efforts.

Web pages are just one tool activists are using in the Crandon debate. In fact, the common Web page might be the least effective way to communicate in cyberspace. The Wisconsin Stewardship Network, which includes several statewide environmental groups, uses the Internet to hold weekly strategy sessions in online chat rooms.

Internet news groups, chat rooms, and electronic mailing lists buzz daily with news, rumors, and innuendo. News groups with names like "alt.actvism," sci.environment" and "wi.general" have carried messages about the proposed mine. If these names don't sound familiar to you by now, they most likely will in the near future because these are among the most active places for anti-mining activists to post their messages. "Part of the battle is just knowing where to look for information on the 'Net," one Internet observer says.

"It's very important to know what's going on on the Internet, agrees Mary Kay Grasmick, who in the past year has become a veteran of the cyberbattle surrounding the proposed mine. Grasmick is the public relations coordinator for Crandon Mining Co. and oversees the company's Web page. The mining company established an Internet presence about a year ago and continues to watch the Internet closely.

"We monitor the Internet all the time so we can now what is being said about us," Grasmick says, adding that activists often post their information on their home pages before they release it to local media. "If you are paying attention to the Internet it gives you a heads-up on what your opposition is doing."....

Grasmick and other Internet observers also have discovered what appears to be a wide gulf between mining supporters and opponents when it comes to Internet knowledge and use. "The people who are not supportive of mining are much more likely to use the Internet and to use it on a regular basis than are the people who support mining," Grasmick says....

An Internet presence helps develop a following for your issues and concerns within and beyond your immediate surroundings. And, as Grasmick and others have found, an Internet site with e-mail capabilities allows companies to build a database of e-mail addresses that can prove useful...

Although the Crandon mine is not alone on the receiving end of opposition by cyberactivists, it is one of the first domestic mining projects to go through the permitting phase in the age of the Internet. And it will not be the last. Activists are sure to employ the same techniques during the permitting of future mining projects. "If we play our cards right," says Internet activist Vosters, "we can be a model for others to follow."



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ACTIVISTS MINE THE INTERNET



By Bob Webster
MINING VOICE The magazine of
the National Mining Association
July/Aug. 1997 v.3 no.4


What does the Western Environmental Law Center have in common with the Guyana Legal Defense Fund, EarthWINS, the Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki and Project Underground? All are on the Internet, and all oppose mining.....

EarthWINS, an organization "dedicated to stopping" the Crandon mine proposed in Wisconsin and other mining projects....(http://www.earthwins.com) offers a window into how environmental activists use the Internet. According to its web page, EarthWINS "supports individuals and groups working to prevent and stop unsafe mining in their neighborhoods." The organization offers free Web space and Web page design "for individuals, businesses, organizations, sports groups, local governments and Indian tribes working t help stop the proposed mines." The site features information about the proposed mines, a list of government contacts, links to Web sites of environmental activists and pro-industry sites.

 

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2000 Fraser Institute rankings of states and provinces again shows Wisconsin near the bottom of mining industry attractiveness...

 

Mining Companies Rate Investment Attractiveness of Jurisdictions
What really matters?



VANCOUVER, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ - Attractive geology does not guarantee investment, according to The Fraser Institute's fourth annual survey, 2000/2001 Annual Survey of Mining Companies, released today. In the survey, companies accounting for a combined total of over US$725 million in exploration (in 1999) rated the investment attractiveness of mining jurisdictions in North America and internationally.

"While many jurisdictions have favourable geology that could easily compete with other regions around the world to attract investment, unfavourable policies increasingly threaten new exploration," said Laura Jones, survey coordinator and director of The Fraser Institute's Centre for Studies in Risk and Regulation.

The results of the survey were used to create several indices. The mineral potential index rates a region's attractiveness for new investment based on its geology. The policy potential index is a composite index that measures the effects of government policies such as regulation and land use on attracting new exploration. An overall investment attractiveness index considers both mineral potential and policy factors (see attached figures).

The Winners

Nevada ranks highest for overall investment attractiveness for the second year running with a score of 95 points out of a possible 100. This top ranking is a result of the state's top score on the policy potential index (93) and high score on the mineral potential index (97). Chile is the second most attractive jurisdiction with a score of 91, based on its high ratings in both mineral potential and policy potential. "Nevada and Chile performed well because they are rich in resources and realize that resource development is economically important to them," comments Jones.

Ontario was the top ranking Canadian jurisdiction (86) with a third place ranking for overall investment attractiveness as a result of its top mineral potential ranking (100), and high policy potential (72).

Also placing in the top ten jurisdictions for overall investment appeal: Peru (82), Mexico (77), Australia (75), Brazil and Alaska (tied at 74), Quebec (73), and Arizona (60).

The Losers

Wisconsin (16), Minnesota (24), Nova Scotia (26), and Washington and South Dakota (tied at 27), all rank among the least attractive areas for new mining investment based on their poor ratings in both mineral and policy potential.

British Columbia's low rating on the investment attractiveness index (43) is the result of its abysmal performance on the policy potential index where it received the lowest score of any jurisdiction (6) for the fourth year in a row. Jones stresses that "B.C. is a prime example of how even resource-rich provinces can deter investors if the policy climate is hostile towards business."

The results of the survey reveal that as exploration opportunities increase, attractive geology is no longer enough to ensure a healthy future for the mining industries in Canada. "Governments who want to keep mining in their jurisdictions must compete to have favourable policy climates that encourage investment," concludes Jones.

About the Survey

The 157 companies participating in the survey include 132 junior mining companies and 25 senior mining companies representing almost 50 percent of the total mineral exploration expenditure in Canada (as estimated by Natural Resources Canada), and over 40 percent of the exploration expenditures in the United States (as estimated by the Metals Economics Group).

This year's survey includes all Canadian provinces and territories (except Prince Edward Island), 14 US states, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and South Africa.




Established in 1974, The Fraser Institute is an independent public policy organization based in Vancouver with offices in Calgary and Toronto.

For further information regarding the 2000/2001 Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies (4th edition) contact: Suzanne Walters, Director of Communications, The Fraser Institute, Telephone (604) 714-4582, Email suzannew@fraserinstitute.ca.

The media release can be viewed on our web site at www.fraserinstitute.ca.

Editors Note: "Figure 1: Policy Potential Index" is available from CNW's website (http://files.newswire.ca/22/mining-charts.doc).


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Nevada, Chile tops for Canadian miners - survey



Dec. 18, 2000
http://www.prnewswire.com


TORONTO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Chile and the U.S. state of Nevada rank the most attractive regions for Canadian mining firms, with clear government policies and mineral potential, according to an annual mining survey by Canada's right-wing Fraser Institute on Monday.

The Vancouver-based think-tank said its survey of 157 companies -- 132 small-cap firms and 25 senior groups -- gave Nevada a score of 95 out of 100 as an investment destination.

The miners ranked Chile second most attractive, followed by Canada's Ontario province, Peru, Mexico, Australia and Brazil.

The survey included all Canadian provinces and territories, 14 U.S. states and nine mineral-rich countries -- Australia, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, Mexico, Peru and Papua New Guinea.

Canada's Nova Scotia province and U.S. states South Dakota, Minnesota, Washington and Wisconsin were rated least attractive investment regions for miners.

The institute said Wisconsin's low score stems from a moratorium on mining and an anti-mining attitude, as well as low scores on both the mineral and policy potential.

Nova Scotia won a low rating on investment attractiveness due to a perceived lack of mineral potential, the institute added.

The companies had few good things to say about Canada's westernmost province of British Columbia, which they rated worst for uncertainty on administration, interpretation and enforcement of regulations, followed by Indonesia and the U.S. states California, Wisconsin and Montana.

British Columbia also ranked worst for environmental regulations, regulatory duplication and inconsistencies, doubts about native land claims and labor regulation.

Mining executives said the province was subject to uncertainty and political interference which were strong deterrents to exploration investment. "They need to create a bureaucracy that is there to help in a climate that is stable and understandable," one executive said.


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Mining executives rate the investment climate
of jurisdictions around the world



For Release: 18 December 2001

VANCOUVER, BC- Attractive geology is not enough to guarantee mining investment, according to mining executives surveyed in the fifth Annual Survey of Mining Companies, released today by The Fraser Institute, Canada's leading economic think tank.

In this year's survey, companies accounting for a combined total of US$782 million in international exploration (in 2000) rated the policy attractiveness and mineral attractiveness of mining jurisdictions in North America and internationally.

"Jurisdictions like Australia, Chile and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, that have both attractive policy and geology do well on the overall investment attractiveness index. Other jurisdictions such as British Columbia and Russia are rated as having excellent geology but terrible policies, which lowers their investment attractiveness score," said Laura Jones, survey coordinator and director of The Fraser Institute's Centre for Studies in Risk and Regulation.

The results of the survey were used to create several indices. The mineral potential index rates a region's attractiveness for new investment based on its geology. The policy potential index is a composite index that measures the effects of government policies such as regulation and land use on attracting new exploration. An overall investment attractiveness index considers both mineral potential and policy factors (see attached figures).

The Winners
Quebec and Ontario tie for highest rank on the overall investment attractiveness index, each with a score of 90 points out of a possible 100. Quebec's ranking is a result of the province's top score on the mineral potential index (100) and high score on the policy potential index (76).

Ontario also ranks high on both indices, with a score of 98 on the mineral potential index and a score of 78 on the policy potential index. Australia is the next most attractive jurisdiction with an overall score of 87.

Also placing in the top ten jurisdictions for overall investment appeal:

Chile (86), Brazil (86), Nevada (83), Alaska (80), Peru (73), Mexico (68) and Manitoba (67).

The Losers
Washington (15), Wisconsin (17), South Dakota (23), Nova Scotia and the Philippines (tied at 25), all rank among the least attractive areas for new mining investment based on their poor ratings in both mineral and policy potential.

British Columbia has the lowest rating on the Policy Potential Index (14) for the fifth straight year. Its abysmal performance on the policy potential index lowers its overall investment attractiveness rating (60). Jones stresses that "BC is a prime example of how even resource-rich provinces can deter investors if the policy climate is hostile towards business."

"Since companies can now choose to spend their exploration budgets almost anywhere in the world, attractive geology is no longer enough. Governments who want to keep mining in their jurisdictions must compete to have favourable policy climates that encourage investment," she concludes.

About the Survey
The 162 companies participating in the survey include 132 junior mining companies and 30 senior mining companies which represent almost 51 percent of the total mineral exploration expenditure in Canada in 2000 (US$318.6million) as estimated by Natural Resources Canada. The survey represents about 33 percent (US$57 million) of the exploration expenditures (US$175.8 million) in the United States as estimated by the Metals Economics Group.

This year's survey includes all Canadian provinces and territories (except PEI), selected US states, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Columbia, Ecuador, Ghana, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russia, and South Africa.

To determine the overall investment attractiveness index, the policy factors were weighted 40 percent and mineral potential 60 percent. This differs from previous years where both were weighted equally. The changes were made in response to feedback from companies about how they make their exploration decisions.

This year, for the first time, an Objective Index, which compares Canadian provinces and territories, has been included with the survey results.

To see the press release with its graphs/figures, go to: http://www.fraserinstitute.ca/media/media_releases/2001/20011218.html

Contact:
Laura Jones, Director of Centre for Studies in Risk and Regulation
The Fraser Institute (604) 714-4547
Email lauraj@fraserinstitute.ca


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