There were a few surprises in the 2020 Survey of Mining Companies from the Fraser Institute, which tracks mining and exploration companies.
In the U.S., Arizona and Nevada rank in the top two slots for jurisdictions offering the best opportunities for mining investment. Saskatchewan, Canada made the number three slot, while Western Australia came in at number four and Alaska came in at number five.
The survey assesses many aspects of the mining industry and how they may affect exploration investment. Those factors include mineral endowments and public policy factors, taxation, and regulatory uncertainty.
The survey was sent electronically to about 2,200 people. Responses were used to rank various municipalities, including states, countries, and provinces, according to the degree that public policy is likely to help or hinder mining investments.
Their report used 276 total responses to evaluate 77 jurisdictions.
10 Most Attractive Jurisdictions for Mining Investments
According to the report, here are the top ten most attractive locations for mining investment:
- Western Australia
- South Australia
- Newfoundland and Labrador
Large mineral deposits by themselves are not enough to tempt investors, Youngblood said. There must also be a favorable environment in terms of public policy, and government leaders in both Arizona and Nevada have paved the way for increased mining, Saint Jovite Youngblood said.
“Policymakers in those states have made it clear that miners don’t need to worry about the government getting in the way of a profitable mining business,” Youngblood said.
That attitude was echoed by Steve Trussell, the executive director of the Arizona Rock Products Association and Arizona Mining Association.
“We are inching up and it has a lot to with the state’s political environment and all that can change. Right now it’s generally friendly,” said Trussell, who was quoted in the Fraser report.
In the Fraser Institute survey, miners said they had “decreased concern” over public policy decisions that often create problems for the mining industry. Those include: uncertainty about disputed land claims, socioeconomic agreements, community development conditions and the state’s legal system.
The survey received 276 responses from 77 different jurisdictions, providing sufficient data for evaluation. By comparison, 76 jurisdictions were evaluated in 2019, 83 in 2018, 91 in 2017, and 104 in 2016.
The number of jurisdictions included fluctuates every year as the mining sector grows or shrinks with changes in commodity prices and several other factors, the report said.
Many of the largest mining companies conduct business in Nevada, which is part of why the state came out on top in this year’s survey. Nevada’s mining businesses include: Barrick Gold Mines, Blackrock Silver Corporation, Equinox Gold Corporation, and Nevada Sunrise Gold.
Blackrock Silver Corporation, a mining exploration company focused on gold and silver, has seen growing interest over the past year after several high-profile discoveries on its property in Tonopah West.
In a press release, Barrick Gold Mines stated that the impetus for starting Nevada Gold Mines was the potential of prospective gold establishments and the Nevada gold fields.
But Arizona’s copper supply is also poised to make a big impact on national initiatives, like President Joe Biden’s plans to expand sustainable jobs and infrastructure, Trussell said in the Fraser report.
“Arizona currently produces 68 percent of the nation’s copper supply and the demand for it is rising with the development of innovative new products and green technologies,” Trussell said.
Experts anticipate soaring demand for precious metals in the near future. There will likely be an increase in the global demand for copper by as much as 50 percent over the next two decades, according to the Copper Development Association.
“The supply chain that drives the economy essentially starts with us,” Trussell said.