Western Australia up to second in rankings as a place to invest

Western Australia is the only Australian state or territory to feature in the top 10 of the Fraser Institute’s annual survey of mining companies rankings for the second straight year.

The survey, which ranks the most attractive jurisdictions in the world for mining investment in 2018, rated Western Australia second overall, an improvement on the fifth spot it received in the Canadian think-tank’s previous report.

Nevada (United States) topped the latest list, with Saskatchewan (Canada), Quebec (Canada) and Alaska (United States) rounding out the top five.

Australia was again the second most attractive region behind Canada. The United States, Europe and Oceania completed the top five regions.

Western Australia consistently ranks in the top five jurisdictions, including a first place finish in 2015. The state’s score increased in this report after survey participants saw an improvement in taxation regime, political stability and uncertainty around environmental regulations.

“Western Australia’s environmental policies and permitting requirements are streamlined and easy to understand. In addition, well-documented environmental, economic, and social requirements create a positive experience for investors,” an exploration company told Fraser Institute.

Australia’s remaining states and territories were relatively steady against the previous year’s results, apart from Victoria and South Australia, which were the big improver and faller, respectively.

Victoria improved to 54th spot from 71st last year, while South Australia dropped from 14th to 24th.

According to Fraser Institute, respondents expressed decreased concern over Victoria’s political stability, uncertainty regarding the administration, interpretation or enforcement of existing regulations, and the taxation regime.

The Victorian Government released a mineral resources strategy for 2018–2023 in August last year that identified the key challenges and opportunities in the state’s mining sector.

Queensland (13th) was Australia’s second best performing state, followed by the Northern Territory (23rd), South Australia, New South Wales (42nd), Victoria and Tasmania (55th).

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) raised alarmed at the state’s drop from 12th spot in the previous year’s report.

“It means Queensland is becoming less attractive for mining companies when they decide to invest. The world is watching,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.

“For Queenslanders, the less attractive we are for new investment is the less potential to create jobs, grow exports and earn royalties to pay for services and infrastructure.”

The QRC will meet with the state’s government next week in a bid to arrest further decline in Queensland’s attractiveness for resource investment

Fraser Institute senior policy analyst Ashley Stedman said the latest rankings showed that the evidence was clear that mineral deposits alone were not enough to attract precious commodity investment dollars.

“A sound regulatory regime coupled with competitive fiscal policies is key to making a jurisdiction attractive in the eyes of mining investors,” Stedman said.

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