Alberta the best place in Canada for mining investment

Date of Article: March 3, 2014

Source: Edmonton Journal

Author: Bill Mah


EDMONTON - Alberta is the top jurisdiction in Canada and third-best in the world for mining investment, according to a new global survey.


Metal and mineral miners find the province — better-known for its oil and gas industry — to be one of the best places to do business because of its stable regulatory, taxation and legal systems, says the Fraser Institute’s annual survey of mining companies, which was released Monday.

“Political stability and the culture that really encourages mining and wants to continue it is part of the factor,” said Kenneth Green, the institute’s senior director of energy and natural resources.

“It’s a highly secure area that’s not prone to disruptions or any kind of violent acts. Generally, Alberta is perceived as having very high mineral potential and a policy framework that supports extractive industries.”

It was the second consecutive year that Alberta ranked first in Canada and third in the world in the survey, which polled 690 mineral exploration and development company executives. The survey covered 112 jurisdictions from Alberta to Zimbabwe.

The top 10 most attractive places for mining investment are Sweden, Finland, Alberta, Ireland, Wyoming, Western Australia, New Brunswick, Nevada, Newfoundland and Labrador and Norway.

The 10 least attractive jurisdictions are Kyrgyzstan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Argentina-La Rioja province, Angola, Argentina-Mendoza, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Indonesia and Madagascar.

Other Canadian provinces did not fare as well. Quebec placed 21st, Ontario was ranked 28th and British Columbia was 32nd.

“You look at British Columbia which has far more in the way of challenges with regard to native land claims than Alberta does,” Green said. “Each of the provinces has different regulatory regimes because the provinces manage their natural resources differently.”

Green said he has heard the criticism that attractiveness to mining investment suggests lax environmental protection, but he points to Sweden and Finland.

“These are countries with extremely high environmental values and they strongly protect their natural resources. You can’t say it’s incompatible to rank highly in the survey without having a very clean environment.”

Commodities mined in Alberta include oilsands, coal, limestone, salt, shale, dimension stone, ammonite shell, sandstone, sand and gravel. The Fraser survey did not include oilsands companies.

Last week, Vancouver-based Coalspur Mines Ltd. announced that the Alberta Energy Regulator has approved its flagship Vista coal project near Hinton. The company says it has the potential to be one of the largest export thermal coal mines in North America as measured by annual production.

The approval allows Coalspur to work with regulators to finalize licences and permits and secure the balance of development funding, it said.

© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal