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Leading US mining consultancy Behre Dolbear has rated Australia the best place in the world for mining investment for the third year running.
Scoring highly on economic and political stability, Australia easily fought-off its closest competitor Canada, with Chile, Brazil, and Mexico rounding out the top five.
Reporting impressive results contrary to some mining industry rhetoric, Australia was the best country in the world for cutting down permit delays, with Mexico and Tanzania second and third.
The countries with the most delays were the United States and Papua New Guinea.
According to Behre Dolbear Australia also had the least mining corruption in the world, beating Canada and the United States to take out top spot.
But Australia’s rising dollar was rated a concern, as were some aspects of the political system.
While rated the fourth highest political system to mine in Behre Dolbear said State and Federal mining regulation, as well as the Gillard Government’s mining tax, stopped the country scoring higher.
"Australia’s rating was almost lowered by 1 point due to continued government interference," the consultancy said.
"The introduction of Strategic Cropping Land legislation in Queensland has removed some large tracts of land from potential coal mining in that state; although in New South Wales, the state government has intervened in the granting of title in some areas (e.g., Liverpool Plains) for open cut coal mining."
It also said Australia’s "changing political environment" was adding uncertainty to mining development.
Behre Dolbear said the mining tax was a concern in Australia and abroad, and officials in "almost every minerals-producing nation" had been considering raising mining taxes and fees.
"The inspiration for these efforts may have been bolstered by Australia’s actions over the past year to increase taxes both directly and indirectly on mining operations."
The findings are a strong endorsement of comments made by Perseus Mining managing director Mark Calderwood this week that the mining tax was a "disease" set to spread to other countries.
Overall Behre Dolbear found Australia to be significantly ahead of any other region in the world for mining investment, especially in its handling of economic, political, and social issues.
But the tax regime, rated 5 out of 10, was considered one of the worst in the world.
The mining tax systems of the United States, Colombia, Bolivia, Kazakhstan, and a handful of other nations were the only ones to score lower than Australia.